Canning Stories: Why Do You Can? What Do You Can? We Want To Hear Your Firsthand Reports

| 2/8/2012 10:35:01 AM

Tags: canning, food preservation,

Canning FruitWe're working on an article about canning for the June/July issue of MOTHER EARTH NEWS, and are especially keen to inspire folks who have never canned before to give it a try. If you're a canner, we would love to hear your firsthand stories about why you bother with it. We'd also love to get your feedback on any of the following questions: 

Why do you can food?

Do you can only homegrown produce or do you shop the farmers markets and grocery stores for canning ingredients?

What is your favorite canning recipe?

What home-canned food can you not live without?

Do you participate in any community canning events or gatherings? If so, how do they work?

9/26/2014 11:48:40 AM

dortha clayton
1/26/2013 11:10:26 PM

I am 68 years old and am still using the Burpee Aristocrat Cooker that my mother got when I was three weeks old. It has never had any repairsor replacements, even though it does leak a little steam. I often wonder just how many jars of food has been canned in my cooker. Mom always had a big garden, as there were nine kids in our family, so it has to be in the thousands, if not tens of thousands in the 68 years. When I was a child of sharecroppers, the houses didn't have pantrys, so under all our beds were stored box after box of canned goods.Once in a while, some of the boxes had an empty slot where my brothers had sneaked a jar of something they likes most, such as peaches. I love all the memories of my mother preserving fruits, vegetables and meats that she and dad raised for our family.

lynn nelson
12/19/2012 11:09:18 PM

I have been canning for 45 years. I learned watching my Grandmother. The first solo canning I did was out of necessity. My husband and I were in college on a very tight budget. I noticed that there were windfall apples in the field near us so I gathered them and made applesauce and apple butter. My Grandmother told me to go to the County extention agent for recipies and free canning information.That is still wonderful advice. The information isn't always free anymore but it is very inexpensive. Canning is work but it is very satisfying. Unlike housework when the day is over you have rows of beautiful jewels in jars that you know you can pull out in the middle of winter and have a taste of summer. I do about 30 pts. of beens from my garden each year but most of my canning fruit comes from orchards and farmers stands. Some times I'm able to get bartlet pears from the grocery store. I can 100 qts. of peaches 100 qts. of pears and 100 qts. of applesauce each year plus tomatoes, beans, grape juice, and various jams and cranberry sauce. My favorite canning memory was my daughter in law calling one night asking how to can peaches. My son had been raving about my peaches for years and she finally tryed some and was instantly converted. She's been canning every sence. I can't tell you whether I save money or not. I imagine I do but I decided years ago that price didn't matter. I'm feeding my family the best quality food available without dyes or preservatives and it tastes so much better then anything you can find in the store.

michele leverone
3/14/2012 8:54:53 PM

Any low acid foods like those used in stews will have to be done in a pressure canner and the timing will depend on which ingredient will take the longest to can. I use the Ball Blue Book for recipes and timing. It is so nice to pull homemade stew or soup from the cupboard on a cold evening and heat & eat for dinner. You will always know what is in it too.

brigitta modglin adkins
3/14/2012 7:30:33 PM

Why do you can food? *** To save money, have healthy produce year round that I know where it came from and how it was raised Do you can only homegrown produce or do you shop the farmers markets and grocery stores for canning ingredients?*** both! We get a CSA every year and occasionally can some of the items I pick up at the farmer's markets. We have a garden and can much of it. Also, we get fruit by the bushel and can/freeze it (we give jam/jelly baskets as gifts for Christmas each year) What is your favorite canning recipe?***Don't have 1- depends on what I'm in the mood for. What home-canned food can you not live without?***peaches! applesauce, peach butter, green beans Do you participate in any community canning events or gatherings? If so, how do they work?***No, but I have several local friends asking for "lessons"! What is your favorite canning memory?*** the all day Saturday's that we'd have when I was a kid where there were 3 generations in the kitchen making jam/jelly- that's where I learned to make pectin free stuff by knowing the "ribbon point". What is your favorite canning cookbook or website? *** Ball Blue Book, Preserving The Fruits of the Earth How much money would you estimate that you save by canning food?*** likely several hundred between the canning, dehydrating and the freezing.

cat lyddon
2/25/2012 2:28:24 PM

I have wanted to try canning for ages, but would like to be able to preserve things like homemade soups. It seems like any compound product is problematic to can. Anyone canning complete items like stews etc? is it possible to get a good product this way.

ann philbeck
2/24/2012 10:47:31 PM

I love to preserve by canning tomatoes, crushed, stewed with peppers and onions from my garden. I make salsas, pizza sauce, taco sauce, and pickled jalepenos, dill and sweet pickles, soups, Apple pie filling and just sliced apples. We have a 50 foot greenhouse, 1 acre of vegetable garden, and I have two raised beds with storm doors (we put hinges and a handle on it) and I grow 4 different kinds of lettuce and lots of fresh spinach. So I grow a lot of vegetables, and can a lot. I also make mock cinnamon apples with cucumbers. And best of all, I have so much fun doing it.

susan black
2/21/2012 8:10:02 PM

A trip to our local farmers market is better than taking a vacation for me. The sights, sounds, colors and textures that permeate the early morning market atmosphere fill up my senses and carry me through an entire day. Working with the herbs and vegetables I bring home with me extends this sensory experience throughout my day. I can fresh produce because I can control the amounts of salt and preservatives that go into my family's food, which makes me feel good. However the real reason I can is because of the sense of accomplishment I feel as I watch my shelves fill up with food that I know is not only healthy and safe, but which is as nourishing to my senses as it is to my body. For me, canning is opportunity to express myself creatively (and that makes me smile)!

bob chavez
2/21/2012 5:51:49 AM

My wife and moved to our country home in January 2011 and one of the things we anticipated the most was our own garden. And knowing the garden would produce much more than we could eat at the time of harvest, we decided to can. We turned to her mother for guidance, leaning on her decades of experience and was it ever worth it! We found tomatoes are our favorite to can because there is no can of tomatoes on a store shelf that can compare to the taste we discovered of our own. It's hard to say yet how much money we've saved by canning but between that and the vegetables we've frozen, it's a considerable sum. It's hard work, but when I see each portion we've frozen or canned, I realized that's one less meal we have to spend money on for that particular food item. It's an incredible feeling of pride, accomplishment and living.

dale rodgers
2/20/2012 3:16:03 AM

I can food because I like to save what I've grown and cannot use at the time of harvest. There's nothing like opening a jar of tomatoes in the middle of winter (although in the northeast this year there hasn't been a winter) and not only smell the tomatoes, but also smelling the garden itself. Some folks have said to me that it's a lot of work to can. Yes, it may be more work than going to the grocery store but, when I open that jar I not only what's in it but, maybe more importantly, what's not in it. Last year was a poor tomato harvest for me. As a result we bought a box of tomatoes from a local grower so I could make what I needed to can. My favorite recipe is for Chili Sauce, although there is no chili in it. It's used as a condiment, such as hot dogs, hamburger or, my favorite, sausage. The recipe is from my mother, who got it from her mother. Who knows how far back it goes (I'm 64.) Probably the most important would be the pulp tomatoes, which I can use for many things, such as pasta sauce, soups, etc. I suppose my best memory is when I first got married and we canned our first tomatoes together. My wife, in a previous marriage, got rid of all her canning jars as her husband was not interested in it. But, it's something we enjoy doing together, and then reap the rewards of it later on. The 2nd best would be the spiced pears my mother made (from a Bartlett pear tree she had in the front yard). I once opened a 12-year-old jar that was still good and tasted great. For reference I use 'Putting Food By' and the Ball canning book. I've never really calculated how much we save through canning. It has more to do with the joy of gardening and having the produce later on, and enjoying it again.

