Is canning becoming a lost art? For those of us who are trying to go off the grid, have productive home gardens, or are just wanting to learn new “life skills,” canning is a great place to start.
Not only can you stock your pantry with home-grown tomatoes, but you can prepare for emergencies or perfectly package them for a one of a kind gift. Here are a few reasons to give canning a go!
What Can Be Canned? Just About Everything in Your Garden!
Most canning is to preserve vegetables, fruits, and combinations of those with herbs or seasonings. But really, you can do anything like jams, preserves, pickles, salsas, and sauces. Canning meat isn’t usually recommended for beginners, as there’s a risk of food contamination if you’re not doing it properly (you must have a pressure cooker, for sure!)
Canned Food Can Last You All Year
According to the National Center for Home Food Preservation, home preserved foods can be stored and eaten up to about a year after they’ve been canned. Some people will tell you that you can stretch it out to closer around 18 months or even longer. As long as you’re using a “first in, first out” system when you’re cooking your meals, you should be able to use up your canned foods before they actually expire. http://nchfp.uga.edu/questions/FAQ_canning.html
It Cuts Down on Food Waste
There’s nothing more disheartening than to see your home-grown produce start to rot away before you’ve had a chance to eat it. If you can’t keep up with all of those peppers, tomatoes, or corn, you don’t have to compost it or give a bag to everyone that you come into contact with. Planning a day to can your vegetables gives you freedom to enjoy them all year long.
For beginner canners, green beans are a relatively easy veggie to get started with. You can read the how-to directions here: http://www.simplycanning.com/canning-green-beans.html
You’ll Be Ready for a Quick Meal
Instead of take-out, you can keep your shelves packed with ready to make food that’s ready in just a matter of minutes. Here’s one recipe for tangy spaghetti sauce that you can try, or use your own so that it’s always on standby. http://www.food.com/recipe/tangy-spaghetti-sauce-for-canning-248439
There Are Different Methods of Canning Systems Available
Not everyone who cans their food has a pressure cooker. Some canning can also be safely performed using a boiling water bath. Just be sure to follow the directions carefully and only can the recommended types of foods, as you don’t want to risk an accidental contamination. Boiling water baths are an easy way to “try out “canning without a full investment in equipment that you may wind up not wanting to use. http://foodpreservation.about.com/od/Canning/a/The-Two-Kinds-Of-Canning-Boiling-Water-Bath-Vs-Pressure-Canner.htm
Canning Has Been Used for Over 200 Years
The father of canning, Nicolas Appert (a candy maker) invented canning to win a contest put on by the French Army. The contest was designed to find a solution to help keep food preserved long enough that it wouldn’t spoil for troops. Although the contest was posted in 1975, it took Appert 14 years of experimentation to find something that worked. By 1806, the French Navy was able to preserve everything from milk and meat to fruits and vegetables…finally awarding Appert the prize money in 1810. Canning has been used ever since!