As a little girl I remember watching my aunts can. They would sit around snapping beans, peeling fruit, and talking about life together as they worked. I've always admired them. I respected the way they cared for their families and always got the sense that, to them, canning wasn't a chore, it was truly a labor of love. Preserving food was a way to save some extra money and to forego runs to the grocery stores in the cold winter months. Why eat produce from a store when their families could enjoy fresh summer peaches all year long! I recently made the transition from full-time out of the house working Mom, to full-time in the house working Mom (and homeschool teacher to my youngest three). I decided this was the perfect time to let go of my fears (I always had it in my head that canning was a difficult process) and to embrace a way of food preservation that dates all the way back to the 1800's. It was time to learn canning; and it turned out to be so much easier than I expected! Fresh Preserving sent me the canning products pictured above, at no cost to facilitate this review, and not only am I going to share with you how you can begin canning fresh food in your own home, but I'm teaming up with The Fresh Preserving Store and Thrifty Nifty Mommy to giveaway a Fresh Preserving Kit as well!
I don't know how it happened but I can't stop canning...my counters are literally full at this very moment of pickles, peaches, preserves, and salsa (did I mention I've also got 1/2 bushel of apples calling my name). I swear some proud, German, woman-of-the-house instinct kicked in when I started canning and it's become a chore that I just can't seem to stop. I'd can everything in the house if I could! Here's how I got started:
Decide What You Want To Can.
There are so many different options when it comes to canning. From sauces, preserves and salsa's to fresh whole fruits and vegetables, Fresh Preserving has a large amount of recipes you can use to get started. I have found one of our local farmer's market that will set out what they call "seconds". It's typically larger quantities of fruits and vegetables that are sold at a fraction of the cost because they are ripe and needing to be eaten or because they have a few imperfections here and there. For me, these are the perfect choices for canning! I found this 1/2 bushel of assorted tomatoes for $12 and decided it was time to make salsa!
If you're looking for a bright and vibrant recipe for salsa try out my Farmer's Market Salsa and let me know what you think! Click HERE for the complete recipe.
2. Make Sure You Have The Proper Equipment.
- 21-Qt. Water Bath Canner that holds up to 7 quart jars
- Premium canning rack, chrome-plated to resist corrosion that accommodates large and small jars (Diameter: 11.9"; Depth: 3")
- Essential 4 piece utensil set
- Jar Funnel: Place in mouth of jar to fill without spilling
- Jar Lifter: Safely lift jars out of hot water with the gripping end
- Lid Lifter: Lift lids out of hot water with the magnetic end
- Bubble Remover & Headspace Tool: Slide into the side of filled jar to release air bubbles and measure headspace.
3. Roll Up Your Sleeves
My daughter Eva was just as excited to can and I was. We decided to try our hand at salsa first and we both got to chopping. I found it easy to prepare all of my food first so we chopped the tomatoes, peppers, onions, and herbs, and sautéed our salsa before getting our jars ready. While we washed our new jars and lids in hot, soapy water, we put our huge Ball Water Bath Canning pot on the stove and set it to high. The funnel made pouring our salsa into the jars easy and mess free. It was a great job for Eva to do on her own without Mom's help.
|Eva was so proud of her first jar of salsa!|
Once the water was boiling I lowered the salsa jars into the pot and allowed them to boil for 15 minutes. After processing for 15 minutes, I used the Jar Lifter to carefully take each jar out of the water and placed them on a towel on my kitchen counter to cool. It's best not to touch the jars for at least 24 hours while they finish processing and sealing...sometimes you even get to hear the glorious "pop" of the lids as they close...it's secretly one of my favorite parts.
Once the jars are able to be handled I like to use a permanent marker to write what is in them along with the date they were sealed. Jars that have been successfully canned can be kept in a cool dry place for a year, though many of Ball's new jars have lids/seals that keep food safe for up to 18 months!
Click HERE to read more about Water Bath Canning
There's so much more I have to learn about food preservation and so many more recipes I've got to try! One thing I know that that is if I need to find the answers to my canning questions, or if I'm looking for more gear and tips to make my new love affair with canning easier, I'm heading straight over to Fresh Preserving and the Ball Canning company for everything I need!
Click HERE to check out all they have to offer on their website!
One lucky reader will win their own Fresh Preserving Kit! To enter, just use the Giveaway Tools form below. Giveaway open to United States, ages 18 and up. Ends 10/9/17 at 11:59PM EST.