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“U-2-Can-Can”
Canning food, and why you should do it!

Canning? It’s a method of preserving food in a safe manner that results in a fully cooked, shelf stable (no refrigeration needed) product that can be used at your convenience.

Most of us remember our grandparents and maybe even parents canning up the veggies from the garden and making homemade jams & jellies. It was a natural part of life back then and we never gave it much thought. Seems like something happened that broke the cycle and not many of us "can" anymore. Of course most of us don’t have large gardens or an abundance of product to "can" and we have good freezers and convenient sources for obtaining our food now days. So it could be argued that those reasons to "can" in today’s society are outdated. I submit that while there is some truth to that line of thinking, there are many new reasons that have taken the place of the outdated reasons to “can“. Most of us are very busy and say we don’t have time to “can”. We also say we don’t have time to cook, clean, read, play with the dog, spend time with the kids....... Seems like we don’t have time to do much of anything anymore.
I’m not going to spend a lot of time telling you what you should stop wasting your time on. However, with a little time management you can “CAN", AND save time on cooking, save money and eat better. If you could pre-cook a month’s worth of meals in one morning would that be a worthwhile tradeoff in time. You wouldn’t have to spend the time cooking or running out and buy something, you could simply reach for a meal in a jar on the shelf that doesn’t even have to be refrigerated.
Soups, Beans, all kinds of Meats, Curry, Vegetables, Kimchi, Sauerkraut, Fruits, Pickles, Jams & Jellies, Spreads & Dips are just a few of the items that can easily be canned. Straight from the jar of with very little preparation you can make a meal. From shelf to sandwich you can make chicken salad in less than 5 minutes with a jar of boneless-skinless-chicken breasts. Put canned soup in a bowl and microwave it for less than 5 minutes for a meal. Instant potato salad using canned potatoes. Condiments like Kimchi, Pickles, Spreads, Jams & Jellies, Salsa, Chutneys, Hot Sauce….make a meal much more than just a sandwich. Using canned meats as ingredients to make pizzas, quesadillas, omelet’s, casseroles, salads….cuts the cooking time to nil.
In addition to the benefits above, you would be able to save money on your food too. Buying your canning product in bulk or in season means you can often buy it much cheaper. You’ll also notice a vast improvement in quality since you won’t have to eat the culls and waste that someone else puts into your food if you buy it further prepared like most folks do. You’ll also learn that there’s a big health benefit because you are able to choose what goes into the can. Doctor says you need to reduce salt? Just add less or no salt when canning. Like Organic foods? Choose to can only organically grown foods. Concerned about preservatives? Don’t add any. Another benefit is that you will be significantly reducing the amount of “over-packaging” that continues to fill our landfills.
If you aren’t yet convinced of the benefits of canned foods, think back a few years ago to a time when a lot of us were without electricity and eating MREs (read hurricane/flood food). How about the chore of food preparation when camping or boating. What about home made gifts for holidays or anytime? How about last minute party foods?
All it takes is a couple hours to learn the fundamentals of food preservation and canning techniques. The equipment may already be in your kitchen for “Water-Bath” canning like you would use for jams, jellies, tomatoes, fruit….. A pressure canner costs between $50 & $150 for a typical home use canner. Some folks are concerned about the dangers but with today’s equipment there is no more danger than any other kitchen appliance. So, are you ready to CAN some food?

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Replies to This Discussion

LOL, Pat....."Seems like something happened that broke the cycle and not many of us "can" anymore. " Yeah, The New Deal happened and we have a Nanny Government that takes care of everyone now! Nothing's ever free -- there are always strings attached. Look how Nanny Government has done America in!

Those who are not the 'dependent' types are figuring this out. People are turning to gardens and grocery store sales to try and offset the food inflation (which is only in the beginning stages). More and more people also realize the Government is in bed with Big Ag and the safety issues with foods is getting serious. The Monsanto GMO false-foods are not only untested but altered products that may not even be "food".

I like all of your reasons for home canning and can't argue with a single point you made. I especially like the point about reducing the commercial packaging. It's rare that we have a "package" to burn, compost, or haul away since we grow our own or buy in bulk. Perhaps if home-canning were touted as being "green" and not wasteful, a few more people would consider canning.

