By Amy H.
Canning is one of my family’s favorite summertime activities. I can still remember the first time we chose this method for preserving food. My husband and I were students at BYU. We drove past a fruit stand one afternoon. There was a great deal on peaches. Kevin suggested we can some.
I admit I was totally overwhelmed at the idea of canning! I knew you had to follow strict methods of preserving, being careful to have the food at the right temperature, and to make sure the equipment was properly sterilized. The first thing that came to mind was “Botulism”!
I agreed to preserve the peaches if we did some canning and some freezing. I felt freezing was easier and safer. My mother had a big chest freezer when I was young and we always used that method. To my surprise, I found that canning was much easier than I had expected. It took pre-planning. We had to make sure to have rings, lids, jars, and a large pan with a rack in the bottom. The peaches sure did taste great that winter. And they looked beautiful on the kitchen shelves of that little student apartment.
When we moved to Oregon we continued with canning. We have limited space so the jars are perfect. I don’t need a big freezer or lots of storage space. The shelves in one cupboard hold finished products. I also store jars in the laundry room. We almost always can items that we get from friends, neighbors, our garden, or from heading out into woods to pick. We have canned plums, peaches, apples, tomatoes, salsa, blackberries, strawberries and many types of jellies and syrups.
My kids love the jelly. I don’t remember the last time I purchased a jar from the store. I enjoy sharing low sugar jellies with friends and opening a jar of salsa in the middle of the winter. Tarragon pickles were a big hit with my family last year. They were delicious and easy! I finally purchased a pressure canner and added vegetables and meats to our canning experience. My family enjoyed the taste and convenience of home made soup.
Canning is easy! If you are going to can I recommend purchasing or borrowing a canner, a steam juicer, the Ball Blue Book of Preserving, and plenty of rings, lids, and jars.
I suggest starting with jelly making. It is easy and there are directions in every box of pectin. You can experiment with recipes as you become more proficient. If summer time is busy for you, can the juice from fruit then make jelly in the fall or winter. Tomatoes are also really easy to can.
Give canning a try. You may discover, like me, that it is fun, easy, and rewarding!
Featured image: public domain
Photos by LDS Intelligent Living