There are many ways to preserve food, but canning is a fantastic at home method that is proven safe if done properly. Knowing which one to use, a water bath or pressure canner, is key to doing so safely.
In the past year or so I have fallen in love with the idea of having a closet full of food that I have preserved with food that I had grown in the garden. As a family of four, with two growing boys, our food intake is increasing. As we all know, food prices have been crazy the past few years and accessibility to all foods have been hit or miss. Canning your own food that has a very long shelf life takes the question of uncertainty out of the equation.
There are so many wonderful recipes for so many things you buy from the grocery store. You can make them yourself for a fraction of the cost and the quality is going to be so much better and so much better for you. Ball has many canning cookbooks, and I would recommend all of them. Not just any recipe is safe to can, so that keep in mind.
Below is a list of items that are safe to water bath can. That means the jars are fully submerged in the water and brought to a boil for a certain amount of time. You only need a large stock pot and a rack at the bottom of the pot, so the jars don’t touch the bottom. No fancy equipment needed.
For pressure canning, the jars are in some water and then cooked under pressure for a much longer time than water bathing. You need a pressure canner to be able to do this. I have the digital pressure canner by Carey, also known as Nesco, and I love it. It doesn’t heat up the house and takes the scariness out of the process. I highly recommend getting a digital one. It also has the capability to water bath jars as well so it’s nice to only have to store one piece of equipment.
So far this season I have Canned Coleslaw, beef stew, pineapple, strawberry jam, apple pie filling, and tomatillo salsa. My pantry shelves are getting fuller every week with high quality food that will keep for years to come. Hello food security!
Items you Water Bath:
- Jams, jellies, and preserves
- Pickled or fermented foods
Items you Pressure Can:
- Stock and broths
- Meat sauces
It’s extremely important that you process and follow the recipe directions exactly. If you have never tried either process before, I would recommend starting with water bath canning first. My first item I canned was pineapple and I think it was the perfect food to learn the process. Next time you find a good deal on a produce, just go for it, I think you’ll love it!