Saturday, July 17, 2010

Should I can it?

Going Green Mama could use some advice...

I confess: I love to cook. I love to harvest fresh vegetables.

But I'm scared to death to can.

I'll be honest, I'm worried about screwing something up. Fear of food poisoning. Fear of screwing something up.

So today, I'll ask your advice: Should I can this year? What's easy to can? Anything I should keep in mind?

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Start with something high acid so you don't have to be scared of making people sick - jam, tomatoes, pickles - these are all easy and rewarding.

Wendy said...

Yes, you should definitely can your own food. Not only is it overall healthier (because you will use the freshest and most natural ingredients in your process and because the containters you use will be BPA-free - except, perhaps, the lid), but the knowledge that you can provide for your family without the industrial food machine is so empowering.

Start with applesauce. It's easy, and it's something that most kids will eat :).

stephanie said...

Yes. I am starting to can more and more and I love it. I have my mom's old Ball Blue book of canning and I refer to it often.

Erin aka Conscious Shopper said...

We've been canning up a storm this year, and I've been trying to figure out where I can fit more canning jars. But I have to add that I've been calculating the costs of everything I've canned, and except for things we've grown ourselves, it's really not financially effective to can. I bought apples during a great sale and went to a u-pick farm for strawberries, and the total cost to can both was still comparable to storebought. And when you add in the energy use and my time, it makes more sense financially just to buy. But of course, there's the factor of using less resources by reusing jars and of getting better-tasting and better quality food.

The 4 Bushel Farmgal said...

Agreed with all above - start with something high acid, easy, and use the Ball Canning book. It's easier than you'd expect!

The only thing I can add is to make sure to wipe the rim clean before capping.

Have fun!

Truffula said...

Go for it!

We are trying out the reusable Tattler's lids this year. So far, they seems to be doing fine, though they do add to the start-up expenses.

In the canning vs. freezing department... on a local blog, someone pointed out that your canned goods will be a-ok if the power goes out. As for any frozen goodies, no so much, depending on the length of the outage.

Green Bean said...

I agree with the other commenters - applesauce and apple butter are super duper easy. You can even make them in a slow cooker. Jam and relish are also easy. Personally, though, I can only eat so much relish and I've never had much luck with pickles. Jam, on other hand, never stays on the shelf for long.

Pure Mothers said...

Yes, you should! Try jam. You will know if it doesn't seal and then just put those in the fridge or give away to be eaten within a few weeks.

BluElf said...

I started out just canning apples, not applesauce since this way I can do what I want with the apples when I open the jars, and it's less work during the canning process to just use the apple-peeler-corer-slicer thingy and cook them with just a little water to soften them slightly before putting them in the jars to water-bath can them. Also, berries are super easy if you just make a light sugar syrup (which you may not need and could probably just use water if you don't care about what the sugar will add for color, etc) and can them whole. This way you can also do what you want with them later as well. And less sugar too since you don't *have* to use them as jam and can use them for other things.

Rebecca The Greeniac said...

OMG I totally share your fear. I mean, I know that if you do it right it's supposed to be OK... but botulism really sounds like a horrible way to die.

I chickened out and bought a freezer. They say freezing doesn't destroy as many nutrients as canning does so the food is supposed to be better for you anyhow. I know it uses electricity, but so does all of the boiling and everything. There is a point to the power outage thing, but I just think that I'd be living in a perpetual state of paranoia otherwise.

KnitNana said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nana Sadie said...

Tomatoes! Easier than pickles, but they're good, too.

Use the hot water bath (I'm terrified of pressure canners) and the Ball Blue Book.

Yes.You.Can.CAN!
*wink*

Condo Blues said...

I'm intimidated by canning too. Odd because renting a jackhammer and using it for the first time was not intimidating at all. How about freezing things instead? You can make freezer jam if you have leftover fruit.

Jenn the Greenmom said...

I too find canning very intimidating...but I just bought a canner, and my kids and I love applesauce, and every year we buy a bag or two of the "windfall" apples...

I may get some pH paper strips or something, just to ease my mind, because like others the botulism thing freaks me out. But I'm running out of freezer space...

Manda said...

I still don't understand the need for a special 'canner'. Hot food filled to the top + hot jar and lid = vacuumed sealed! It's the way we do it in my house. And lets be honest my Dad loves it when I "fail" at one and the lid doesn't pop down cause you can eat it straight away. We haven't died yet....but I haven't tried anything unusual, just tomatoes, stewed fruit, jams, jelliesand relishes.

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