At first glance, canning sounds like one of the scariest ways to preserve food, but honestly, canning isn’t as scary as it sounds. Get started with canning and filling your pantry with these great projects.
It’s easy to be afraid of canning when you don’t know the rules. With freezing, you blanch vegetables and toss the food in freezer bags. They will store it in your deep freezer for up to a year. With dehydrating, you cut it up and stick it in a machine that slowly dries it out. With canning though, you need supplies; a canner, canning jars, special lids to get a proper seal, and then there’s always the possibility that the jars won’t seal properly.
Don’t fear, if you buy (or are gifted) quality glass jars, get a few basic supplies, and learn to follow some basic directions you’ll be just fine. People have been safely canning for decades, you can too. Canning ads even more shelf-life time and allow you to store food that would otherwise go bad very quickly.
Some things are great to pass down through the generations. Grandma’s world-famous apple pie filling recipe is something to cherish. Some of her preservation techniques should, however, be left in the past. Times, they are a-changing. Read more about the questionable old-school canning practices that you should avoid from Jess at 104 Homestead.
Start with Water Bath Canning
Stay away from canning meats or low acid products like beans, corn, peas, or carrots at the beginning of your canning career. Those can be a little trickier to can successfully and you need a pressure canner to accomplish it. Instead, get a few batches of water bath canning under your belt, and invest in some good canning gear, including a proper pressure canner before giving these types of canned goods a try.
For all of the recipes below, you will need a water bath canner, jars, lids and produce to preserve. Try this water bath canner set at Amazon. Someday I will purchase this nifty electric water bath canner!
Tomatoes are the only vegetable that can safely be preserved in a water bath canner. Try these tomato recipes:
Make Jam or Jelly
A fun place to start is by making jelly or jam. Pick your favorite fruit, find a jam or jelly recipe and give it a try. You need some half pint glass jars and tongs that will allow you to grab hot jars out of boiling water. Dig around and see if you have a pot large enough to hold the jars and get started. Follow the recipes and directions and you’ll do fine. Any jars that don’t seal properly should go in the fridge and be used right away.
Another great place to start is to with a simple fruit canning project. Canning any kind of fruit is very simple and you can use it throughout the year in pies and other desserts, plus canned fruit is tasty and great for eating out of the jar. Be sure to clean, cut, and prepare a simple syrup for your fruit to get them ready for canning. Then follow canning instructions to make sure you cook them long enough to kill any bacteria and create a good seal.
As with any type of canned good you should store jars that didn’t completely seal in the fridge and use them within a week.
Another great option is pickles. If you have a bunch of cucumbers growing in the garden, or want to try your hand at some sort of other pickled vegetables (like cauliflower, peppers, or okra for example), give canned pickles a try. The vinegar solution already does a great job of preserving the food and the vinegar makes the food so acidic that you can process it in a water bath canner.
These 11 tasty recipes will help you get started with canning so you can start building a healthy pantry. See canning isn’t as scary as it sounds!