kensey elder
2/17/2012 7:54:29 PM

My husband and I began canning food about 5 years ago. We planted about a half acre garden, pretty much first timers on the gardening and canning at that time, we had more beans, tomatoes, cucumbers and peas than we knew what to do with a fast! We were not going to waste it, so I talked to my mother and got her old Presto canner and cans, her ball book and we had business!!  We canned and canned and canned that year, and still do. What is so neat, is we do it together! It is so much fun, it’s a lot of time we spend side by side each other and just talk and can! Plus, we love eating what we can! We can mostly what we grow but have purchased a few things from the farmer’s market and we swap out with friends for things they have and we don’t. My favorite thing to can – believe it or not – are PEANUTS! Yep – right now we are feasting on canned boiled pnuts and it is winter – they taste so fresh! My friend Suzie got me started because her granddad is a peanut farmer. She and I did my first batch and I love it – its simple – use only good peanuts, wash very well, boil for 5 minutes, place peanuts in hot jars, fill with hot water and a teaspoon of salt, process for 50 minutes under 11 pounds pressure. They are ready to eat as soon as you get them out or a year or two later! I believe the canned food I could not live without is probably green beans! We don’t have any community canning events, but I get with friends and we learn from eachother! My favorite canning memory is all of them – each time there are conversations and memories shared – its wonderful! It is something I want to pass on to my kids! I use the Ball cookbook the most. I am not sure how much money I save, but it is a lot. We love to can!!!

carol arvidson
2/17/2012 7:30:48 PM

My husband and I have a one acre garden and we can, freeze or dehydrate most everything we grow. We grow over a hundred varieties of vegetables and herbs and over 20 different varieties of fruits. Spending time in the garden and the preservation of the harvest are some of the most rewarding moments of my lifetime. I can much of our food because it saves us in the neighborhood of $75 per month on our food bill and because I don't have to worry about what's in the products I produce in my own kitchen. I used to buy mostly organic canned goods at our local co-op, so the savings for me growing my own produce and fruit is really tremendous. Only homegrown produce, or sometimes fruit that we trade with friends for fruit we do not have, is canned in our kitchen. I have so many favorite recipes, but three of the best are a thick chunky spaghetti sauce, a pickle recipe that tastes like a cross between a dill pickle and a mild bread and butter pickle and an apricot sauce that we use for everything from toast to pancakes to desserts. My favorite book is "The Complete Guide to Small-Batch Preserving" because I like to use the results of our garden work as gifts throughout the year. Our region doesn't have any events for canning, however our family gets together every year on weekends during August and September and we all work on the processing of the produce and fruit togeher. Sharing the work makes the work easier and we laugh a lot--makes for good family memories and lots of good eating. Years ago, when our children were very small (they are adults now!) we would get together with my brother-in-law's family every year when the corn was ripe and we would have what we laughingly called a "Corn Fest". All the kids would pick the corn and we adults would be in the kitchen cutting the corn off the cob and processing it. We did that for quite a few years and still talk about that special time together. There is a kind of peace in watching nature unfold before my eyes in the garden, soothing my spirit, producing crops that contribute to a healthier family and, ultimately, passing my knowledge of gardening and preserving forward to create memories for my children.

nancy brewer
2/17/2012 2:10:35 PM

I would start with "What is your favorite canning memory?" My mother-in-law taught me how to make jelly when I was twenty, and my grandmother taught me how to make her green tomato chow-chow. Those two lessons, from people who are now gone, were invaluable to me. They gave me the confidence that I could can anything! Why do you can food? I can food because I can control the ingredients. Homemade jam is so much better without the high fructose corn syrup of store bought. I also can food as an alternative to freezing. If your electricity goes out, you can lose the contents of the freezer. Do you can only homegrown produce or do you shop the farmers markets and grocery stores for canning ingredients? I can homegrown and surplus from other gardeners. Occasionally, I have to buy some ingredients (like red bell peppers to put in relish) that are not available at the same time as other ingredients in a recipe. What is your favorite canning recipe? Hard to pick one - orange-pineapple marmalade, cherry jelly, crock pot apple butter - flavors that you cannot buy at the grocery store. What home-canned food can you not live without? I pressure can venison in stew meat sized chunks. It is really great for quick meals. I also make venison chili and can it in quart jars. Country-style convenience food! Not so convenient when you put it up, but very convenient when you make a quick meal out of it. Do you participate in any community canning events or gatherings? If so, how do they work? I don't know of any canning events around to attend. I have invited my friends over to teach them how to make jelly. I like spreading the knowledge when possible. What is your favorite canning cookbook or website? Putting Food By was my original handbook. Great recipe for Bread and Butter Pickles in that one. Just bought the new Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving last season. I branched out with Fruit Ketchup and Apricot Chutney, so I like to try new things. How much money would you estimate that you save by canning food? I don't keep track. The money is not the point with me. Having control over the content is more important. I like the feeling that we are prepared for anything.

john schmidt
2/17/2012 12:56:49 AM

I started canning only 5 years ago when my wife and i arrived at our new farm. There is a very old pear tree in the yard and that first year, we had pears the size of softballs falling onto the ground. It seemed like such a waste of food that I gathered up all I could and researched what I needed to do to can them. Well after tasting them, I realized how great they were and thought: "I can do this!" Over the next few years I made Jam from our Blackberry bramble and other things from the garden including tomatoes and various pickles. Putting up home-grown chicken was a first for me this last year and is a great way to save chicken without having to worry about losing power and having your meat go to waste. I have never bought food from a market to can. To me, that is kind of 'cheating'. I like the thought of doing things myself and knowing how they were grown or raised. And as far as savings, I don't really track that. To me, canning is about healthy living and I would do it even if it was more expensive than buying the same foods at retail. My two favorite things to can and eat are probably Blackberry Jam and Bread and Butter Pickles. Both are always good and seem to improve with age in the jar.

vickie barbour
2/16/2012 2:31:29 PM

Why do you can food? Canning is not something I grew up with. Neither is farming for that matter. So why do I can, because I can and I should. It is that simple. We grow about 80% of what we eat during the growing season, the only things we buy are grains, sugar, salt, and meat. But, during the winter we rely on stores or what we dry or freeze. In 2007 we lost over $3,000 in groceries because of the ice storm here in Tulsa when we had no electricity for 14 days. I started canning that spring. First it was applesauce, then it just grew. Now I can everything because I can. Do you can only homegrown produce or do you shop the farmers markets and grocery stores for canning ingredients? I try to use what I am growing. However, I will buy from the store or farmers market to supplement it. What is your favorite canning recipe? Besides applesauce it is Pear and Cranberry Conserve from the ball canning book. What home-canned food can you not live without? All of it that is easy. Apple sauce or butter is the same in our house, I use it everyday. Pear and Cranberry Conserve is a must for salads and cream cheese. Chutneys are a must they go to every event we do. Pickled quail eggs are the best. Do you participate in any community canning events or gatherings? If so, how do they work? No they are using on the weekends and I work weekends. What is your favorite canning memory? I have none from child hood. As an adult it was when I realized that I had something everyone wanted for christmas and I did not have to spend a cent. What is your favorite canning cookbook or website? I guess that would be the ball canning book and small harvests. How much money would you estimate that you save by canning food? That's easy. Our garden reduced the cost of our groceries from almost $200.00 a week to $100.00 a week. With the addition of canned goods we have reduced that cost to $50.00-$65.00 a week. Especially sense it has changed the way we think about food. We no longer buy groceries based on what we want to eat. We buy groceries based on what we have to eat. That has made a huge difference in our shopping bills.

