Canning and Freezing Garden Produce



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canning and freezing garden produce and vegetables 

Canning and Freezing Garden Produce
by Jill Cooper

We get quite a few questions this time of year about canning and freezing garden produce. This can be a great way to stretch your garden leftovers so you can be enjoying then long beyond the regular growing season. Since it is “harvest season”, I thought I’d share a little of my experience and give you suggestions to make it easier if you decide to try.

Unless you have a garden or receive free produce, canning your own can be more expensive than buying it at the store. I tried canning for years and between the sugar and spices, it cost me quite a bit. If I had to buy the fruit that I was going to can, it was even more expensive.

If you have your own gardens, you will probably have to do some canning and freezing if you want to make the most of your garden produce. Freezing is the best route to take when possible. You don’t need as many ingredients and it takes less time. When you have things ripening like crazy, time is important. Later, during the winter when it is cooler or you’re not so busy, take the fruit out of the freezer and make your jams or jellies.

Of course, you may want to can your veggies. Canning them doesn’t require as many expensive ingredients. Don’t forget, though, that when you are exhausted from canning or when you’re running out of time you can freeze many vegetables, too.

If you are short on freezer or cabinet space, you might consider dehydrating your produce. I love to dehydrate everything. You can dehydrate veggies. They work great in stews and soups.

You can dehydrate fruits and later eat them as-is or use them in trail mix, rehydrate them and use in muffins or breads and even use dehydrated apples in pies. You can make fruit roll ups by pureeing fruit and pouring on a special tray for your dehydrator. I saw apple chips advertised on TV for $25 for 3 Pringles-sized cans. Those are so easy to make and much cheaper with your dehydrator.

I canned for years. It was one homemaking skill I was glad I knew, but was very willing to give up. It was a lot of hard work during the hottest time of the year and then, if the least little thing went wrong, all those expensive ingredients and hard work were wasted.

I’m not saying don’t can. Try it! I think everyone should at least have that skill and knowledge under her belt. If you are going to have a garden and want to make the most of it, you will need to know that preserving the fruits of your labor will have to be a part of that. At the same time, don’t brow beat yourself if you find canning exhausting work and get discouraged over it.

It may be too late this year to do this but, if you can (no pun intended), it will help reduce the cost if you buy your canning supplies at garage sales or thrift stores. You might even post online or ask in the want ads if anyone wants to get rid of her canning supplies.

Another thing to note is that I didn’t always do things by the book. (Of course, for canning, you need to be careful that you always do the canning correctly for health reasons.) One time, I received several bushels of apples at one time. I had a baby, a toddler and a kitchen that was being remodeled at the same time that we were starting a new business in our home. I had my hands full and couldn’t get the entire bunch of apples done. I didn’t want them to go to waste so, in a desperate move, I took them all, put them in bags and just threw them in the freezer. I didn’t blanch them, core them or anything.

Later, when I went to use them, they worked great! I discovered that when I washed them (under warm water) the skins just fell off of them. I then cored and sliced them and they made beautiful apple butter and applesauce.

I can’t cover all the details about how to can and freeze all the different types of fruits and vegetables in this newsletter, but here are some links you can use to pick and choose the exact information that you need. The first two are about canning and freezing and the last one is on dehydrating.

      -Jill

Here are some links to places with great information about canning:

 

 

Comments

  1. marci357 says

    I bought a used dehydrator at a garage sale about 12 years ago for $10. It has been the best investment I ever made! I use it every year, several times a year. I recently picked up a 2nd dehydrator for $5 to speed things up a bit in the busy season :)

    My grandkids love to help make the dried fruits – and are very upset when Grammi runs out of dried apples!

    Your dehydrating link is great – I printed out the recipes and uses to add to my own cookbook. Thanks!

  2. marci357 says

    Tomatoes are another thing that freezes well whole. Place several in a brown paper bag and freeze whole. Take out one at a time as needed. Drop frozen into hot water so the skin cracks and is easy to peel. Not good for slicing, but good for soups and stews and sauces. They’ll last over a year in a freezer that way.

  3. Margaret says

    Bell peppers freeze beautifully and this cuts cooking time way down if you like stuffed bell peppers. Double-bag or triple-bag them or even freeze them in gallon jars, or the smell will get into everything. Since peppers are high in vitamins and hideously expensive in winter, this pays for itself fast.
    You can freeze tommy-toes or dead-ripe fresh tomatoes in ice trays and bag the cubes, for use in winter salads or on a plate of beans.

    My ex-mother-in-law, a great old gal, told me to take any free pear I could get. Old hard pears generally aren’t buggy, and if they are not grainy, they make a superb pear butter and pear preserves. And pear sauce is great for breakfast instead of pricey store applesauce.
    The old ladies used any jar they could get. Do not try this. If your jars turn into artillery and explode all over the kitchen, the cleanup will be pure hell.

  4. Jill Cooper says

    Margaret is right be sure to use the right jars and follow the proper methods for canning. That is why I gave you all the links because they could give you in more detail on what you need to do.
    Also I didn’t mention it but don’t forget to contact your county extensions if you have questions on canning you aren’t sure on too. They’re a great source. They are listed in the phone book under government and then under county.

