Before you start any project, the most important question to ask yourself is ‘Why?’ You know you want to do it, but do you know the best reasons you need to can your own food? Knowing why you want to do this is the first step to success. Let’s look at 7 reasons ‘Why’:
7 Reasons You Need to Can your Own Food
Reason #1 – It Saves You Money
As a homemaker, our main goal is to maintain control of our finances. Those trips to the grocery store have started to cost more and more, even with coupons. So to keep our food costs in line, we grow as much of our own food as possible.
A couple of years ago, I did the math. From the garden to the finished product, I discovered that canning can save me 10% to 25% (and sometimes more) off of my grocery bill. If I have to supplement from the Farmers’ Market, it falls more on the low end. But now that you know it really does save you money, it is one of the biggest reasons you need to can your own food.
If you are just starting out, purchasing all the necessary equipment can be costly. To reduce the costs here are a couple of tips:
- Ask for supplies for birthday and Christmas gifts
- Shop thrift stores and garage sales
- Ask family and friends if they have equipment they no longer use and are willing to share
- Purchase reusable flats and rings – they may cost more up front, but they save down the line (here is a great post with reviews on both Tattle and the ones I use – Harvest Guard)
Reason #2 – It’s Healthier
Did you know that the vegetables and fruit you purchase in the grocery store may be treated with pesticides, in order to slow the ripening process? Some are also waxed, or sprayed with a bleach solution.
In the case of those apples you are admiring, stop and think a moment. Most apples are ripe in the fall. In order to have apples in the spring, they are often treated with a coating chemical to make them ‘look’ good to the consumer.
When was the last time you harvested tomatoes or even strawberries from your garden, and dunked them in a chemical bath before serving them to your family? I figured ‘Never’ was your answer.
The same is true for canned items. In order to extend the shelf life, each one is filled with additional salt and preservatives.
When you can your harvest, the jar of tomato sauce that just came out of your canner contains tomatoes, salt, and whatever spices you added (hopefully, these also came from your garden!). No chemicals. No preservatives. No excess salt.
To me, this is one of the strongest reasons you need to can your own food.
Reason #3 – It Tastes Better
If someone else makes you a meal that contains Tarragon, and you hate the flavor of that herb, there isn’t much you can do about removing it. The Tarragon saturates the entire dish. The same is true of canned fruits and vegetables you purchase in the grocery store.
One of the most flavorful reasons you need to can your own foods is because it allows you to add or remove flavors according to your likes and dislikes. There are some things you cannot change – the type of vinegar you use in pickles and the amount of salt used (at least some salt may be required- depending on what you are canning) are two examples.
Reason # 4 – It’s a Perfect Excuse for a Party
This will probably be one of the favorite reasons you need to can your own food. If you have an overabundance of produce to can, call family members and friends who love to preserve their own food. Ask them each to bring their own jars and flats and host a canning party!
Many hands not only make the work lighter, but also a lot more fun. At the end of the day, everyone gets to take home jars of delicious home-canned items. And if you are lucky, they may just host their own party. This way, everyone will get the harvest put up and have a variety of offerings for their families during the winter.
Want to host your own canning party? Find out how to do it HERE!
Reason # 5 – Self Satisfaction
If you have ever endured a summer that was seeped in canning jars, foggy glasses due to the steam from the canner, or a kitchen that looked like a canning factory exploded, then you are well aware of what it take to preserve your own food.
But then, did you open your pantry, or step down to your cellar in the winter, with eight inches of snow on the ground, and know you had plenty to feed your family until June, when the snow was finally gone and the roads were clear for travel?
Then you know one of the most comforting reasons you need to can your own food. Knowing you had the skills to preserve food for your family is one of the deepest satisfactions you can have.
Reason # 6 – Necessity
Let’s talk about the elephant in the room. A worldwide pandemic crashed the party and held us hostage for almost 2 years. Although we are just now finally getting back to a wobbly sense of normal, it is a new normal and we are still trying to gain our balance.
My biggest concern is – if it happened once, will it happen again? Cyberattacks are crippling our country, from meat and other food shortages due to trucking issues to pipelines and infrastructure. I diligently pray these won’t keep happening, but I want to be as prepared as possible in case they do.
One of the safest reasons you need to can your own food is to know that if something drastic does happen, we still have a way to feed our family. By growing a garden for fresh food, to canning the extras for meals during the non-growing season, canning your own food has now become as close to a necessity as it has ever been.
Reason # 7 – Gifts
Have you ever been in need of a last-minute hostess gift? Do you have a neighbor who has been ill and can’t cook? Are you wanting to fill your Christmas giving list with handmade items?
Then one of the most generous reasons you need to can your own food is to share it with others. Jams, jellies, salsas and spreads, when dressed up with a ribbon and gift tag, makes a quick and simple hostess gift most anyone would love to have.
If your neighbor came down with a cold or the flu, all you have to do is reach in the pantry for a jar of Homemade Chicken & Noodle Soup. Pour it in a pan, add noodles, and cook. Once it is finished, pour it into a thermos, add a few homemade muffins, and head straight to their door.
One of my favorite things to do at Christmas is to give gift baskets. Depending on the type of basket, it is usually filled with tools, supplies and equipment for the specific theme – baking, crafting, etc. But without fail, all of my gift baskets have at least one jar of home-canned goodness. It may be a jar of jam or jelly. For a pasta basket, I add a jar of spaghetti sauce.
No matter if all you are doing is offering a single jar wrapped with a pretty bow, or a basket of homemade bread accompanied by an assortment of jams and jellies, home canned items are the perfect gift for just about everyone!
What are Your Reasons to Can your Own Food?
These are just my top 7 reasons you need to can your own foods. But depending on the individual and the circumstances, you may be able to add one or many more reasons to your list. If yours differs from these, be sure to add them in the comments. You may just be giving us all more reasons to start canning!
Looking for More Posts on Canning?
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Ready for More Facets of Homemaking?
First – here are the posts ready for you to read. Next – be sure to stay tuned. There are more coming up!