Just as good things come to those who wait, things that take time and effort may also be worthwhile. Canning is no different; the process may take time and effort in the beginning, but once you get the hang of it, it is so well worth the time and effort put forth. In time you will become more efficient. I know I have. Here are some things to consider.
In the Beginning:
If canning is done properly, it is a safe and effective method of storing food. In fact it is the best way to store food as far as I’m concerned because you do not need to worry about electrical power outages. Canning involves a procedure that vacuum seals food in jars and, when those jars are heated, air is let out disabling the growth of bacteria that can spoil the foods. Once those jarred foods are cooled, There are some things that you need to know before you begin the canning process.
You can either can food by using boiling water or by using a pressure cooker:
- For jarred preserves, fruits, or pickling, the boiling water method is perfectly fine.
- For foods such as meats, vegetables, and even some fish, the pressure cooking method is a better choice.
A Water Bath Canner:
A water bath canner is a large pot with a rack inserted inside to fit the jars. If you choose to jar preserves, fruits, or pickle foods, a water bath canner would be the best choice of equipment. A water bath canner is the cheapest way to get started canning and is also the easiest way to start as far as I’m concerned but as your skills – and the foods you preserve expand – the canning equipment you need will change.
A Pressure Canner:
If you are considering canning meats or even fish, then a pressure canner, which is a heavy-duty pot with a steam tight lid, is the best choice. It is also necessary to use a pressure canner for some vegetables such as green beans. Most people who can food end up with both types of pressure canners. It was a number of years before I purchased a pressure canner so do not feel you need to buy one when you are first starting out.
Once you have decided on what types of canning and preserving you are going to do, you can decide on what type of equipment you will need and in addition to these items, I do suggest a canning book such as Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. From the onset, it may seem as though you are expending money; however, this is a one-time purchase that will get you through many, many years of canning and preserving as long as you take care of the equipment you purchase and keep it clean. Therefore, once you have purchased your jars, lids, seals, and choice of canning method, you can be assured that this canning and preserving process – when done properly – is the most cost-effective method for making and storing your own foods.
Thereafter, it is simply a matter of either growing your own vegetables, which is extremely cost-effective, or purchasing fruits and vegetables at your local homegrown market. Fruits and vegetables homegrown or purchased locally are extremely cost effective, support your local farmers, and are healthy choices for you and your family. Also, while it may seem like a time-consuming endeavor, canning and preserving when done once can yield several months or an entire season worth of fruits, vegetables, and meats that you can just grab and go when it is mealtime.
The benefits of canning outweigh any time involved. The food is preserved by you, grown by you, and tasty as well as saving you tons of money and time in preparing an everyday meal.
With all these benefits, it is needless to say that canning and preserving is definitely worth the time and the effort.