deetta richau
2/15/2012 9:39:30 PM

Why do I can? It is something that I have done since I was a child. It's part of who I am. After all the time and sweat that goes into my gardening, the produce can not go to waste!! For me it's calming-a chance to be in my own little world and think. Also, I believe that being self sufficient is SO important. I don't just can though, food also gets frozen, pickled, whatever necessary to keep it. My hubby doesn't each much in the way of veggies, so my garden is for ingredients to make salsa, pickles, salads etc. We don't have a lot of room since we live in town so we support the local farmer's market too. Usually we buy sweet corn from there, and also anything that I want to preserve but don't have much room for-like beans. Only a small amount is needed so it's easier to buy from the farmer's market. My favorite canning recipe is my grandma's half sour pickle recipe-nothing is better than that! As far as canned food we can't live without, well those pickles are one...and raspberry jam from our raspberry bushes. If you consider getting the whole family involved in canning to be a community effort, then yes we do participat in that. My younger sisters always help with the picking and now are learning how to preserve. Everyone gets involved in some way or another. My favorite memory is walking through the shelter belts with my grandpa to get wild plums for grandma's jelly. We'd just stroll along and talk. Then by the time we had enough plums, and were back in the house, we had to control ourselves from all but jumping in the bucket. The smell of fresh picked wild plums is amazing!! My favorite cookbook is one that I put together. It's sort of a collage of ONLY family recipes. The Ball Blue Book is also an incredible resource to have. I know I save a ton of money making my own jelly, picles, salsa etc. Jars come from rummages, and people often just give them to me in return for some jelly. I have figured out how to use honey from our hives in lieu of sugar in some of the recipes, and that alone saves so much money. Plus we all know how expensive produce is from the store, so planting your own saves a lot. I save seeds each year and if purchasing some is needed, well that's realatively cheap. I will also swap seeds with people all the time. Plus the satisfaction and gratification from knowing that we grew or raised pretty much everything we consume is priceless.

jean moss
2/15/2012 7:59:41 PM

Why do I can? Because it's a natural extension of who I am and what I grew up doing next to my mom. If we didn't can the produce from the yard and garden, we didn't eat. We had the garden, fruit trees, nut trees, an olive tree and grapevines. Everything was pickled, canned or frozen. We had three used refrigerators, a nine foot chest freezer, an upright freezer and the basement pantry was full of canned goods. My earliest memory is kneeling on the high chair seat washing peaches at the outdoor sink with my mother. We used lye back then to skin the peaches; I still use lye today when doing peaches! So I guess one of my favorites is still canned peaches and a close second would be pumpkin butter. My canning resources, yes, the Ball Blue Book, but I still have moms early Kerr Canning pamphlets from the 30's and 40's that still have viable recipes for today. In the last year I've tried to learn more and can more different items so as not to be in a rut. We make Christmas baskets for friends and family during the holiday and they're always so excited to see what I've made throughout the year. My husband and I grow hops and make our own beer and wine. I love baking bread and this years adventure will be the additon of two beehives and learning how to make homemade cheese! We have our own garden, fruit trees and just planted our first grapevine last year. What we don't grow, I shop for at the local Farmer's Market just down the street. What have I saved in $$, I really couldn't say as I don't know how to measure the satisfaction I get when I see all those jars lined up on the kitchen counter. I'm 55, I was raised canning and preserving for the future. It's who I am and what I love to do. I'm so glad to read all the responses from folks who have the same like mindedness.

toni boot
2/15/2012 6:55:07 PM

Please note: For whatever reason, my Mac doesn't let me start a new paragraph (any tips)? The || indicates a new paragraph! || My mom taught me and my sisters how to can; three of the five of us still do it today. We were part of a large family (four brothers too) and we had upwards of an acre in food gardening (seemed like acres and acres when I was young)! || Canning, and other methods of food preservation, was just a 'given' when we grew up. I find though, that many people my age (51) and younger don't have a clue about canning. || Lots of folks are beginning to frequent farmers' markets and many are starting to grow a fruit/vegetable garden, but the next logical step -- preserving the surplus harvest -- is not really on the radar yet. || Do want to share this with you though. I live in the Okanagan Valley in the southern interior of British Columbia, Canada. I've put together a board for a Food Preservation Cooperative that, this summer, will begin teaching interested folks how to preserve at home. We're starting with freezing and hot water bath canning this year, then will move onto pressure canning, drying, etc. This year we'll also be teaching how to make jams, preserves, chutneys, salsa, etc. || Initially, we'll be working out of rented certified kitchens, then will rent space and set up our equipment (possibly as early as 2013). In addition to the teaching, we will do 'contract' preserving, and rent the facility to entrepreneurs who are working on a new edible product. || We've chosen the cooperative business model for a number of reasons: (1) it fits most closely with our philosophy of sharing knowledge within the community and beyond (2) allows members to be a part of project that (we feel, anyways!) has great potential and (3) encourages folks to buy local food and support local growers. || If you'd like to know more, I'd be happy to share our trials and tribulations as we proceed. Sure would appreciate your thoughts and comments as we start this new venture (BIG hint) . :) || Happy growing, harvesting and preserving!

linda palemr
2/15/2012 6:51:22 PM

I love canning! I have been canning since a child in 4H. Nothing tastes better than home canned food. I am now on the cusp of retirement and hope that my canning skills can help supplement my retirement income. Everyone loves my pickles. I always take a jar with me when invited to a friend’s house for dinner and they are a big hit. My favorite recipe is spicy pickled beets from the Ball Blue Book. We have a small acreage in Washington State where we plan to retire, so that is where I grow the beets and the onions. There is a relatively new program called Food Hub which is sort of like Craigslist for the food industry. It hooks up farmers, ranchers, fisherman, food processors, etc with schools, hospitals, restaurants, motels, resorts, grocers, etc. This summer I am going to test the system by posting my pickled beets. Food Hub is growing in leaps and bounds. I hope to see it nationwide someday. Perhaps Mother Earth News could do a story on it someday.

krysta aten-schell
2/15/2012 5:26:46 PM

Why do I can food? I have Celiac's Disease and my best friends has a sulfate allergy meaning she can't eat onions or garlic or apples or pectin made from apples. Have you ever tried to buy tomato sauce without onions and garlic? Or jam made without commercial pectin? It's a nightmare. Also, our family believes that you should always be prepared for the future, we have about a year's worth of food down cellar in jars and in the freezer. We generally only can homegrown produce or fruits purchased at local farmer's markets. We believe that the key to a strong future is to invest in our local communities. My absolute favorite canning recipe is my mom's Dilly Beans. She passed it down to me when I married my husband and moved 2000 miles across the country to upstate NY. Each jar I make reminds me of her. I can't live without my Mexican Tomato sauce (so much fun to make, it involves hot peppers, tequila and a blow torch) and my Veggie Tomato sauce which includes every vegetable we grown in our garden. It tastes like summer in a jar! Do you participate in any community canning events or gatherings? If so, how do they work? My favorite canning memory involves my mom's Dilly Beans. She had never canned before (that I know of) and our neighbor, Debbie, asked if Mom wanted to help her put up some green beans for the winter. They went out with Debbie's kids and picked green beans all weekend and it took nearly a week to process all of them into Dilly Beans! We had grocery bags of beans in the kitchen, on the floor, in the basement, in the garage, in the dining room, anywhere you could put them! And with all that vinegar on the stove for the brine, you walked into the house and your sinuses cleared right out! Mom didn't make beans again for three or four years she was so sick of canning! My favorite canning book is the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, it has everything you could need! I do have some others specifically for jams or pickles, but this one is the encyclopedia of canning in our house. I would estimate we probably save $600-$800 dollars a year canning from our garden. It's ridiculous to buy tomato sauce at the store for $5 dollars a jar!

erica brown
2/15/2012 5:06:35 PM

Why do you can food? I can food so I know what I am serving my family. With pesticides and gmo's, its getting scary to buy at the grocery store. Do you can only homegrown produce or do you shop the farmers markets and grocery stores for canning ingredients? Last year we got corn from a local farmer and this year I will be hunting for even more things at farms and farmers markets. Its mostly home grown though. What is your favorite canning recipe? Apple Butter What home-canned food can you not live without? Blackberry Jelly What is your favorite canning memory? I remember making blackberry jelly with my mom, I dont remember how old I was. What is your favorite canning cookbook or website? Ball books are good, I have recently stumbled upon canning websites, like Tigress in a Pickle and From Scratch Club and many more. How much money would you estimate that you save by canning food? I dont know, but its a lot.