    Jill

  5. says

    if you slice apples add a bit of cinnamon and bag them for the freezer. They come out soft and can be apple sauce when thawed.
    The freezing softens them. I never add sugar but you can.
    Or make an apple crisp or apple pie with them.
    Chunks remain for texture.
    The lady who mentioned the pears you can do the same with them.
    I also freeze peaches whole for pies and ice cream toppers.
    You can add almost any fruit you freeze into cakes and muffins. It is fast and easy as the peels are either so soft you don’t need to peel them or the peels come off easily with a cloth.
    I freeze cobs of corn just husk them and put them into a bag for later in the year.

  6. Bea says

    I’m so happy you have this info about freezing vegetables, etc. I honestly never thought of doing that. Dumb. I’m happy I know now though. Also, I wanted to ask if the older comments people put on here disappear. I like to read the comments, but I can’t find the older ones. It seems like only the newer ones stay under the articles. Please let me know, and thanks, Jill and Tawra, you are like friends to me.

    • says

      Yep, I love to freeze stuff!
      We are in the process of moving the posts from the old blog to keep the comments on the articles. If the article is older and doesn’t have any comments then that means there weren’t any on that article on the blog. We didn’t have a lot of people commenting on the old blog until about last year so on some of the older posts there may not be any or very few.

  7. Carol Cripps says

    Hi, Jill,

    My sister is the thriftiest person I know. She once caught a produce clerk removing a box of mixed apples and peaches for disposal. She paid $5.00 for the entire huge box. We spent an afternoon with her boys, peeling and slicing the fruit for freezing. It kept us in pies and crisps for the winter. If we’d been really clever, we’d have gone and picked some wild crabapples and added the apple peels to them and made jelly, but we were awful tired after all that work – it was past dark when we finished.

    Check out your grocery store frequently, and get to know your head produce clerk. If you speak to him nicely, you may get the same sort of deals. Then, in return for some physical effort (good for you anyway) you can have food in your freezer for very little money.

    Carol

  8. LaDonna says

    Canning does cost a little more with spices and things you need, but lets not forget the health benefits of growing and making your own. Too many recalls in grocery stores to feel safe anymore. It may be cheaper for a can of something in the store, but is it safe? You never know until you hear of the recalled items. I will pay more and do canning any day, a few dollars is not worth the health of my family.

    • says

      As far as getting sick, you can get sick just as easy at home from canning so this isn’t a concern for us. The United States has some of, if not the highest quality, and the most inexpensive food in the world so buying it from the store is the best and still a very safe option. There are always going to things that happen like that and we can’t let ourselves worry over it.

  9. susan says

    WOW the timming is right on this subject! I was at a local store yesterday (mom amd pop) small grocery store. they get all their produce in the summer fresh,anyway I stopped by yesterday to pick up some more squash and the man who works in the produce dept of this small store was going thru the tomatoes and he made a comment about still having a surplus of tomatoes and I looked at him and he said “you are such a good customer to us why don’t you take a bag of tomtaoes before they waste” I said thank you and felt so blessed because I got enough to use plus I was able to give my elderly neighbor some.
    God is so good!

  10. says

    I love that I won’t have to prep apples before freezing (actually I have never thought of freezing them before). But I do freeze vegetables from my garden. And years ago I tried to find out why one needed to blanch them but I never found a good answer, so now I just clean and freeze. Let me tell you the peas are BETTER than when you blanch them before freezing. They taste like they just came out of the garden. And I do this for all my garden veggies… harvest, wash, cut (if needed), and then into plastic freezer bags and into the freezer. Way less work, way better taste!

  11. says

    I own an Excalibur Dehydrator and I love it. Worth every dollar and I’m glad I got the one with 9 trays. I fill it to capacity often. With that said, I also have a water bath canner and a pressure canner. While I agree that these are more work, (and yes, hot work at the hottest time of year) there are times I’m grateful I have the option of canning – some things are better canned – and there are times the freezer is maxed out. Knowing your options and being comfortable with those options will help you save money. Good to know your options when a windfall of produce comes your way!

  12. Morning Dove says

    Another good idea for fruit, if you don’t have the money to invest into jars, is to make real fruit leather. It’s like fruit roll ups but without the corn syrup! My kids love it!

  13. says

    I like Mary Bell’s Complete Dehydrator Cookbook – much better than her newer book. Might keep an eye out for it at the used book sale.

  14. Christine Williams says

    Go to http://www.uga.edu/nchfp for the definitive guide to home canning, freezing and dehydrating. This is the USDA National Center for Home Food Preservation at the University of Georgia. You have to follow USDA guidelines if you enter ccanning ompetitions at County Fairs.

  15. Pati S. says

    I had to expound on this subject. One of the easiest things to can is soups, chilis or spaghetti sauce. I alway make a big batch of spaghetti sauce or green chili and while it’s hot I have my jars ready and put them up in canning jars (pour into the jar, wipe the rim, put on the lid and screw on the ring! Then just listen for the popping – music to my ears to hear them seal!) Later I have no mess open a jar and it tastes as fresh as the day I made it!

    • says

      That’s a GREAT idea!! We love green chili but it always seems to go back in the freezer because I forget it’s in there. I am going to have to try this! Thanks!

