I eat what I can…and what I can’t, I can.
-I have no idea who said this, but I like them.
It’s Sunday Save-Day And I’m Wasting No Time…OR Food.
In my featured article photo, I am holding the key to canning! This is such an exciting thing to learn! This book is the original copy of the 1959 26-b Edition of “Ball Blue Book Home Canning Recipes and Methods”. You can also find a copy online through a quick google search.
This book is AMAZING! Not only does this book give you the best step by step instruction, it has mouth-watering recipes to go right along with it. You may find that some things are a little outdated or hard to come by, but to me, the older the better. I quickly realized that there are several different ways to can different foods. There was no way I was going to learn all of them in one day. So batch by batch, I will gain more and more experience. I had to ask advice from the expert, Grammy, to determine where I should start. She suggested that we start with apples.
Apples it is! Most fruits are canned in a homemade syrup. HELLO! There may not be any apples left to can. So fresh and delicious. I have to control myself. Because there is a slightly different method for every recipe or food, it is best that I keep my hands on this book each time I decide to can!
A quick note about timing. Some of you may be wondering why I am canning on the tail end of winter!? Well, for one, there is no time like the present. However, I wanted to have some experience and get “the just” of the process before the markets open late Spring. I want to be an expert by Summer!
I use a website to help map out harvest months and determine when I will stock up on certain fruits and veggies to can. Check out Pick Your Own and see what they determine for your state. This has been so helpful for me having just moved to Ohio. I really had to adjust my strategy, having been a spoiled Floridian where EVERYTHING grows ALL THE TIME.
You can’t can what you can’t grow. Just so you know.
Now that I have the basic skill and an awesome guide book, I will spend time each month building on it. This is not the season here for apples, but it was an easy starter recipe. It is easy to get produce from your local market all year round and can what you want…for now. The importance of “planning your canning” around seasons for crops will be key in off-grid living when you grow your own food.
The ideal situation is to set a canning schedule. One weekend out of each month, plan to can. Canning is an ALL day process between the prepping, cleaning, cooking, heating and cooling. If you don’t know what is “in season” where you live, use the chart that I linked up above called, Pick Your Own. Find the chart for your state and start planning. Pick one or two things to can for that weekend.
Make Canning Worth It
In the beginning, start small like I did. Once you have the process down, then consider mass production. Otherwise, you may end up with a ton of wasted food. At least if I mess up with a small batch, I can eat it. The day I proclaim to be a canning expert, I will have a different mindset. When I feel confident enough to mass produce, I would want more bang for my buck. As I mentioned before, each food is slightly different to can. With that said, if you are going to be working on a certain recipe…MAKE IT WORTH IT. Make enough to fill as many jars as you can. Remember that there is a possibility you wont touch that recipe again…for a whole YEAR!
Keep this in mind also when at the market! When I saw what my grandmother bought to can years ago, I thought…”There is NO WAY you are eating all of that any time soon!” Well, duh. That’s the idea. 🙂
Random tip to keep fruit from darkening during preparation:
While preparing to can…add 2 tablespoons of each, salt and vinegar to 1 gallon of cool water. Drop apples in the salt-vinegar water as they are; peeled, sliced or cored. Do not leave in this solution longer than 20 minutes. Rinse off before canning if left in solution longer than 15 mins.
Stay tuned! The more I learn, the more I blog. Be on the look out for recipes and tips as I stack my canning skills! Comment any of your favorite canning recipes or ask questions! Happy Canning!!