I've personally seen a growing movement in home canning and there are some very active forums with new folks trying to learn the basics of canning. Hunger has a way of changing opinions and as our economy continues to tank and the 3 year unemployment payments end, I suspect people will need to grow their own or put-up some of their own foods if the SNAP (food stamps) don't stretch far enough.

Nice article!
Yes today's society has resulted in a culture where if you want something you "Slap Leather" (grab your wallet) instead of the traditional DIY methods of getting things done. While this seems fine, it eventually deteriorates into a situation where we don't get what we want AND don't know how to DIY. Look at car repair, health care, Geneticly altered foods,.... Sometimes I think the sheep of the world had better look up before they actually enter the slaughter house! The point I make when talking about canning is that there are lots of pros & few cons regardless of your political position or you beliefs in how the world turns.
And besides all the ethical reasons for canning, it tastes better! While many of the things you mentioned are also motivators for me, the biggest one is taste. You can't buy homemade flavor at the grocery store.

You got it, Pat!!  One of my own advantages to pressure-canning is having the ability to 'bulk can' some meats and beans during the off-season. I like to take advantage of Wintertime to do things like that because when the garden season starts, whew -- it takes so much time. In the Winter, I am able to pressure-can dozens of jars of beans, soups, broths, and meats. I use the surrounding heat next to the stove-top to rise my yeast-dough then, too. And I stay warm! lol

Our viewpoint in canning is that we not only get what we want but we have those fantastic foods always ready for a quick meal when needed. I remember you have used your jars on camping trips and it gets no better than that!! I knew I'd be exceptionally busy in these next couple of months, so I prepared-- I canned some foods for fast meals. I also froze some meals already prepared. Around here, 'fast food' is in jars, not up the road where commercialized burgers are made from meat that probably comes from Australia, China, or Argentina.

You know, I looked up the actual number of cases of food poisoning that were recorded by the Feds. In all the years, there were only about 130 cases of poisoning. (I didn't bookmark the document and can't locate it again, or I'd share it.) So the safety behind proper canning versus the 'hype'  is not really an issue at all, just a myth. I'll try to find that document again -- it's worth sharing!

 

I think the vast majority of food poisoning comes from other than home canned food sources. I cut and pasted the worst case scenerio (Botulism) and as you can see, out of the total there are about 25-30 cases of food borne cases. Obviously it's more dangerous to get on the road to drive to a resturant. And if you survive the trip the chances of getting food poisoning are better at the resturant than from canned food! I'll stick to our method of producing "fast Food" thank you very much.

Food-Borne Botulism

  • Incidence
    • An average of 110 cases of botulism is reported annually in the US. About twenty-five percent of these cases are foodborne botulism.



Lynn Shaw said:

You got it, Pat!!  One of my own advantages to pressure-canning is having the ability to 'bulk can' some meats and beans during the off-season. I like to take advantage of Wintertime to do things like that because when the garden season starts, whew -- it takes so much time. In the Winter, I am able to pressure-can dozens of jars of beans, soups, broths, and meats. I use the surrounding heat next to the stove-top to rise my yeast-dough then, too. And I stay warm! lol

Our viewpoint in canning is that we not only get what we want but we have those fantastic foods always ready for a quick meal when needed. I remember you have used your jars on camping trips and it gets no better than that!! I knew I'd be exceptionally busy in these next couple of months, so I prepared-- I canned some foods for fast meals. I also froze some meals already prepared. Around here, 'fast food' is in jars, not up the road where commercialized burgers are made from meat that probably comes from Australia, China, or Argentina.

You know, I looked up the actual number of cases of food poisoning that were recorded by the Feds. In all the years, there were only about 130 cases of poisoning. (I didn't bookmark the document and can't locate it again, or I'd share it.) So the safety behind proper canning versus the 'hype'  is not really an issue at all, just a myth. I'll try to find that document again -- it's worth sharing!

 

You're right Bonnie, even though my main reason for canning is convenience, the great taste sure makes it easy to make the right choice. Plus canning what I want in the jar without the other stuff I can't pronounce or spell is a big plus too.

Bonnie said:
And besides all the ethical reasons for canning, it tastes better! While many of the things you mentioned are also motivators for me, the biggest one is taste. You can't buy homemade flavor at the grocery store.
Thanks Pat, I loved reading this. I am just new to "caning" (we call it preserving in Australia) but this seems like a great place to learn more about it. Such a great way of saving surplus summer fruit and veg!

Happy preserving down under Kat! Glad you liked it.

 

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