  16. Denise says

    I do more canning than freezing because I have lots of pantry space but only the little freezer above my fridge. I’ve thought about getting a larger freezer and maybe someday will. But we lose power a lot, so I’m not going to invest in a freezer until I have a generator. I also have two dehydrators, but mostly use for herbs. When I can get an Excalibur, I will do more dehydrating. Mine are just the cheapie kind and I got both at garage sales. I know Excalibur dehydrators must be good because I never see them at thrift stores or garage sales. When people don’t get rid of something, it means it is worth the price :-).

    Speaking of price, canning does require more of an initial outlay of cash. BUT, the jars are re-usable (freezer bags are disposable). I’ve gotten 90% of my canning supplies at garage sales and my pressure canner was a gift. Once your friends and family know you “can” — you might be surprised how many of them offer you boxes of jars. Make sure you know the price of new jars in your area before you buy them at thrift stores or garage sales. One of my local thrift store expects to get 99 cents for a quart jar and 50 cents for half-pints (when I can buy a dozen new for $7.99 and $5.99). Of course, at this same store on two different occasions I purchased unopened boxes of half-pints for $3 (the box was old, waterstained, torn, but the jars were fine).

    • says

      Denise, I until recently just had two of the cheaper kinds of dehydrators and I used it for a lot of the same things I do in my new one so you might try other things besides herbs too. Really the less expensive ones work fine too if you can’t afford an Excalibur.

      It is like comparing a $400 refrigerator to a $2000 one. Both keep you food cold and does a good job for that but if you want water in the door a certain finish then the cost go up but like I said they both keep the food cold.

  17. Jennifer says

    I enjoy this website but I was disappointed in this article and feel it will discourage people from canning food. I agree- 1. start-up can be expensive 2. some recipes add too many extra ingredients 3. purchased produce can be expensive. However, many have gardens or markets and there’s a lot of canning which will save you money in the end.

    I was given 21 lbs of carrots. I already had jars, and rings so a box of 12 lids cost me $1.79. This made the price $.14 + 1 teaspoon of salt per jar. You can not buy a can of carrots for $.14. Even if I purchased the carrots on sale (at an average sale price for my area) it would be only $.32 a jar.

    Also, the cost mentioned included the example of sugar for canning. If you freeze the peaches, do you add sugar when you use the fruit for pies or whatnot? Is it really just a seasonal expense? You are going to add sugar when you bake with them. Canning just requires you to add sugar all at once instead of a cup at a time.

    As for the sickness, you can get sick from home-canned foods but I won’t rely on the FDA to keep me safe. The most recent egg recall is proof positive. BPA in store bought canned foods? I don’t know but I am going to reduce the chance of exposure by home canning. Are the veggies sprayed heavily with pesticides? Chances are, why not produce my own and can the juice, paste, etc.

    Freezing is great but many of us have limited freezer space and canning is a valid cost cutting measure in many circumstances. Also, some can be put into a hot bath vs. pressure canning, which would be less expensive.

    • says

      The point of the article is to let people who have never canned before know that it is not always an inexpensive way to preserve food especially if you have to buy everything new up front. It is also very labor intensive and if you live in a hot climate like we do can not be worth the amount of work vs. savings.
      As I said before. You can get sick with home canned items and our food supply is one of the safest in the world so that is not a concern for us.

    • says

      Okay please let me repeat what I was trying to say. I did not say canning is a bad thing. I like canning as a matter of fact I had my canning recipes out this morning. If you read the article too I said it is better to can vegetables because it takes less expense ingredients (like the carrots).

      My point was two things; to give people other options then canning and to not assume canning is always cheaper. You need to figure all the costs of all of your ingredients before you start. When you have done that and it costs less to can then go ahead. But you have to include your time and energy into that too. For example I have known women who canned for 4 days in a row and each day they had to go out to eat or order a pizza because they were too tired from canning to cook dinner. Often they would do things like throw the clothes into the drying instead of hanging them on the line because they were to busy canning.

      You may not do any of the above but it all needs to be added in. There was a craze for awhile where everyone was on the band wagon to make homemade bread because it was cheaper. I was feeding my family on $15 a week so I had to make sure I knew where every penny went. I figured every thing up and a loaf of homemade bread at that time cost 3 times the amount as I could buy it for plus my family ate 4 times the amount of the homemade bread which added to the cost even more. I also had to factor in the fact that I was doing work at home to earn money. For that 30mins to an hour it took me to make bread I could have earned enough money doing parts to buy 15 loaves of bread.

      In the same way if you freeze things you need to add in such things as running the freeze each month. Figure it all up and find what works best for you. For me right now dehydrating is best for me for many things because it costs almost nothing but I also can’t dehydrate everything so that is a draw back.

      I’m just saying if canning is better for you then go for it but like other things it can have some draw backs. As far as health things go you can’t even factor that in because I don’t care what it is it can have a negative side to whether home canning or boughten.

  18. says

    A good tasty way to use the excess carrots you might have.
    Try making a carrot marmalade. You use only 2 oranges and 2 lemons and you get the orange colour from the carrots.
    Nobody really noticed that my marmalade was 90% carrots either by taste or appearance.