brystal michalkiewicz
2/15/2012 4:48:57 PM

Why do you can food? It's a fun hobby, I know what is going into everything, and it saves us money! Do you can only homegrown produce or do you shop the farmers markets and grocery stores for canning ingredients? I mostly buy out farmers market type places when things like tomatoes are turning and they need to get rid of them. I can a lot of produce that people are getting rid of - like they have a kumquat tree or mango tree in their yard and they can't eat them fast enough. Living in Florida - so we don't have typical growing seasons. What is your favorite canning recipe? Red pepper jelly (just made 2 batches yesterday, in fact) and apple butter. What home-canned food can you not live without? I grew up with homemade strawberry jam and store bought tastes terrible. I can't eat it at all! Do you participate in any community canning events or gatherings? If so, how do they work? Many of my friends had never canned. I was raised water bath and pressure canning on a farm, so I started inviting my friends and their kids over for canning parties. The kids can help chop, stir, measure and all kinds of stuff. I lovingly refer to one summer as the Mango summer - we canned for 2 weeks trying to use up 130 HUGE mangoes from my friends tree while she was out of town. I believe we had 8 different ladies and nearly 20 kids in and out for about a week. We made mango preserves, preserved mango chunks in apple juice, mango chutney, mango rum sauce, and mango glaze. It was a huge project but we had a great time! Another friend comes home every fall with several bushels of apples from her dad's backyard apple trees in KY - so we spend several days making apple sauce, apple butter, and jalapeño apple butter when she returns. Good times. Everyone buys their own jars and we split the cost of ingredients. What is your favorite canning memory? Growing up & as a teenager - whenever I had friends over, my mom would put us to work making freezer jam - stir 3 minutes, batch after batch - we always had a great time! What is your favorite canning cookbook or website? Ball Blue Book and Food In Jars - a small batch canning blog. How much money would you estimate that you save by canning food? Several hundred dollars a year but it's hard to tell. I spend almost nothing on jars and I have all the canning equipment. I give homemade canned food every year for Christmas for all of our extended family. I also don't spend money on other hobbies like scrap-booking etc. because I think of canning and preserving as my hobby.

sharon dines
2/15/2012 4:19:54 PM

The last few years I have had a garden and mostly froze my foods, then when my husband was out of work for two years we decided to expand the garden to three of them. So this year I pressure canned almost everything. Tomatoes, salsa, pumpkin, corn, carrots, peas and on and on....every day I had off work was a day to can something, I had to buy jars because I ran out several times. I am sure we saved 100's of dollars on food this year. I did have the cost of buying jars but this coming fall I will make that up when I have to can again.

linda nutt
2/15/2012 2:53:50 PM

I've been canning foods using both water bath and pressure canning methods off and on for most of the past 30 years. I can't say how much money we save but I freeze those foods that have a better taste and texture and/or cannot be canned like raspberries, blueberries, chunks of pumpkin, and chunks of winter squash. I make all my jellies, apple butters, applesauce, and pickle just about everything that can be pickled (beans, okra, peppers, watermelon rind and so on) except cucumbers. The art of making a good pickled cucumber has eluded me unfortunately. What we really love the most are the tomatoes. We grow and can heirloom tomatoes exclusively and use them throughout the year for spaghetti sauce, chili, pizza sauce, soups, and anything else you might use a tomato product for. The delicious and intense flavor cannot be duplicated by grocery store canned tomato products! I preserve vegetables that we have raised organically though I do purchase apples. I love looking in our pantry and seeing the foods we love the most - ready to be eaten throughout the year. Having quarts of tomato soup and roasted red pepper soup, just waiting to be opened, makes coming up with a quick meal when time is short a wonderful gift. I started out using the Alabama Extension Service book on food preservation back in the 1970's and though it is a slim publication, I still find it to be my most reliable source of clear and simple directions and recipes. It is still available from the extension service.

teresa shiflet
2/15/2012 12:13:40 AM

I grew up in in Chicago and the closest thing we came to canned goods was what was on the shelf at the grocery store. I now live on 5 acres in rural SE Ohio and have been canning for 6 years. It's such an exciting time in our house when we can go to our garden or out to our fruit trees and pick fresh produce to can. I started off canning tomatoes, salsa, sweet banana peppers, peaches and jellies, things that I could use my hot water bath canner for. It took me a year or so to be brave enough to try using a pressure canner. I'm so glad I took that step. Now I can green beans, carrots, corn, and just about anything I can put in a jar. Not only do I know exactly what is in that jar, but I know it's healthier for my family. The idea of popping open a jar of beautiful, juicy peaches in the middle of winter makes me happy.

karen white
2/14/2012 11:30:02 PM

I have been canning for about 5 years now and started as a way to preserve the harvest (tomatoes, pasta sauce, pickles, jams). I have now progressed past that point to now put up food year round (soups, stews, meats, dry beans). Most of the items I process came from the garden, our livestock, local orchards and the local supermarket. By home canning I have saved at least $200 a month and most of my grocery budget now goes to pantry staples (rice, flour, sugar, coffee), toiletry items, canning supplies and cleaning supplies. It does take some adjusting to eat from the canning shelf but when you do it is a tremendous savings. I have many canning recipes that are mainstays of the pantry but my favorite is my Grandmother's BBQ sauce recipe. I love having meats on the shelf and they are a big time saver come dinner time. I have been around canning all of my life but never really paid attention so I decided to teach myself by using The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving as a reference guide. I look forward to reading your article on the subject.

melody newburn
2/14/2012 9:07:41 PM

I started canning because I wanted a way to enjoy the seasonal food I love cheaply and healthily in the winter, and along the way, found it to be a total blast too. Prior to last summer, I had only hot water bath canned small batches of homemade jam. I dubbed this last summer my “summer of food preservation,” and was determined to teach myself new skills like how to pressure can. My go to book was "The Fresh Girl's Guide to Easy Canning and Preserving" by Ana Micka because it came with a DVD. I don't know anyone who cans who can show me the ropes, so I relied on these videos to take the intimidation out of the process. The guide itself is easy to follow and perfect for first-time canners who don’t know anything about canning, from what or where to buy the equipment. I am still eating through some of my stock, and am so thankful I conquered my pressure canning fear! Two other resources that helped me on my journey included the book "Canning & Preserving Without Sugar" by Norma Macrae (lots of good recipes that use honey for us beekeepers), and the website With a season of canning under my belt, I can’t wait to try out prepared items like sauces, salsas and soups this summer!

lori mani
2/14/2012 5:06:09 PM

I learned canning from my mother and grandmother and am now teaching it to my daughter. It is quite an art form and I've studied it for many years along with gardening and organic gardening. My favorite and "can't live without" canning product is hands-down - tomatoes! The aroma of canned tomatoes is so rich and wonderful that in the middle of winter when I open a jar, I can smell summertime! I've tried the other methods of keeping tomatoes but none beats the flavor and aroma of the canned ones. I also can whatever else flourishes in the garden. Some years are better than others for different crop varieties. I'm also investigating pressure canning which I've never done before. Gardening is certainly a life long learning experience.

judy daly
2/14/2012 5:24:50 AM

i can everything that i am able to from jams and jellies to spag sauce and stews .i grow my own fruits and vegs and when i find that great deal at farmers markets ill buy that and can it up. ive been canning for over 40 years. my fondest memeories are of learning to can with grandma at the age of 10 boy have things changed since then my husband and i put upover 59 quarts of tomatoes this year along with peaches, pickled beets etc. we owe our large amount of food from out garden to the fact that we also have some of natures best polinators,bees, the amount of money we save on fodd is in the 1000s throughout the year but the reason i can is because i know what is in my food i know all the ingredients and i know it is healthy and fresh. i due a huge garden every year(about 1000square feet) and i seem to add more to it each year some day im going to run out of room until then ill keep canning. i use both water bath and pressure. yoou have to use pressure if you do meats .grandma used to can fish and this year im going to try that way it will free up some of my freezer space. im always searching for new recipes to try. i just turned my neighbor onto canning and she has gone hog wild over it. she now cans everything from her garden instead of freezing it and is always coming over and getting recipes and how tos, feels good to be able to pass along some of that knowledge.

