Garden Forever

Preserving Your Food From the Garden by Canning

The process of canning and preserving food can be done for many reasons. Whether it be making food from your garden last a little longer, or trying to make a dollar go a little further, canning is a hands-on way of ensuring that you get the most from your garden. While it may seem like an arduous task, canning is a simple process that can take your spring and summer fruits and vegetables, and keep them fresh and ready to eat for many months.

The process of canning and preserving begins by cooking foods at a high temperature in order to remove any microorganisms that may be in the food. The job also includes a number of special utensils and tools, such as canning jars, pressure cookers, and jar funnels.

There are many benefits to be had from canning food from your garden, with perhaps the greatest being that it can save you money. In these tough times, more and more people have turned to canning as a means of saving a little extra money. By preserving your own foods and keeping them supplied and ready throughout the year, you can shave countless dollars off your grocery bill. You will also be able to enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables even when they are not in season, which results in them having a higher price in most stores. There are also a number of health benefits which go along with preserving foods as well. When canning, you lock in all of the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients of the food. Thus ensuring that you have a continuous supply of fresh and healthy foods.

There are two commonly used techniques when it comes to canning, those being the boiling method and the pressure canner method. The boiling method is used for fruits, jams, tomatoes, pickles, jellies, and preserves. When using the boiling method, food is first boiled and then placed in jars with pectin, which is a gelling agent that helps to keep the food fresh and locks in flavor. Pressure canning is another option, and is the only method that should be used when preserving meats, vegetables, poultry, and seafood. The jars of food are placed in 3 inches water in the pressure cooker, with the water being heated to 240 degrees Fahrenheit. This high temperature is needed to ensure that any and all bacteria and microorganisms present on the food are killed.

The tools needed for canning and preserving food include: a pressure cooker, canning jars, lids, a jar lifter to help you lift and place the jars in the boiling water, a lid wand that is used to remove lids from the jars, a jar funnel that allows you to place liquids into hot jars, cloths for clean up, knives for cutting, spatula for removing air bubbles from jars before sealing, a timer for proper processing, hot pads, cutting board, cutting spoons, corn cutters, apple slicers, and fruit skinners. When canning, as with every activity in the kitchen, extreme care and caution should be exercised at all time. You will be dealing with sharp objects as well as boiling water. Please be sure to take all proper precautions before you begin canning.