  19. Steve Case says

    Peaches can be frozen same as the whole apples. Friend selling peac hes last year had a box of blemished peaches he couldnt sell and gave them to us and told us about the freezing. With peaches instead of bagging first you put them on shelf of your freezer till they are frozen, and then bag them.

  20. GinnytheClown says

    What timing! I JUST finished pulling 12 half pints of tomato sauce out of the canner. The tomatoes came from my garden. Last week I put up another dozen jars of tomato sauce from a mixture of my tomatoes and my brother’s. Not hard work. But it is hot work. Temperatures were in the 100′s this week. Actually, 108 yesterday. Two weeks ago I was canning peaches–sliced peaches, peach halves and peach jam. There are plums on my counter as I speak. More fruit than time, these days. But, this is “harvest” season, and you must make hay while the sun shines, as the saying goes.

    Yes, it is satisfying to open the pantry and see all that you “put up.” Best part, the fruit and veggies are home-grown or received from family or friends who have produce, fruit trees, etc. I have a freezer full of black berries that will be jelly whenever I have the free time.

    The cost? Not much. The berries were free for the picking. The other produce (God certainly blesses me!) is either from my own garden or given to me. No cost there-or at least very little. I’ve had jars of all sizes for years, but I do have to supplement some. Since I give jars of jelly away, often those jars don’t come home to me. I tend to have to buy more jelly jars. But the rest are used over and over. People who know I can, save theirs for me. Some have quit doing their own canning and have blessed me with their cast-offs.

    I have to spend money on new lids, sugar, and pectin. A few friends and I went in together and bought 50 pounds of bulk pectin and split it. I still have a lot left. If you make LOTS of jams and jellies, that is the way to go. However, I did just recently find out that you can MAKE YOUR OWN PECTIN! Wow! Never knew that. But now that I do, I HAVE to try it. You need green/unripe apples for one type of pectin. I found another method using citrus rind. My brother always give me tons of citrus of all kinds. So this year I’ll try making pectin. In fact, even if I BOUGHT the citrus for other purposes, I could still make pectin, because it is made from the white pith that no one uses. If this works, my jellies and jams will be even less expensive.

    I also can other things. The Thanksgiving turkey carcass is boiled for hours, then the broth is run through a strainer into pint jars. Then the broth is pressure canned. Ta-Dah! “Free” turkey broth. My brother’s steer recently went to the butcher. We now have some bones. Some have already been utilized in soup making. Some are in the freezer. But I think that having “ready-made” broth would be convenient. So that will happen next month. Sometimes I make a large pot of split pea soup. Some is used right away, but most is canned in pint and quart jars under pressure for use as home-made “fast food” on days I don’t want to cook. I’ve canned my own pork & beans as well. Sometimes I try something new just to see if I can do it. How satisfying it is to know you can do things on your own!

    Give it a try, folks. See how much you can save!

  21. SHERRIE BYRD says

    Dear All,
    I know that canning may be more expensive, but at mid-life I am discovering that the way our nation is going, it might be a good idea to “can” for the future. Meaning that some products may become scarce during double-dip recessions (especially in heavily populated areas of the country) and our families will appreciate the canned items. Also, I have read that store bought canned tomatoes (for example) may be carriers of certain “molds” and “bacterias”. I had asthma as a child and am allergic to molds and TN. is notorious for that. Whose can say we aren’t what we eat? I can’t prove all of this as fact, but pray for wisdom every day. Stocking up on food items is always a good idea. Our great grandparents KNEW what they were doing! Thanks, Cheryl

    • says

      I’m not sure why the confusion but in this article I was not saying don’t can. As a matter of fact I think I even said that I think everyone needs to learn to can and I was meaning for times like when you may not be able to buy canned goods and things or you aren’t near stores. You should have a garden if you can and on and on so I feel everyone needs to learn to can.

      As far as everyone worrying about buying canned foods because they are not healthy the opposite is usually true. One of the reasons our grandparents etc. started buying canned goods years ago was because of health reasons. So many people were dying because home canners didn’t always do it right and their home canned things grew so many critters when canning where the canneries could heat at higher temperatures and seal them better.

      I am a history buff and I have always loved ways and things of the past but at the same time I realize there are many things about living in these times we should be more grateful for and one of those ways is good commercial canning methods. Have we forgotten that the life span of so many people a hundred years ago was way shorter then ours and one of the main causes was bad food and often it was home grown, organic, and home canned foods which had no preservatives in them. That was the whole reason preservatives started being used and many of my parents and my generation are having a longer life because of it.

      I had a friend once who was very into organic things and insisted she only drink milk fresh from a cow. She ended up in the hospital for 2 weeks and almost died because of that “healthy with nothing done to it” milk. There are two sides to everything so we really need to start looking at both sides very closely and not just jump on a bandwagon about things all the time because we hear something from the media.

      Now once again, read my lips. I am not saying we shouldn’t eat organic, grow our own food or can. I believe we all need to learn to do that and any of you who know me know I write that all the time but I am saying don’t say to do it because it won’t make you sick like boughten can goods will because that is not true. One of the reasons people got away from home canning is because the opposite was true and they had known people who had died from home canning.

      I am sick and so are many others on our site. The point of the article was to show those of us who don’t have the strength to can that there are other ways to preserve your food and not to be made to feel like a failure because they aren’t slaving away at the stove for hours canning food for their families.

