While for many today, the thoughts of home canning are something your Grandmother may have done, as a whole so many have moved away from preserving their own food. Over the next weeks, I will share with you some of my experiences with canning and why I love it!
My Mother canned while I was growing up and I vividly remember even as a child our family sitting together shelling purple hull peas, snapping green beans and sweet peas. I have found memories (except the purple fingers) of our time spent together while my Mother was working to preserve the food from our garden. I even have a few of my Mother’s last set of purple hull peas in my pantry that I lovingly look at from time to time. Those are precious jars that will probably never be opened.
There are many reasons to can, but here are my reason why I personally enjoy preserving my food through home canning:
You have control. When you preserve foods yourself, you know whose hands have been on the food, how it was cleaned and that proper procedures were followed. You also know exactly what has been put into your food and can control the sugar and salt content as well as artificial food colorings being left out of your food.
Taste. You can select produce at the peak of freshness to ensure they are delicious! You also have the ability to adjust recipes such as salsa, stews, pickles, jams and even pasta sauces to reflect your family’s tastes.
Thrifty. Canning can save you quite a lot of money. If you are on the hunt, more than likely, you will be able to find most of your canning equipment and jars used. I pick up any jars I can find for $.25 or less. Especially wide mouth, pint or jelly jars. You will find them at thrift stores, yard sales, Craigslist and even estate sales. If you ask around, you just might be shocked at how many people are willing to give you some they have stored somewhere for free. If you purchase your food that you are going to preserve in bulk, likely you save money on the cost of the food as well. You can save even more by gardening and the preserving your own harvest with the only cost being the seeds and time invested.
Green. What is better than recycling? Reusing! Since the jars can be reused indefinitely, you are making an investment that can be reused and reused again. Conventional canning lids can only be used once and then recycled, but now with a little investment you can actually purchase re-usable canning lids from Tattler and are able to reuse your lids over and over again! Preserving locally grown food cuts down on imported goods, thus minimizing your carbon footprint. Once your goods have been through the canning process, they do not require any additional energy for storage. You can also compost your leftover waste, or in my case the pigs get to enjoy it!
Healthy. Did you know that most can, with a few exceptions still contain BPA in their lining? BPA has been linked to many illnesses, even cancer. Glass jars do not contain BPA. Although conventional canning lids do still contain BPA (your food should not be touching the lids) you can be completely and totally BPA free by using Tattler’s Reusable Canning Lids! Again, you also have total control over what goes into your food.
Inspirational. This may not be the case for everyone, but I love to look at something I have made, cooked or preserved and think to myself, “I was able to do that!” You start looking at foods on the grocery store shelves very differently when you realize that you have within your ability to prepare that for your family, with out the help of say, Mexico or Peru. It also is part of my families heritage, my Mother canned, my Granny canned and I want to pass that along to my children.
Canning is an extensive subject. This will only be the first of what I am sure will be many series about canning and preserving but I have to start somewhere right? Although I will be sharing several recipes and tutorials with you, I want to emphasize that they should not take the place of a proper canning guide. Sometimes, especially when you are just beginning it helps to see something rather than just read it, so that is the purpose of the tutorials I will be sharing.