harlan bailey
2/14/2012 3:33:56 AM

we can as a way to enjoy the garden year round. If I could only can one thing it would be the 50 quarts of tomatoes we put up each year. The like the Ball canning book because it is a quick reference that cover most of the things I can't remember while I'm canning. It is hard to figure exactly how much we save by canning but our grocery bill for the three of us is about $80 per week. We likely save about $2500 per year by eating from the garden, the wild larder and the chickens.

mishelle davis falsetto
2/14/2012 3:16:33 AM

Even though canning is a time consuming process...I LOVE to do it & look forward to it every year! My mother always canned & so did my grand mother, so in a way, it reminds me of them. I have been perfecting my process over the last 10 years....water bath ( I am still scared of the pressure...maybe THIS will be the year! I REALLY want to make soups!) I do mostly peppers & tomatoes & spaghetti sauce...I even did grape jam from my grapes this year! It was FASCINATING & my entire house smelled like a giant concord grape! YUM! I still continue to struggle to make the pefect dill pickle! I MUST be missing something! I grow a pretty big garden, so I am fortunate to be able to get it all from MY garden. My favorite item I dread running out of is my spaghetti sauce! THAT is a sad day around here. So, besides canning being "in the family", I just love the idea of seeing the whole process...from the tiny seed I started....all the time & the final is just so TASTY! You CANNOT put a price on that kind of comfort & joy from ANYTHING in the store!!!! I think it is the LOVE that makes it all taste so good :)

andrea green
2/14/2012 1:52:05 AM

I started canning about a year ago. I'd always been intimidated by the process, but had a friend who encouraged me to try it. The reasons I decided to jump in and try include: 1. I want to know EXACTLY what I am feeding my family. 2. I believe in real foods and their health benefits. 3. I started my own organic garden and I grossly overestimated my ability to produce an abundance of food. :) The reason I will continue to can: nothing has ever come close to the taste of my homemade canned peaches in the middle of January. I am absolutely hooked on canning! Since I'm a novice gardener, I've canned very little of my own food. Therefore I've looked for local sources. This year I've bought a canning share from my local CSA.

linda ray miller
2/13/2012 7:16:36 PM

For the past few years, I have planted a big garden, and I tend to run out of space in my freezer. So last summer, I tried canning tomatoes. My partner, who grew up on a farm, told me I had to really squeeze lots of tomatoes into the jar before putting it in the pressure cooker. So I squeezed and squeezed and squeezed. But still, when I took my jars out of the pressure cooker, they were filled with half tomatoes and half water. This year, I will try harder.

linda ray miller
2/13/2012 7:14:00 PM

I have loved making jams for years. My grandmother used to make the best plum butter, and I find I cannot live without some in the house. For the past several years, I have made crab apple butter, because there are quite a few crab apple trees on the college campus where I work, and security does not mind if I remove a few crab apples. I generally pick a five gallon bucket full and then dump them all in my big roaster. I leave them cooking for two or three days, then put them through a mill. Add some sugar and cinnamon and YUM!

jane phillips
2/13/2012 4:35:50 PM

I have been canning most of my adult life (over 20 years) and many people don't understand why I do it or how I find the time. It is so automatic for me that time doesn't seem like an issue to me at all. I began canning for several reasons. 1) My mom and both of my grandmothers canned; 2) My son was born with some chemical imbalances and adhd and it was discovered that he had serious reactions to food preservatives, additives and food colorings so everything had to be made from scratch; 3) I do not trust our food supply. I know exactly what my family is eating, how it was grown, preserved, prepared and we never have to worry about recalls. It tastes so much better than anything you can buy. Not only do we can, but we dehydrate and freeze foods as well. We also make our own bacon, hams, sausage, etc and smoke meats and make our own wines. It has become a passion of ours to learn all we can from any of the old-timers who are left. Food preservation is an art and should be passed from generation to generation. I am so glad to see canning becoming popular again. I usually can about 800 - 1000+ jars every year. I have printed a journal that I keep, documenting my successes, failures, new recipes, etc. I make journals for my friends and family who are now canning also. I have taught many people how to can. We grow chickens for meat and eggs, turkeys for meat, fish in our pond and we all hunt deer, pheasant, rabbits, squirrels, etc. I make our own pasta and breads as well. I am just getting into making yogurts, cheeses, etc. Next, I would like to grow my own grains and grind my own flours. All of our vacations are focused around gathering food. We go on many fishing trips throughout the summer and bring home the catch for the freezer or for canning. Salmon fishing is the most fun we have ever had. I love the canned salmon and we smoke a lot of it and then I can the smoked salmon too. I estimate that we save thousands every year. We do not buy many groceries and when we do we buy all organic and GMO free foods. We feel that with the money saved by canning so much we can justify the cost of organic foods. However, I believe some of the prices are coming down on some of the organic foods and stores are stocking more of them.

nena adamczyk
2/13/2012 7:48:09 AM

hay Vickey, i live in Michigan and i raise rabbits for meat. do u have any canning receipes for meat. when i was younger i canned all and anything. now i need to can meat and my mother passed and would love to be able to can meat like she did. so i am trying to find the instructions on the canning prossess. would u please email anything to me if u have it. send to thanks a bunch.

ivana mandic
2/13/2012 7:39:01 AM

Hello everyone! Canning is an essential part of our lives here in Serbia and they are usually a symbol of winter as that is the time when we open our cans to enjoy the little treasures in them :) We can vegetables for pickles, fruits for "kompot", jams and jellies.. Here whoever cans does it with the home grown products and tries to have them as organic as possible. My Mom pressurizes the cans in the following way> after the products are put into the can( glass jars) she sips a little bit of alchohol (or any kind of brandy-rakia) on the inner side of the lid, fires it up with a match and while the lid is burning with that little fire she quickly puts the lid on the can and voila! it is pressurized and ready for use for the following couple of years (not to worry,if you re fast enough you cannot burn your fingers :) The longest we were able to keep it on the shelf is 3 years but only because we wanted to eat it,not because anything went wrong with it :) So, there is no artificial ingredients, but what is important is to choose the right veggie/fruit and prepare it in the right way (cook it long enough,put enough sugar,etc.) For example, jams are being cooked with sugar, no need for too much sugar if the fruit itself is sweet enough ( usually no sugar is needed for the plum jam), and after being cooked long enough,the jars(glass cans) are put without lids in the hot oven for about an hour,and then pressurized in the way I described above. I hope this was helpful! I would love to hear how do you can.If you are interested I will be glad to share our old recipes for jams and pickles and kompot :) All the best from the Balkans! Ivana :)

wendi clark
2/13/2012 4:11:17 AM

I have been canning for nearly 10 years, first as a new mother; now as a working one. I still can food for all my original reasons: knowing the foods origins, whole flavor, cost savings, connection to the women of my ancestry, room temperature storage, and even more – with a growing and busy family, my pantry provides our “fast food” in the form of canned homemade soup, fruits, veggies to heat in a couple of minutes, canned cooked meat to add to a quick dish – a great meal can come together quickly. I also know what is added to my family’s food: organic nutrition, and what’s not: how much salt, sugar, preservatives, etc

gil fowler
2/13/2012 2:48:39 AM

In my younger days I caned a lot. Now I grow a big garden and have three families that I supply vegges. They can a lot of it and I get 1/4 and I supply my jars and lids. They can beets, peppers, cukes, pickled squash, green beans, tomatoes, selsa, pickled okra, pickled green tomatoes, and just about anything that they can talk me into growing for them.