  22. Christina says

    I liked the article on canning. One suggestion to people is canning doesn’t have to be all or nothing. My husband loves pickles and I loved pickled beets. We bought the ingredients during the season at reduced prices and then made enough jars for the year. Pickled beets had risen in price and were hard to find so I saved a bundle doing them myself. We also have tried salsa but found it more cost effective to buy it. We still can it occasionally because the taste is so much fresher. If your life is busy already just focus on canning or freezing the top foods you enjoy.

    • says

      Oh Christina I love you. You really got the point of what I was trying to say so thank you thank you. I should have let you write the article you said it so well. As a matter of fact I am getting ready to can some pickles today because we were given mounds of cukes and Tawra loves pickles (she has since she was a little baby) so it looks like I will be getting myself into a “pickle” today as if I already haven’t. : ) : )

  23. Pat says

    I never knew till I read this that I didn’t have to blanch everything I froze ( except berries I never blanched them.) What a treat. This year I have loads of corn and I was dreading all the work. I will try the recipe taking the corn off the cob as you have it written on your site, but will also bag some for the freezer still on the cob. I heard from a neighbour to leave the husks on ( I’d like to clean them and trim them so the freezer will hold more) can you take the husks off and still freeze them? We run 2 freezers We grow a lot of our veggies and hubby hunts, so I keep them full. One freezer for meats and baked goods and one for fruit and veggies. I also do stock and put it in Jars in the freezer. It’s great having free stock to use when stock is called for. Also I wait till winter to make my jams and jellies, Use the heat to help heat the house, and by then there is more room in my pantry for the fresh jars.
    Years ago I had a friend that made huge amounts of stew, spagetti and meat sauce, and home made pork and beans. She always canned these later in the evening after supper. All the leftover was jarred in quart jars. Soups too. Then come summer and camping holidays, her cooking was ready to go, Heat and eat! Oh, I live in a temperate zone so summer tempuratures are hot usually 80′S to 90′s but seldom ever a 100 yet I don’t like the heat in the summer either.

  24. says

    a tip on the corn.
    if you find it is not as flavourful as when fresh add a teaspoon or so of sugar. makes it sweet and doesn’t dehydrate it the way salt does.
    Salt is a no no in cooking corn.

  25. Vicki says

    I moved from Southern California to Ohio last October. I’ve had small gardens before, but this is my first “more than you can take to the table” year. I love it, but I can’t give it away, as everyone else has their own gardens. Knowing how much I will miss our fresh veggies this Fall & Winter, it has been a joy to discover canning. Cost was not my issue – most ingredients came from my garden, with few inexpensive additions. The initial canning equipment was as I saw it, an investment, and relatively minor. I am not trying to can everything I’ll need for the winter – just what I have and what I have time to do. I’m looking forward to the taste the most – not nearly as focussed on money savings or safety. $ will probably be about the same this year, because of the new equipment, but taste – yum, yum. I’ll be pleased to have a taste of summer later. Freezing is also awesome! I have 2 apple trees and 1 peach. Much of the fruit is being frozen before prep, although some pies, applesauce, and applebutter are done. Again – using the time and freezer space I have available to me.
    About the blanching before freezing veggies – I read that it was to kill enzymes that are not harmful, but do rob the flavor, if frozen longer than 6 months. So, I’ve been blanching some, to keep longer…

  26. Ann says

    I know if you have to buy everything, canning might not be the cheapest route. BUT, you are learning a skill, so a little extra $$ in learning it isn’t a bad idea. Then when you come across that great deal, you will have a little experience in canning and some confidence. You can also learn to can quick meals, soups and meal starters. Also, it costs money to run a freezer and there is only so much room in them. Mine is always full! Also when the power goes out, you don’t loose all your food. You can also throw a meal together fast since you don’t have to defrost it if it is canned. Canning saves me lots of time and money. I am also able to make jams that do not have the high fructose corn syrup in them. There is no comparison between the store junk and my homemade stuff. Mine tastes better!!

  27. Ann says

    Also, you do not have to buy new lids all the time. There is a BPA free reusable canning lids available that can be used for years and years. they have been reviewed online with positive results. they can be found at http://www.reusablecanninglids.com/
    they are called Tattler canning lids. Thought I would pass this tip on! God Bless, ann

  28. says

    I was recently the winner of the “Dining of a Dime” cookbook. Wow!!! It has some great recipes in it. I made the Maidrites and divided the finished product into 12 bags and froze them I am using them as Maidrites in sandwiches, in Tatortot casseroles, on Pizzas, over spaghetti noodles, and on and on. It is a wonderful recipe and has been a great base for many dishes. Thanks!! Blessings and Hugs! Judy :o)

  29. ChristyM says

    Thanks for the balanced article. As far as the suggestion for “canning” soups, sauces etc. . . . what is described (maybe not what was INTENDED) is called open kettle canning which is an older method. It can be used for jellies and jams, some folks will use it for applesauce or cooked fruit and it won’t kill you. BUT open kettle canning something like a soup or spaghetti sauce can result in some pretty nasty stuff if you store it on the shelf like a canned good. If you are doing it for freezing or storing in the fridge for a few weeks, that’s one thing but the filled jars really need to be processed in the pressure canner for long term storage.

