You read that right…. I’m not talking about canning peppers although peppers are a great thing to preserve for later. (Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers….) I’m talking about canning as a means of preparing.
Homesteading doesn’t just mean living in the country, living off-grid, or on a farm. One can practice homesteading no matter where they live. Homesteading is a lifestyle of being self-sufficient AND the act of becoming more self sufficient. You can become more self-reliant in many forms, but today we’re talking about canning foods for later use and yes you can ‘can’ in the city, in an apartment, at the lake house… … anywhere really!
When you do homestead on some land, be that a city lot or an acreage in the country, you’ll most likely end up growing at least a small plot of food. (This in itself leads to large gardens, orchards, and farm animals….) Unless you’re a total ‘brown thumb’ you’ll probably end up with more food than you can eat. This is a good thing.
You can share with friends and neighbors, or the food pantry. You can also put food up for later by canning.
Scared? It’s not that hard to get started with canning!
To water bath…. you’ll fill the canning pot with water and get it to boiling. Wash the lids and jars and put them in the boiling water to sterilize. Use the jar lifter than came in your kit (which is so much safer than trying to use something you already have in the kitchen, like tongs… they just won’t work.) to remove them and set aside on a clean kitchen towel or bowl.
Follow your canning recipe… then fill the clean jars with your product, wipe the edges of the jar and screw on the lids but don’t overtighten. Place the filled jars into the water bath canner (with the boiling water) and boil according to your recipe’s direction. Once completed, remove the jars with your jar lifter and set aside on the counter to cool. You’ll hear the lids start to ping shut, one by one.
If most, but not all the jars have pinged, test the lid by pressing down on it. It should not move. If there’s give that means that the jar has a failed seal and will need to be consumed (and refrigerated). (Don’t you always want just one jar not to seal so you can eat it???) Do not attempt to recook just open and eat and store what you didn’t finish in the fridge.
Other foods can be preserved with a pressure canner but I’d advised starting with the simpler foods, like jelly or jam or pickles, before investing in a pressure canner. (A pressure cooker is not the same thing as a pressure canner.)
That’s really all there is to water bath canning. You can use this method to preserve quite a bit of bounty no matter whether you live in town or the countryside. (A canning party is a great girl’s day!!!) There’s nothing finer than opening some goodness you canned yourself on a cold dark day in mid-winter. It’s heartwarming knowing YOU made this….and you’re helping your family become just a little bit more prepared.