September…it is that time of year. It is the time of year when gardens are (hopefully) yielding a bountiful harvest. It is the time of year when local farmers’ markets are buzzing with of all kinds of fresh fruits and vegetables. It is also the time of year when you see end caps in stores piled high with glass jars, lids, and other canning goodies. Yep, September is a prime month for canning.
Do you can?
There are many skills which are associated with “old-timers.” Canning is one of them. Since modern-day society has provided us with super-sized grocery stores, fast food, and instant gratification, many people just don’t see the need for this skill anymore. But they are wrong. When you look closer, canning is as just as relevant today as it was generations ago…perhaps more so. If you have canned food before, then you are already aware of its many benefits. If you haven’t, I would suggest you learn this valuable preparedness skill.
So why should you learn canning?
- Canning your own food ensures you are selecting the quality of food you desire for you and your family. Do you want the freshest ingredients? Are you concerned about choosing organic? How about making sure your food is non-GMO? Are you concerned about whatever unpronounceable preservatives are typically found in processed foods? If you can for yourself, you have control over the whole process.
- Canning your own food is very economical when done in season. It is a great way to take advantage of the seasonal sales of fresh fruits and vegetables. Don’t believe me? Next time you go to the store, note the price of jams or jellies…then remember that you could have made several jars of homemade jam for about the price of one or two store-bought ones.
- Canning will help preserve a bountiful garden harvest. Do you have more squash this season than you could possibly eat now? How about the fruit overflowing on your trees? Canning is one way you can save some of your hard-earned crops or garden yields for later.
- Canning your own food will help to avoid unhealthy BPA-lined tin cans. Much of the food canned commercially these days is packed into metal cans with chemical liners which are designed to help prevent rusting. These liners frequently contain the chemical bisphenol-A (BPA.) The problem with this chemical is that it leeches into the food, and when ingested, it functions similarly to the hormone estrogen in the body. Studies have suggested that it may be linked to increased risks for obesity, type-2 diabetes, and breast cancer. BPA also presents some troubling concerns for pregnant women, children, and babies. In fact, the inclusion of BPA has been banned from sippy cups and baby bottles for this reason. There are foods available which are packed into non-BPA cans, but they are often at a higher cost. Another healthier option is to choose foods packed into glass jars. If you can the food yourself, it also makes the option more economical. In addition, reusable glass jars are also more environmentally friendly.
- Canning is a vital self-sufficiency skill. For me, this is the most important reason. It is a time-honored method of food storage and preservation. It helps to make sure you have enough food around during the winters and hard times by preparing in times of plenty.
If you are overwhelmed by the idea of canning, or you are unsure of how to start, there are plenty of resources out there to make things seem easier. First of all, it’s not as hard or as complicated as it initially seems. I’ll admit, I am new to canning, and I remember myself feeling hesitant at the thought of how difficult it seemed, but once I tried it, I realized it wasn’t hard to do after all.
Here are some good websites about canning with good “how to get started” information:
Remember, what and how we will prepare now, will benefit us later…