  30. Michelle says

    I can, freeze, dry, and use a cool part of my basement to store food. It does cost some money to can, at the same time when my 6 month old freezer from Sears died and my husband found out at 11:30 pm…we were able to move the meat into our other freezers and I took the fruit that was rapidly thawing and made enough jam and jellys for the next year. We lost nothing…and the fruit alone was worth a descent amount. Now, we do grow a huge garden and I buy almost no veggies…and this year have kept a record of our harvest…I have over a thousand dollars put up from our garden (not counting what is still coming). Yes, there is work involved, but the food is good, it is organic, and I am proud to serve it to my family. I have no even bothered to include what we have been eating fresh…so be willing to learn some new skills, you may love it. I have been canning for years, have found great recipes, and plan to continue. Oh, and have just heard of the reusable canning lids…yeah! No BPA! Ordered some last night.

  31. Benita says

    I have an 8-10 gal pressure canner that was given to me about 30 years ago. I have never used it and don’t have a manual. It is big, has an interlocking lid and a gasket and the little gauge that goes on the top. I am not sure how to use it and if it is safe. Anybody have any input on using it?

  32. says

    I envy you all your canning and freezing.
    Where I am it is too short a growing season to be worth the bother of a big garden.
    This year I had 2 tomatoes on one plant the tiny tims are loaded but not even trying to turn pink let alone red yet.
    My row of green beans produced 5 beans.
    Parsley about 10 plants are about 2 inches high.
    spinach never came up.
    lots of the herbs did well.
    and my crab apple tree is loaded.
    My globe asters that I didn’t know what they looked like are beautiful but I will have to move them next year to a place with a fence behind them so they stand a bit straighter.
    I grew up in southern ontario the fruit basket of north america so I sure do miss making pickles, relish, canning what ever fruit when it came time.
    Took a lot of work but it was fun to help my mom.
    reading here brings back memories of good times with my mom and sisters.
    thanks.

    • says

      Isn’t it crazy grandma but the best part I loved about canning was at the end seeing all of those lovely rows of different colored and shapes of jars full of the fruit of my labor (literally).

  33. ChristyM says

    Benita, is your canner really “heavy” for its size and has wooden handles? If so, you probably have a National #7 which was the most common type of canner for many years. The manufacturer’s name should be on it somewhere. That’s where to start for getting a manual. A few brands, such as Maid of Honor, were manufactured for specific retailers like Sears, but the manual is available SOMEWHERE. Most of the times and techniques for the pressure canner will still be valid but you’ll need to make sure you have up to date materials such as the Ball Blue Book. Contact the local county cooperative extension to find out where to test the canner. If you are really stymied, contact Tawra privately and she can forward your email on to me and I can see what I can do for you.

  34. Carol Cripps says

    Grandma,

    Lots of people don’t know that the fruit from ornamental, or “flowering” crabapple trees makes a truly wonderful jelly. One year, we had so much fruit on the tree in the back garden that my dad had to cut some of the branches before they broke. We canned jelly evey night for fifteen days straight, and it was all gone before Christmas.

  35. Katie says

    Question: Is it absolutely necessary to have a pressure-cooker for canning? Or will a pot of boiling water be good, as long as the sealed jars are completely submerged?

    I also have a dehydrator. But I’m having a hard time dehydrating banana slices. They come out chewy instead of crunchy.

    Freezing works very well. Fruits such as lemons and oranges can be juiced, and the juice frozen in ice-cube trays. Soups and stews can be saved in individual-serving containers.

  36. Shirley says

    Katie: In answer to your question about the necessity of using a pressure canner, the Ball website has this information: “Water Bath Canning – Method for preserving tomatoes, salsa, jellies, jams, fruits (whole, sauces, chutneys, pie filling, etc.) and other high-acid foods. Pressure Canning – Method for preserving meats, poultry, vegetables, chili, fish and other low-acid foods.”
    The website canning-food-recipes.com explains why this is so critical: “A microorganism called Clostridium botulinum is the main reason why pressure processing is necessary. Though the bacterial cells are killed at boiling temperatures, they can form spores that can withstand these temperatures. The spores grow well in low acid foods, in the absence of air, such as in canned low acidic foods like meats and vegetables. When the spores begin to grow, they produce the deadly botulinum toxins(poisons).”
    Where I live, a lot of people can fish and it’s always pressure canned for safety.
    Hope this helps!

  37. Katie says

    Botulinium? My mom once canned some clams, salmon, and such. I asked her about the pressure cooker, and she says she never had one. Don’t know how she canned without it.

    Have two bags of cranberries (a Treasure Box find–www.thetreasurebox.org for the interested). Will dehydrate them to make room in the freezer.

  38. Shirley says

    I hope I was able to address your question about the importance of pressure canning in certain instances. Botulism can be fatal, so it’s not something I’d want to take a chance on giving to my family – or anyone else. Your local Cooperative Extension Service will have someone on their staff who can address this with more authority than I, plus they will test the calibration on your pressure canner to make sure it’s working properly. They’re a great resource for anything related to food preservation.

