Canning 101 by Jackie Clay

Canning 101
pickles, fruits, jams, jellies, etc.

By Jackie Clay


For some reason, (definitely unknown to me) canning, as a method of very long term food storage, fell into disuse. Maybe it’s the hurry/rush syndrome many folks have become addicted to, necessitating “instant” foods, microwave ovens, and mixes for everything from pancakes to casseroles. But for people of a self-reliant inclination—raising a good portion of their own wholesome, chemical-free food and establishing a storage method that is easy and results in tasty food, even years down the road—home canning is the way to go.

Check each jar after it cools with one finger, being sure it is tightly indented; if it is not, it is not sealed, and must be redone or eaten soon.  It needs refrigerating until then. Check each jar after it cools with one finger, being sure it is tightly indented; if it is not, it is not sealed, and must be redone or eaten soon. It needs refrigerating until then.

And remember, no power outage or mechanical failure will cause your pantry full of home canned food to go bad, as can happen with frozen food. This is the reason I do not freeze food now. I lost half a freezer full of food due to a two-week-long ice storm power outage. Besides, where food only stays good for a year, max, in the freezer, it stays great tasting for years on the pantry shelf neatly packaged in shining glass jars. I regard home canning as essential to self-reliance as any other facet of my lifestyle. Canning allows my family to eat chemical-free, delectable fruits, vegetables, nutmeats, pickles, preserves, jams, and jellies, as well as meats and fish, already cooked and tender, just waiting for a meal.

I can year-round, making up such things as chili, stews, dry beans, (like pintos for refried beans), spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce, smoked trout, elk stew, etc. Whatever the season, there’s always something special to can up for later meals. Nearly anything you can find on a store shelf can be canned easily at home. When I tell this to people, I’m usually met with the same blank stare and the questions: Isn’t home canning hard to do? Won’t eating home canned food give you food poisoning? Won’t the canner blow up? No. 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.

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