It’s Canning and Preserving Season
We’re in the heart of canning season. Just thought I’d give you some quick tips and tricks if you’ve never done it and have considered it. It can save you a lot of money if you do it right. (Only one of the many benefits of canning your own food, but a big one!)
First, if you’ve never canned or preserved your own food, don’t be afraid. Making jams is usually the first and easiest of all items to preserve. My mother always made jam and just used the instructions that came with the box of pectin you have to buy. That’s how she taught me. Once you get the hang of making jams, then you can start work on vegetables that only require a water bath. Then work on ones that use a pressure canner.
Other items to consider:
- Borrow items for canning before you spend money. I borrowed everything for two summers before I decided that canning and preserving was something I was going to continue doing. I headed to the local library and read everything I could find on the subject to fill in the gaps as to what my mother didn’t tell me.
- Ask others for empty canning jars and other supplies you might need. I collected pieces and parts for several water bath and pressure canners. If you have to buy new, Fleet Farm or Woodmans are the places to go if you need new supplies.
Here are some resources to make canning easier for you; many of the books mentioned can be found through the Brown County Library:
- Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. My canning bible, a lot of this information can also be gleaned from the Ball Fresh Preserving website. It tells you the supplies you need and food safety tips, as well as hundreds of recipes.
- Blue Ribbon Preserves: Secrets to Award-Winning Jams, Jellies, Marmalades and MoreThe author has won more blue ribbons for her preserves than should be allowed. She also has more than the traditional recipes; I can’t wait to make her Mandarin Oranges when Clementines are in season.
- 175 Best Jams, Jellies, Marmalades and Other Soft Spreads another book by the same author as above.
- The Complete Book of Small-Batch Preserving: Over 300 Recipes to Use Year-Round
When I was growing up, canning and preserving was a way of life. One quarter of our city lot was a vegetable garden. The north side of the garden were blueberry bushes. The east lot line of the garden was a mixture of yellow and black raspberries.
We had rhubarb, currants, gooseberries and I even recall grapes, pears and plum trees too. We found tons of wild blackberries and asparagus in what is now a parking lot for St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church and the King of Arms subdivision. We went to Door County every year and picked mass quantities of cherries, visited my Grandparents house in Negaunee, Michigan, and combed the woods for wild blueberries.
And you know what happened to all that bounty? Besides eating that food shortly after it was picked, my mother canned her as* off every summer! But it was worth it.