  39. says

    Don’t forget that if you have an electrical outlet outside you can plug a suface unit up (can be bought at most hardware stores) and placed on a picnic table and canning can be done outside. Also, you can dig a firepit if you are not in a fire restricted zone. I have used my crock pot for canning. Place a kitchen towel in the bottom of the crock pot. Put your vegeies to be canned ( mine will only hold pints) in the crock pot and run on high all night long (again outside if you have an outlet). I have been doing greenbeans like this for years and never had the first problem. Good canning girls and God Bless. Pat

  40. Grammy says

    Can anyone tell me if I can home grown green beans that have been blanched and frozen. My garden did not produce them in abundance so I had to freeze them until I had enough to can. Possible?

  41. says

    I don’t have a pressure canner, so I stick to the high acid/vinegar and/or high sugar items, like jams, jellies, pickles, relishes, salsa and chutneys. I freeze most of what I preserve for winter, easier and I’m less likely to lose a family member.

  42. says

    silly question here.
    I have lots of onions and I was wondering if I could cut them up like you do chives and keep them in the freezer to use.
    I love green onions and use the tops in almost everything while fresh so it would be nice if I could keep them in the freezer for the winter when green onions are through the roof in price. Wouldn’t mind the price but they are so tiny they don’t even look like green onions so hate to buy them.
    so yes can I freeze for dry the tops?

    • says

      Yes Grandma you can freeze them just like you do your chives. If you can put them in portion size bags that you will be using them.

  43. Melanie says

    Years ago I finally taught myself to can with the help of a dear friend at church. The following year I hurt my back and couldn’t can my tomatoes due to them all ripening at the same time and my back couldn’t handle it. So I did some research online and found freezing the answer for me! I LOVE the link Pick Your Own as it comes with step by step instructions with pictures. Since I’m a “visual learner” that was right up my alley!

  44. Maggie says

    Every September I buy a 1/2 bushel of green beans from my local farmers’ market. I used to work at one of the stands a few years ago so those fellows give me a really good deal. I spend all day Sunday cutting them up and blanching them and putting them in the freezer. I use them all winter and they are wonderful. A little bacon grease or ham pieces gives them a good flavor. Last year I froze 6 gal bags and about a dozen quart bags. I used to snap the stems by hand but someone told me just to cut them with a knife. I saved so much time, that is the only way I do them now. It’s good to know I don’t have to blanch them. I’m going to freeze them both ways this year and see which I like best. I also freeze tomatoes. I skin them first and then but 5 or 6 in a large zip bag so they are easy to get out. I purchased some freezer boxes this year so will use those instead of the bags. I think this was save me money year over year. It’s a lot of work but the flavor of fresh is worth it. Thanks for all the tips. I’ve never been brave enough to can because a family friend had a canner blow up and severely damaged her face so I’ll continue to freeze my produce. Not sure if it was operator error or the canner was bad. I remember summers when my mom and grandmom and my sisters and I would go pick peaches (love that itchy fuzz) and then come home and freeze them with pectin and sugar. Those were the best peaches I ever had. Nothing like fresh peaches and vanilla ice cream in January.

  45. says

    I bought a bunch of green tomatoes to make green pickle relish.
    Don’t have enough so was wondering if I can get them ready to mix with the other stuff but freeze them until I get some more.

      • says

        thanks for that wonderful news. I am bushed in the past 4 months I have made about 30 small jars of rhubarb jam, and 10 jars of rhubarb jam with crab apples. Left the skin on the apples and it made the jam not so nice so used my stick blender on it. Now it is a nice sauce for pork or chicken or a dipping sauce for ribs and chicken strips. Nice solution for a mistake.
        In the past 3 weeks I have 15 med. size jars of beet pickles and 20 med. jars of sweet mixed pickles and about 6 jars of dill pickles.
        finished the pickles today and was going to take a break for a day or so until I get back to the farmers for more pickle makings but went outside today and was going to neaten the rhubarb patch. Well did I get a surprise. Enough rhubarb still tasty to make another big pot of stewed rhubarb. So much for my day off.
        Hard work with the rotatar cuff deterioration in both arms. Can;t lift much so Don keeps taking the jars to the basement for me.
        Love seeing the jars on the counter as I get them done though.
        relish later rhubarb today.

  46. says

    found this recipe which I think would make a nice addition to a gift basket or 2 at christmas.
    can anyone tell me if I could process this in a hot water bath so it won’t go bad?

    Cranberry Chutney Two

    1 c Granny Smith apple, chopped
    1 c Raisins
    1 c Onion, chopped
    1 c Sugar
    1 c White vinegar
    3/4 c Celery, chopped
    2 ts Cinnamon, ground
    1/4 ts Clove, ground
    12 oz Cranberries, fresh or frozen

    Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, 30 minutes or until slightly thick, stirring occasionally. Serve with turkey, chicken, roast pork,m or ham. Yeild 4 cups (serving size: 1/4 cup) Refridgerate remaining chutney.

  47. says

    I thought it sounded good not expensive to make and no citrus.
    found a page with all sorts of chutney’s banana even but none of them say if I can preserve them if I make up a fair amount.
    I bought 12 small small canning jars and thought the chutney would fit nicely in with some ideas I have for food baskets.
    guess I will try a couple and see if they last.
    oh yes here is the site if you don’t mind me posting it.
    http://www.melborponsti.com/inxcty.html
    thought others might like to try something different for flavours.

