By Angie Sullivan
Want to enjoy that summer bounty long after the season ends? You CAN!
Last week we discussed using a food dehydrator to help you store some of the bounty of harvest time. This week, our preparedness journey will take us to the land of canning. I know, many of you are going to stop reading right here. Perhaps you believe that canning is only for your mother’s generation, or that it is way too hard to accomplish. Well, if you have the right tools, canning can be fun and provide you with some delicious food storage from your own kitchen!
There are a few guidelines you need to know. There are different types of home canning. These include Hot Water Bath, Steam Canning, and Pressure Canning. Hot Water Bath and Steam Canning are wonderful methods for foods that are high in acid, mainly fruit. Both Hot Water Bath and Steam Canning are not recommended for vegetables or meat. Pressure Canning which is the safest method, is to be used for vegetables and meats, as they require a much higher temperature to be safely preserved.
If you own your own trees, or if you have access to a source of low priced fruits, then home canning can be a cost effective form of preserving with a few hints and recommendations. The initial investment in cans and a canner may seem prohibitive, but you will be able to reuse the canner, cans, and rims for years to come if properly sanitized. The lids must be purchased new with each round of canning as the seal will be bad once the lid is opened.
You have a few different choices when it comes to preparing your produce. You can slice, dice, or puree your fruit. If you’d like to puree your fruit, you might want to consider a food strainer or a food processor to help make your job a little easier. You can choose whether to seal the food in water or in sugar syrup. You can even choose whether to pack in light, medium, or heavy syrup. Each fruit requires different times. Your canner will come with a list of preparation instructions and boil times for the produce you are using. Be sure you follow the instructions included with your canner to insure you get the proper seal for your produce.
With the right tools, a little time and effort, you can reap the huge benefits of canning and feel a tremendous sense of accomplishment as you gaze at a shelf full of produce you prepared. Not to mention that fact that you no longer will be saying “I think I CAN” for you can replace that with a new mantra: “I KNOW I CAN!”