Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Good Sites for Learning How to Can

canning.jpg
  1943 Poster. Artist: Parker, Alfred, 1906-1985.
 United States. Office of War Information.



It used to be that when I needed to know something, I looked it up in The World Book Encyclopedia, went to the library to find a book on the subject, or called someone I knew who was an expert.  Yeah, I am that old. Now, it is right at my fingertips online.  Convenient and faster, for sure, but for some reason I felt smarter in the end when I did it the old fashioned way.

Even though I didn't go to the library this week, I have been learning much on the web about canning.  As I shared with you in my last post, the thought of canning has always intimidated me a bit, but I am determined to tackle it this summer.  It is amazing how much is written on the subject, and how many people are doing it.  Where have I been??  The grocery store, I guess.


One of the first articles I found was a very practical one, which explored the question "How Much Can You Save By Canning Your Own Vegetables?"  The writer concluded you needed a very abundant garden in order to come out ahead in the end rather than buying at the grocery store.  I agree, but saving money is not the only reason I want to can (as I explained in the previous post).  I have an  an ample, but not enormous, garden, but this article did not discourage me.

Moving on, I came across a site written by The National Center for Home Food Preservation that had a vast amount of helpful information. They covered canning all kinds of foods, as well as freezing, drying, pickling, curing, smoking, and even fermenting. They discuss "boiling water canning" verses pressure cooker canning - the latter of which they prefer. This site almost had too much info for a simple beginner like me, but if you are a seasoned canner, you might find that it gives you some new ideas for preserving food.

The best and most practical information I found was at Backwoods Home Magazine. The article, Canning 101, was easy to follow, down-to-earth, and not the least bit overwhelming. It did not make me feel bad for having purchased the cheapo boiling water-type canner rather than the more expensive pressure cooker-type canner, either.  And the writer put all my fears to rest with these simple words:

     Canning is very easy. If you can boil water and tell time you can home can. Properly canned food      
     will not give your family food poisoning. I've canned for 35 years and no one has ever suffered from 
     the least bit of ill effect from my delicious home canned food. And no, the canner will not blow up 
     despite the old cartoons to the contrary. My old canner is 20 years old, has received very heavy 
     use, and is still going strong, with no repairs necessary.

I may actually be able to do this after all!

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