  48. says

    this is one I am definetly going to try. lots of tomatoes on my plants but none ripe. will wait another week or two to see if they ripen but nights are getting cold so can’t wait too long.
    apples should soon be a decent price and this one will make nice gift basket additions.
    tried a green tomatoe relish and Don love it. So the chutney might be a hit.

    Apple and Green Tomato Chutney

    12 Tart green apples
    24 sm Green tomatoes
    4 md Onions
    3 c Seedless raisins (1 pound)
    4 c Cider vinegar
    2 1/2 c Brown sugar (tightly packed)
    2 tb Salt
    1/2 ts Crushed, dried chilies
    1 1/2 tb Curry powder
    3 tb Mixed pickling spices

    Wash, core and chop the apples; wash, blanch, peel and chop the apples and chop the onions. Place apples, tomatoes and onions in a preserving kettle and add raisins, vinegar, sugar, salt, red pepper and curry powder. Put the pickling spices in a cheesecloth bag and add to the kettle. Boil, stirring occasionally, for 25 minutes, or until apples are transparent.

    Remove fruit with a slotted spoon. Boil syrup rapidly until it thickens.

    Discard pickling spices, return the fruit to the syrup and bring to a boil.

    Remove from the heat and ladle into hot, sterilized jars and seal immediately. Process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes. This recipe makes approximately 24 half-pints.

  49. moni says

    Hi Grandma,
    Working on my pickles and relishes as well. Out here in B.C.(Canada) everything is at peak right now. Lots of work but opening them up in winter makes it all worthwhile.
    Anyway, your chutney should be good in water bath canner. There appears to be good amt of vinegar and sugar. I would treat like a relish,approx 15 mins per pint or 1/2 pints.
    Hope that helps, happy canning.

  50. Margaret Swartz says

    I bought for $59.99 a new 5 tray Nestco dehydrator able to add up to 14 total trays if you want last year and love filling it in the evening and remover all in the morning. I did up to 1000 pieces of tomatoes a night of cherry and normal sized pieces and made sunless dried tomatoes with them. (search that info on the internet) Had so many to make my own pizza on sub rolls just put my pepperoni all around to keep the edges from any burning after all the cheese and topping are added. Best thing saving that cost every week from what I grew. Loved that all winter too as well as I got to make mine from the yellow/orange tomatoes with less acid I need!

    On another say they had potatoes for $.99 for 5 lbs on sale no limit so I peeled them and cooked them then when cooled I grated them in the biggest size on the grater onto the dehydrator sheet covered trays and save those in 1/2 gal. ball jars that I seal the top again and again by Foodsaver to add to soup or make my own mashed potatoes again after cooking in water. (Potatoes have to be cooked I found so they don’t burn in the dehydrator). I really liked using them up before they grew sprouts because I had bought so many bags!

  51. Gina says

    Great blog. We can and freeze at home but I much prefer freezing. It is really quick and everything tastes great when it is thawed. As far as freezer bags being disposable, you can rinse them out and reuse as long as they are not torn or damaged so the cost is minimal. Love reading your articles and your ebooks are great.

  52. Mary Jane says

    Typically, blanching veggies before freezing them serves the purpose of halting some kind of enzyme action in the break down of the fresh veg, and helps to preserve colour and texture when the veg is thawed and served later. Some people have frozen veggies without blanching (and quick cooling) and claim to notice no difference. My family and myself prefer to have the veggies blanched before freezing, as the texture seems a bit rubbery, and the flavour a bit bitter for some things otherwise. Years ago, before people had pressure canners for veggies, soups, meats, and corn, they would cook the food item in a submersed water bath (covered) for literally hours on end. Corn alone, took about three hours at a full boil. This method often worked, BUT IS NOT RECOMMENDED because it often resulted in botulism or food poisoning. Always use a pressure canner for anything that isn’t a fruit, true pickle, or plain tomato product. If you add veggies to your tomatoes, they need to be pressure canned. Besides, the quality of a food boiled for hours is questionable. This was all done over a hot woodstove in summer as well; gives us something to think about. Hope this helps to answer a couple of questions that some ladies have asked. Concerning the issue of store bought canned goods over home canned…as the intent of the posted article said, do what works for you. An interesting story from our family illustrates this. My sister lives thousands of miles from me, and has a very different lifestyle. We both are frugal, and we talk every week. One year at Christmas, my grown daughter was home and was talking to her Aunt about making pumpkin pies. They both came away from that phone call amazed and full of laughter. My daughter was using my home-processed, home-canned pumpkin. My sister didn’t know you could can pumpkin at home. Likewise, my thirty year old daughter didn’t know that you could buy pre-seasoned pumpkin pie filling in a can from the store. It has been the running family joke ever since.

  53. hixinthestix says

    I do a lot of gardening and canning but my favorite thing now is dehydrating. I have a lot of rhubarb and found a great way to dry and use it. Cut rhubarb into uniform pieces and toss with sugar. Place on dehydrator trays and dry till leathery. These can be used in place of dried cranberries in recipes or trail mix. Taste great, last a long time, and take up no room to store.

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