pam shelburne
2/12/2012 6:51:40 AM

Hi Scotti, I too live in Indiana and do own a small amount of property in town, but I think the dreams are the same for you as for me. I want to live in the country with land and a root cellar and a green house to garden year round. My husband and I are working toward the country dream and planning to make it there someday. Hope we see you there!! In the meantime, do what you can, its all you can do:-)

pam shelburne
2/12/2012 6:25:01 AM

I started canning about 30 years ago after going to a u-pick strawberry patch. The fresh berries tasted so good that I decided to make strawberry jam. The first batch didn't turn out. The canning book that I purchased didn't explain the you have to skim the foam off the top of the jam before placing it in the jars and processing so it turned sugary. My next door neighbor helped me out by giving me her recipe and being on hand (as in right next door) to answet my questions. After that I sent away for some free government publications on canning (I think you can still get these online or you can go to your local extention office to see if they have some information), purchased the Ball blue book on canning, and saved my Betty Crocker points that gave me a discount on a pressure canner. I went to u-pick fields and the farmers market for produce until we bought our first home equiped with a small garden in the backyard. I still frequent u-pick fields and shop at the farmers market along with my garden plot that now takes up most of the back yard and even most of the front yard, I now have an eddible landscape everywhere I can! I also don't have to lug so many groceries home during the cold winter months. I can, freeze and dry food when in season and enjoy it all winter long. How much do I "save"? It would be easier to calculate how much I've spent on supplies but to me it doesn't matter. Quality matters. Quality of life with good health on a budget for me and my family, priceless.

mona easter
2/12/2012 2:32:54 AM

I grew up helping grow and can enough food for a family of nine. It is a legacy I carry on with my family and have four small grandaughters who have an interest in learning. I have three chest freezers of which one is full of frozen fruits and vegies from my as much as possible organic garden. I can everything, with tomatoes being the staple at our house. I have an orchard and can peaches and apples. I would like to put more food away by canning, but remember horror stories from my mom about pressure canners, and there blowing up and burning people. I have one but have not mastered the temperature control. So I use a lot of old time recipes, like canning green beans in water bath, 3 hours processing for quarts, and 1.5 hours for pints. I also use a vinegar and salt recipe; but lots of sodium. If my mom would find out that anyone in the neighborhood had anything, especially fruit to give away, we gladly canned it even if it might have a worm inside. The neighbor lady helped her when we were too little to help. We had chickens and fertilized the garden one year and had a bathtub full of spinach. It was an exceptionally bad year last year, I didn't can what I usually do because of the extreme heat and lack of moisture. It's a joke at our house in the winter time when I get my coat on and grab my dishpan and head for the "grocery store" aka the summer kitchen where all the goodies are kept. I like to collect canning books but find myself going back to my old Kerr canning recipe book. This year I would like to try the new reuseable canning lids that I think would pay for themselves. I would be safe to say that we can save over half our grocery bill when we have the jars full. My husband is not a picky eater and we both have suffered this winter without our stash of home grown goodness. We are eager for spring for we have broccoli and cabbage plants growing in the summer kitchen window, and sweet potatoes in a planter behind our wood stove. We plan on growing double what we normally do so lets hope the Lord blesses us with bounty to put by.

audree beach
2/11/2012 9:23:50 PM

I grew up helping my mom can. Pickles (dill, icicle, bread & butter, mustard, dill beans) vegetables, fruit, jelly, usually from stuff from our garden, occasionally purchased items. Used the same jars over & over, just bought new lids. My first foray into cannig was shortly after I got married and discovered wild blackberries along the side of the road; so I made jam. In Charleston, SC it was fig jam from the tree in our back yard. In Bremerton, WA there were apples, prune plums, bartlett pears, cherries, black & red rasberries in our back yard or down the street. I was inspired to can because the fruit was there and I felt bad just letting it rot on the ground. I went to the library (pre-internet) and took out books on canning. I hadn't worked with most of these fruits before. I made plum jam, apple butter, pear marmalade w/ginger (didn't really like orange marmalade, but this recipie intrigued me and it turned out great). The best was Matrimony Jam, made with plums, pears & apples. It is now my husbands favorite. Moving back home I make crab apple jelly from our backyard tree. And occasionally I benefit from a friends grape arbor for jelly. My mom loves pickles, so I try something new each year. I've experimented dilled green cherry tomatoes, blueberry jam (for a friend) icicle pickles, bread & butters, refrigerator dill & bread & butter, chow-chow. Some more successfuly than others. I grow garlic & am expanding the varieties & amount every year. So...pickled garlic, as gifts. This year, pickled scapes & my own garlic powder. Can't do without: homemade chili sauce & crab apple jelly. Another reason to like the internet; I haven't been able to find copies of the books that had the recipies for the pear marmalade or matrimony jam and with all our military moves my copies were lost. Found them on the net & made matrimony jam this year.

lorraine keegan
2/11/2012 5:30:58 PM

My favorite canning memory is when my mother was canning pickled beets and the pressure cooker exploded. It was right after the song Purple Rain came out and it gave it a whole new meaning. What a mess! Luckily it didn't discourage me from canning or using a pressure cooker (although today's pressure cookers are a lot safer). I have canned many kinds of jams and fruit over the years. The main crop that I can is tomatoes. They are easy to can and can be used for so many things during the winter. Opening up a jar of tomatoes in winter to make into sauce or use in soups and stews is like opening a jar of summer sunshine.

elizabeth woods
2/11/2012 5:03:41 PM

Why I can is related to my favorite canning memory. The memory isn't so much a specific time, as it is all the summers watching my mom make plum jelly and can apricots and tomatoes from the abundance in our back yard. That warm and comforting memory, along with the delicious canned goods, were something I wanted to continue and pass on to my children. Since I started canning, I've also learned about the commercial canning process and paid attention to the ingredients, and I'm just more comfortable when I have control of the process and contents. I was able to omit the salt to accommodate my husband's low-sodium diet, and reduce or omit sugar to produce healthier foods. Plus home canned tastes better than commercial! My back yard now isn't quite as abundant as in my childhood, but I get fruit from neighbors and friends who have trees but don't know what to do with the excess (in return I give them some of the canned/jellied fruit, which they always love!) I also shop the farmers market for fruit or vegetables that I didn't grow or get from friends, usually organic so I can avoid the pesticides. I started learning to can by following the USDA Canning Guide to the letter, starting with jams and jellies since they are inherently the safest canned products (due to the high sugar levels and acidity). From there I learned pickles, then fruit, and finally veggies, basically working my way from the easiest safety-wise to the harder. That gave me a chance to gain confidence in the process and in my abilities before jumping into the less forgiving types of canning. There's also just something about seeing the rows of shiny colorful jars of home-canned produce that gives me a tremendous sense of accomplishment and satisfaction!

laurie rocke
2/11/2012 3:15:58 PM

I grew up with pickles, relishes, jams and jellies home-canned by my Mom and Gramma. I have my own veggie garden and can the excess cukes and tomatos as well as applesauce and chutney from my bro's appletree. We particularly love Polish dill refrigerator pickles and my personal favorite is the sauce I make from my own plum tomatoes (with my own fresh basil). There's nothing like the flavor of the sun-sweetened tomatoes added to any recipe in mid-winter. I also can marmalade once the price on oranges comes down in the flavored oranges make the best marmalade...and I give small jars away with my cookie platters at christmas. I have a copy of the World War II Ball book, but I often search the web for ideas on seasoning and spices as the booklet often leaves out things that they assume every cook should know! I'm a relative newcomer, but an old Yankee.

