It’s that time of year again…your garden is overflowing and you can’t seem to eat fast enough! The zucchini and basil are multiplying faster than you can pick them and soon the tomatoes will start turning red right before your eyes. It is time to do something about it. A great way to make good use of your surplus is to preserve your own food. If you have never preserved your own food, don’t fret, it’s easier than you think!
Why Preserve your Food?
Preserving food from your garden can save you time and money in the long run. You will waste less food from your garden and waste less packaging material since you can reuse your canning jars. If you have never canned before, try it out with a friend. Always make sure you follow recipes that are tested and approved. Canning food requires specific amounts of certain ingredients (acid, sugar, etc.) to preserve food properly and safely. My favorite recipe/instruction book can be found here.
What Tools do you Need to Can?
To can food safely, you need the following items:
- a canner (large pot than can fit a canning rack)
- a canning rack (metal rack that fits canning jars)
- canning jars and lids
- a jar lifter (made especially to lift hot jars from boiling water)
- a lid lifter (to lift lids from boiling water)
- a wide mouthed funnel (to fill jars)
All of these products usually come packaged together in canning starter kits. The kits, and individual tools, can be purchased at your local grocer or hardware store. Go here to find more information about products.
Tips to Remember
- Always follow approved recipes and instructions. Many are found near the canning tools in the store or on the websites given above.
- Use only ripe fruits and vegetables. Sort out rotten or damaged produce as it could ruin the whole batch of food.
- Wash your food first!
- Remember to label all your jars with the date you processed it. Most fruits and vegetables are good for 12 months on your shelf.
Please leave any comments or questions. Happy canning!
Image Credit: Photo by Rachel Fox