Do you home can? Freeze or dehydrate your garden produce? Why would you want to when you can buy fruits and vegetables already canned/frozen?
Well, for one, it saves you money. Take for instance a pound of dried beans that you can ‘sometimes’ find for a dollar. You can make one big meal out of those beans BUT if you canned those beans you’d end up with 4-6 pints of ready to use beans. Ready for your soups or chilis.
Even if you aren’t a gardener you can still find bargains on canning veggies at the farmer’s markets. They often times have an abundance of produce and are willing to sell you bushels so that you can home can. These are often an excellent bargain.
Food that you home can, home freeze or dehydrate are often healthier as well. Why’s that? If you grew it… you know what went in/on the plant. If you home can you know what ingredients you’ve added. You might choose a canning recipe that has less salt for instance. Freezing is fast, easy and less expensive than canning. (No jars or expensive equipment to purchase.) However, if you’re concerned at all about having electricity to run your freezer then shelf stable foods are better for your pocket in the long run. Canned and dehydrated foods don’t require power to stay fresh.
Homemade jelly in a jar is a great gift from the heart.
So what do you need to can? You’ll need a canning kit which includes a wide mouth funnel, tongs, lid lifter as well as a water bath canner for acid rich foods (such as tomato sauce) and for jellies/jams. Other foods require a pressure canner. Of course you’ll need canning jars and lids and a Ball book wouldn’t hurt!
Freezing requires cookie sheets or trays, wax or parchment paper and some freezer containers such as stackable plastic containers or freezer zip locks.
Whatever method of preservation you choose you’ll rest satisfied knowing that you’ve put back good food to feed your family, no matter the weather or circumstances.