gina solem
2/11/2012 1:15:37 PM

To say that my canning has evolved over the years would be an understatement. I grew up on home canned food and was always involved in the prep work. So when I married and moved into our home in the fall I bought my canned goods...and my taste buds were not happy. Good thing I live lived close to home. That summer I canned strawberry jam, green beans, and peaches(these I would say I can not do without).....My still favorite resource is the Ball Blue Book....but being able to get advice and hands on learning from others such as parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and neighbors helped me along alot. Now having access to the internet gives lots of inspiration. We just celebrated our 17th wedding anniversary and with lots of determination and planning I can/freeze most of our food now I have converted many of our favorite meals into recipes that are able to be canned. I can pickled asparagus, beans, cucumbers, and kraut and am always experimenting with other types of pickles. All sorts of jams and jellys. Peaches, pears, applesauce, and rhubarb, tomato juice and ready for recipe tomato sauces, pie-in-a jar, vegetable soup, and meat. I can what we grow and and purchase things from local growers and many people give me what they have too much of knowing I will do something with it. Canning with others is always fun and makes the prep work go quickly ( and now I find I am the teacher more than the advice seeker which is kinda cool), Most of the time however I can on my own. I try and calculate what I spend on certain canning projects and most the tme I find I am making it for about at least 50% less than what I am able to purchase.

ginny drews
2/11/2012 6:35:54 AM

I love to can, it's just fun to be able to put up things you've grown and have them later when they are not in season. The best memory I have of canning is when a good friend & I decided to put on a lot of salsa so we got up at 4am & went to the farmers market to by several bushels of tomatoes & get the peppers & onions for the salsa we worked all day & about 5:30 I was waiting to hear from my husband who went on a business trip about 2 hours away & he called from out of town & told me he was house hunting ??? what he said we are moving what I said I thought he went out of town for an afternoon meeting but no we ended up moving within a few months...that was a long canning day

cynthia frederick
2/11/2012 5:33:29 AM

My grandmother canned all the time but I never got the opportunity to learn from her, but I've gotten interested in canning this year. Our first project was dill pickles that turned out amazing! We used cucumbers from the store and a recipe I found on-line that was really easy. I kept it simple so we could get the basic process down before we tried something more complicated. This weekend I'm going to try marmalade using the oranges from my tree. This will be our first hot-water canning attempt. My goal is to become more self-sufficient, and to make my favorite foods instead of buying the brand-name products.

scotti woosnam
2/11/2012 5:00:50 AM

Howdy, folks. I'm not a canner and have never canned in my life, but it intrigues me to the point where I felt the need to post. I think there is something here that I'm missing, so every article that comes up on it, I enjoy reading for perspective. I also have a goal at some point of a perpetual sort of garden using a combination of regular harvest, a greenhouse, and a root cellar. Is that possible? I live in Indiana, so I'm not sure it can in my clime, and if it isn't the case, canning is the second best option. Not sure where I'm going with this as it's really only whispers of thought at the edge of my imagination at this point with no place of my own, or time, to bring any of it to fruition. Seemed the best place to do so. Feel free to e-mail me if you have any thoughts.

nance northrup howsman
2/11/2012 3:57:48 AM

I began by picking peaches with my mother in law in the Hill Country of TX when I was first married. We would freeze peaches and made freezer peach jam. I moved to the Northeast for a year and was thrilled there were four seasons. There was a strawberry/blackberry fram about a mile from my house. I learned to really can with the strawberries from that farm. I made strawberry jam, pies, breads, blackberry jam, etc. Then came apple season - I canned applesauce and apples. Strawberry season rolled around again just before we moved. I canned 17 lbs of strawberry jam to take with us to our new home in TN. I now live in Central TX where I can blackberry jam from my 400 organic blackberry plants. I am a beekeeper so use honey in many of my jams. I also can peaches and peach jam from a peach orchard west of town. My daughter will not eat any other peaches except those I can. She says they taste like real peaches and are just fresher tasting. I believe i get my canning genes from my father. He cans Chokecherry jam from chokecherries he picks, corn and pinto beans from the farmer's market. My paternal grandmother also was a canner. She canned from their strawberry/rhubard field as well as many other produce. I remember as a little girl going into her cellar and being in awe of all the beautiful canned vegetables and fruits. I don't know if I save any money canning, I've never priced it out. But the satisfaction of knowing where the food comes from, what's in it and how it's processed is satisfaction enough. The superior taste is worth it! There is just something wonderful about being in the fresh air, picking fresh produce and making it into deliciousness for later use. The rewards of having 'fresh summer bounty', canned yourself, in the middle of winter is too good for words. One reason I can, for my family and friends, who appreciate and love the canned goods. And, I love it!

sandee salisbury
2/11/2012 3:35:31 AM

I started canning over 30 years ago when we moved to the country and the nearest store was over 65 miles away. I can all kinds of things from veggie to meat. One thing I do know is, I know what is in that jar and I know that there are NO preservatives in any thing I can. As our country progresses it is very important for us to read the labels and find out just what is in the product that we are about to buy. If you are like me you want to know what you are about to feed the people that you love so much. It is a privilege to can for my family and to see their faces lite up when they see what we are having for dinner, what we grew, what we canned, what we cooked. I did just recently read an article about canning cheese and butter. I am excited about trying this as soon as possible . I also read an article that a lot of restaurant owners are starting to can their own specialty items on their menus such as pickled okra, pickled beets, salsa, relishes, eggs and all kinds of other things as well. I have to say I was quit surprised at this, who would have thought. Well any way I love canning and would not have it any other way. There is great pride in seeing the hard work that you put into some that is beneficial to your family. In 2010 we figured up that with all the things that we canned we saved over $ 2000.00 that year alone. it could have been a little more that that. We were quit surprised! I tried my hand at freezing and the veggies was so much better canned, they lasted longer, you did not have to worry about freezer burn or holes getting into your bags. My family even liked them better canned. Oh, what if your electric went out for over a week like it did during that big ice storm that we had a couple years ago in the mid-west. We lost every thing that was in our freezer. We did not loose one single can of our canned food. As far as recipes go I would look to the inter net, plus see of your family have handed down recipes that they would share with you. That is the best way to go. I use the Better Home and Garden and Kerr Home Canning books also. There is so much good information, you can't go wrong using them. I have used them for years and got great results from both of them. An other good book that I used is Jam it, Pickle it, Cure it and other cooking projects By Karen Solomon and of course Martha Stewart has a section on her web site and in her cooking school book she has techniques on how to prepare your fruits and veggies. These are just a few books that will help you with techniques and canning. I wish every one all the success in their up coming canning season

sue gee
2/11/2012 3:15:37 AM

Canning just makes sense when you grow a large garden, but that is not the only reason I can. It is so wonderful to see all those beautiful cans of colorful produce lined up on the shelf. Canning has been part of my harvest for over 30 years. It makes me feel secure to know all that tasty, nutritious food is stored for the winter. There are items that I purchase from the local produce stand, farmers market or from the u-pick. Growing peaches is challenging in the Pacific Northwest, but I can't live without canned peaches. It is like eating sunshine on those dark, gray days of winter. The most popular recipe I can is for dilly beans. For a few years I had a friend that would come out to can salsa with me; this is also my fondest canning memory. I did take a couple of canning classes from our local Extension Service this last summer and that was fun. The class on fermented foods was great and the resulting dill pickles, kimchi and sauerkraut are still being enjoyed. The Extension Service is offering a Master Food Preservers program this spring and my application for the program just went out in the mail. Not only will I learn so much, but I will be able to share my knowledge with the community, as a volunteer. The third edition of the book Stocking Up has been a really good resource, but I use the OSU Extension Service website quite alot as well. By using the information from the Extension Service, I know that I have the latest and safest information. It is so hard to know how much money is saved by canning. This year, a big majority of my gifting for the winter holidays was from my canning efforts. The savings for that alone was at least $300.

