To can food at home, you combine canning safe glass jars, lids with rubber gaskets, food that's safe for canning and the right heat processing. Home canning allows you to preserve almost any food – even entire meals – but you need to follow the rules. I do the bulk of my canning during harvest season, but can fire up the canner any time of year. One trick I've taken advantage of is to toss whole fruit (like tomatoes) or fruit puree into the freezer, and then finish processing when the weather has cooled. In this post I’ll discuss how to can food at home safely, basic equipment for home canning, and general canning tips.
Preserving Strawberries for Year Round Use
The boys and I go strawberry picking locally every year, just like I used to go with my mamma. (The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and The Big Hungry Bear used to be one of my oldest son's favorite books when he was little.) The strawberry season is short here – generally 2-3 weeks at most, depending on the weather, but we try to get out picking at least twice. For strawberry storage that we can enjoy year round, I use several different methods of preserving strawberries. In this post, I'll give tips for fresh strawberry storage, my favorite storage methods, and some fun strawberry storage ideas from friends.
There's a growing interest in how to homestead and become more self-reliant. While the days of earning free land by farming it for a period of years is long gone, there are still many ways that most of us can incorporate homesteading principles into our daily lives. (Note – Although it sounds romantic and adventurous, “free land” often came at a high cost to those original homesteaders.) My great-grandparents were part of the original homesteading movement out west, and I remember my mom telling me a story passed down through her family about a young boy of 11 who was left to hold a homestead claim on his own for a year so his family could have more land. The boy survived, but the loneliness changed him and he was never quite right after the experience. The “good old days” weren't always good. [Read more…]
As a beginning canner, there are often canning questions that come up that might seem obvious to experienced food preservers, but aren't so obvious when you're starting out. I've teamed up with some of my blogging friends (Chaya Foedus from Pantry Paratus, Janet Garman from Timber Creek Farm, and Diane Hamilton Coe from Peaceful Acres Farm) to answer over 15 of your home food preservation questions and recommend some great resources. If you don't find an answer to your question here, feel free to leave a comment below and I'll do my best to help you out.
How do I get started canning? What do I go to the store and buy?
The post “Getting Started With Home Canning” gives a detailed list of equipment commonly used for canning. The most important piece is the canner. A water bath canner, which is basically a large pot with a rack in the bottom, is the easiest to use and less expensive than a pressure canner. [Read more…]
A lot of us are trying to stretch our food budgets by growing our own or purchasing in bulk. Many are also joining CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) programs, which provide them with produce (and sometimes other items) throughout the growing season. To take full advantage of local food sources, we need to find ways to store food after harvest. If you're new to food preserving, this post will give you a brief overview of the different techniques, and direct you to addition resources for home food preservation. Then you can decide which methods will work best for you. [Read more…]