Is it Cheaper to Can Your Own Food?
Benefits of Home Food CanningHome food canning has been a practice for years, passed down from one generation to another. Back then, it is used mainly as a way to preserve food for the winter. However, canning at home has become a popular trend over the past few years, not just as a way to store food but also as a method of food preparation. Here are some benefits of home canning that you might find interesting:
- You get to control what goes into your food. This means no more harmful pesticides, preservatives, or additives in your food.
- Home-canned food tastes much better than store-bought canned food, primarily because the food has not gone through a processing facility that may compromise its quality.
- You get to store your favorite foods and ingredients all year round, reducing the need to go grocery shopping or ordering food.
The Process of Food CanningCanning food at home is a simple process; however, it requires careful attention to detail. The process involves preserving food using high-heat processing and sealing it in a jar or canning container to prevent contamination. The steps for canning food at home include:
- Clean your equipment and your work area thoroughly
- Cut and prepare your food for canning
- Fill your jars with the food
- Add the needed acidic ingredients to the jar (when necessary)
- Seal the jars correctly
- Process the jars in boiling water or a pressure canner, depending on the type of food and your location’s altitude
- Remove the jars from the canner and cool them
- Store the canned food
Materials Needed for Canning at HomeBefore you can start canning at home, you need to gather all the materials and equipment necessary. While there are some specialized canning equipment, most home cooks will only need a few basic tools such as:
- Mason jars
- Canning lids and bands
- A stockpot or pressure canner
- A funnel
- A jar lifter
- A bubble remover tool
- A timer or watch
How Canning at Home Saves MoneyCost-effective food canning at home is possible, and there are a few reasons why canning your food at home is much cheaper than buying canned food from the store. First, canning your food requires basic equipment that can last for many years, meaning that the cost is a one-time investment. Second, home-canned food is made from fresh ingredients that you grow or buy, so you only pay for the food and not the processing or packaging. Lastly, home-canned food can last for a long time, reducing the need to buy food or ingredients multiple times throughout the year.
Tips for Cost-Effective CanningTo maximize savings while canning at home, here are some tips to consider:
- Buy ingredients in-season or grow them yourself
- Buy jars in bulk to get a bulk discount
- Re-use jars that you already have on hand
- Save your vegetable scraps and use them to make your stock for canning
- Get creative with flavors and combinations to use up ingredients before they go bad
Recipes Perfect for Home CanningThere is a wide array of recipes you can make and can at home, ranging from fruits, vegetables, pickles, jams, jellies, and sauces. Here are some easy recipes you can try at home:
- Homemade Tomato Sauce
- Apple Butter
- Spiced Peach Jam
- Classic Dill Pickles
- Beet Relish