Posts Tagged Preserving food
Canning may be one of the most frugal things you can do for your family and your kitchen, but to be truly frugal in the kitchen is not only a matter of using strategies that save time and money, it is also about working smarter.
When we bring home fresh produce from the garden or the farmer’s market, it can be difficult to not feel a sense of eagerness. We imagine all the preserves, recipes and canned treasures we will be eating and want to get right to it. If you are new to canning, diving into a first project without a carefully laid out plan can get overwhelming fast; if you have been canning all your life, there is still a chance you might streamline your method and enjoy it all the more. Here are some basic things to consider for a truly frugal, safe and satisfying canning experience.
1- Even if you learned from your mother or grandmother, take the time to read the entire owner’s manual that came with your water bath canner, steam canner or your pressure canner. Their may be a slight variation in usage and safety rules that did not apply for the equipment they used in their own time.
2- Canning is canning; any method is good, right? Wrong. Make sure you use the correct canning method for the produce you are about to process. High and low acid foods require different canning methods. Make sure you understand which method to select. Better yet, follow a recipe from a good canning or preserving book. Remember, canning is not merely about preserving, it is about destroying micro-organisms in order to preserve.
3- Use fresh produce only. Canning preserves freshness, it does not restore it. This speaks for itself. On to number 4.
4- Avoid the “Glutton Syndrome.” Alright, I just made this up. What I mean is do not let grand plans and the sight of a mouth-watering harvest hinder your focus. Trying to process the entire garden in one day will exhaust you and fatigue leads to mistakes. This can also make canning seem like a chore, not the communion with nourishment that it is. A good trick to keep your project within a reasonable time-frame, so that you remain alert, is to work with only one canning method at a time (right there that singles out what you are going to process) and process no more than two items per day.
5- Have a plan. Before doing anything, read through the entire recipe, twice if you must. Keep it at hand once you begin and read as you go. Position your equipment and ingredients in your work area so that every action flows.
6- Use recipes from reliable sources. Unless they are detailed and leave absolutely no room for guess-work, do not use the scribbled “Best Pickles Ever” recipe from your uncle Denis. Sorry Uncle Denis, but canning requires precision.
Precision and rules do not hinder a process, they make it smoother. Happy and safe canning.