regena hoye
2/11/2012 3:02:04 AM

I started canning to prevent waste. When I realized that food stored in the freezer could get freezer burn, then I knew that there had to be some other way to store food. I started to can. At first I bursted jars in the water bath. I would take them out of the water and the end of the jar would be at the bottom of the pan. I read everything I could about canning from Mother Earth, the USDA publication and lessons from an experienced senior woman. I turned to these favorite and reliable sources often. I canned from my garden and this encouraged me to grow a variety of the vegetables that I love. I became a better gardener too. I love greens like collards and turnips so I lightly cook and season them to my taste with salt and a pinch of sugar and my herb garden thyme, oregano before canning. As I got better, then I canned fruit that the neighbor's shared and from the farmer's market. I did not know that you could can meat but my elderly mentor, she taught me how and that took me to another level. Because I now can meat for me and my pet, dog. You save a lot of money because you don't have to buy a big freezer that takes up space in your garage. Growing food in my garden and canning has limited my trips to the store. I used to spend fifty or sixty dollars or more on grocery trips because prices keep going up and sometimes I would impulse buy. Not anymore because most of my food is stored at home in the pantry waiting for me to choose it. And my canned food taste so good and it is far more healthier then the questionable foods from the store. Where I live the storms can knock the lights and water off for a time which will cause food in the refrigerator and freezer to spoil. I do not worry if I am caught of guard because I can still eat fresh and natural food from my canned jars. And when there is an empty space on the shelve, I will can something else to keep my pantry full. Unlike the tin cans on the store shelve, I can see the color and the texture of the food in the jar. Sometime I just look at the jars on the shelve with so much pleasure. And I am in heaven during the winter months when I can just open a jar of summer peaches to enjoy.

virginia abel
2/11/2012 1:59:33 AM

My Grandma and Mother canned and it took me a few years to get back into it after growing up but I came to my senses and started canning myself. Same with my children they have grown up and away but have gone back to basics. I can an array of foods from pickles to soup to canned meat, usually anything that I can grow. I do buy fruit from local farmers, alot from Amish and some extra meat usually from friends.I usually go by the Blue Ball Book and some receipes from family and friends. I don't can socially as I am a solitary soul but my youngest of 4 children is learning to can now so sometimes I have a helper. With 16 grandchildren not much gets wasted. Unfortunately they haven't developed a love for canning but it's in their DNA so I am hopeful. As far as saving money I think the benefits and pride that come from canning is priceless.

kelly walker
2/11/2012 1:10:01 AM

I have been canning for over 20 years. I know exactly how my food was raised and what or if it was sprayed with because I grew it myself. Nothing gives me more satisfaction than seeing jars of freshly canned food on my shelves. My mother canned tomatoes and peaches when I was young and I have expanded to canning anything that I grow in my garden. I look for new recipes all the time because I give away jars of canned goodness for Christmas presents. My latest canning book is Canning for a New Generation by Liana Krissoff but the old standby will always be the Ball Blue Book. As more and more genetically modified foods are pushed on us the more likely I will be to grow only heirloom varieties from trusted seed producers. My favorite recipes (at the moment) are any recipes including honey because I just started keeping bees in 2011. I never took the time to figure out the savings because it doesn't matter to me, I just love it! It can be time consuming but boy is it satisfying looking at those colorful jars in December.

hoogi somerville
2/10/2012 9:00:32 PM

Why do I can? To protect myself from being buried under mountains of produce. Mostly zucchini! We live in the mountains about an hour from the nearest town and have a garden every summer. My husband feels it is his duty to plant and care for the garden so often I am surprised to see what I am canning that year. We live off the grid and don't have a lot of freezer space so although I do freeze some vegetables, mostly I can. I like pretty much all the vegetables that we grow so it's difficult to choose a favorite recipe. I do make a lot of salsa as all of the ingredients are readily available in the garden -- and it smells wonderful. My two most used canning books are the "Better Homes and Gardens Canning & Preserving" book and the "Kerr Home Canning and Freezing Book". A few years ago I picked up a book at a used book store that was published in 1975: "All About Pickling" by Ortho Books. It has some great basics and some rather unusual recipes. I may look for a new book or two this summer as the pages are falling out of my favorites and they are splattered with pickling brine. We have a ladies' group who meet once a month and try out various craft or cooking ideas and last summer we had a canning class. I was surprised at how many of the ladies had not canned before, but there were also several who had all kinds of neat gadgets and instruments that they shared. When I was growing up (in Michigan) we had a huge garden and my mom spent most of the summer canning and freezing our vegetables. My favorite part was using the grinder which was mounted on the kitchen counter. That made for some great relishes! I have never tried to estimate the savings from canning -- I just do it. And my parents would be ashamed of me if they thought I was eating canned or frozen vegetables from the store. It is a pleasure to go to the pantry in the evening and select a jar of vegetables for dinner knowing exactly where that produce originated.

vickey morrissey
2/10/2012 8:59:08 PM

My first try at canning was a complete surprise. 2 years ago, at our home in northern Michigan, my sister, her friend, and my mom were visiting. We thought it would be fun to learn to can on one of the hottest days of the summer. I have quite a small kitchen, and we had an adventure. We went to the farmers market and picked up 2 bushels of peaches...Traverse City peaches at their best! , pickling cucumbers, dill, garlic, a bushel of tomatoes..oh my we were ambitious. We wanted to make low sugar peach jam, dill pickles, and salsa. (I used to make strawberry jam for the freezer when I was way younger and had some canning supplies) No one else had any canning experience. We got jars at the store, Mrs Wages Kosher Dill mix, and Ball Blue Book. In 2 days we made enough for everyone to take quarts of dill pickles, pints of sugar free peach jam, and lots of salsa. We even made enough to send to a sister in Tennessee. Even the air conditioning couldn't keep us cool! But it was soooo enjoyable! My sister in Tennessee ended up growing cucumbers for the pickles the next year because her husband thought they were the best pickles in the we got 2 more converts to sister and her husband. We plan to do this every year, but next year we will move to a larger kitchen. In the meantime, I learned how to pressure can green beans, spagetti sauce with meat, bean soup with ham, sugar free blueberry jam, hamburger dills, sugarfree cinamon apple pie applesauce...yum! We are all canning converts. I live in acres of wild blueberries so we plan to pick for days this next summer. I just think your own canned food tastes so much better because of the "love" behind not as many preservatives, and you don't have to worry about the BPA in the cans. It is fun to go to the pantry and pick out something special that you made! Will we save money? Probably in the long run...but right now it is just fun to try different recipes and preserve our bounty. (New garden this year will help too!) Our favorites are the dill pickles!

wendy mckenzie
2/10/2012 8:29:39 PM

I started canning to try something new and I love learning "skills from the past". Now I can because we want to eat what we grow and know that it is organic and save money doing so. We also get Colorado peaches when they are delivered to town and get apples from the local orchard, but now we just purchased a farm with a small orchard and will use our own apples and peaches. My favorite canning item is pie filling, peach and apple, I keep a quick crisp topping in hand and always have a delicious hot dessert available in 30 minutes. Salsa is something we can't get enough of, my family can go through a quart a week. I have some neighbors and friends interested in canning and I now have a large enough kitchen we are planning on having some group canning parties. I use the Ball Blue Book and It's hard to put a price on what we save, the garden produce vs store/farmer's market, the gas for trips to town, and the health benefits from working in the garden and eating the high quality garden goods vs store bought.

jennine wardle
2/10/2012 8:11:39 PM

I can because we're off-grid and only have a small (5 cu ft) solar-powered freezer that I reserve for those things that do not store, can or dry well. I also like knowing exactly what's in my food and where it came from, and being absolutely sure that our food doesn't contain any ingredients we are allergic or sensitive to... even if that means I sometimes have one batch of jars for me and another batch of jars for my husband. You can't do that as easily with store bought food. I can our garden produce and wild forage, as well as meat, fish and poultry from our own livestock and wild hunting/fishing. But I also can produce I purchase from farmer's markets or U-Pick farms, and naturally raised meats from local farmers. I also can because I love to cook... but not every day... and all my favorite recipes make enough to feed a small army. Canning lets me cook several of these recipes at once and put up dozens of half-pints, pints and quarts of our own homemade ready meals. Instead of opening a 15 oz can of commercial soup (costing $2) that is full of all manner of weird ingredients and more than a single serving, I can open an 8 oz jar of homemade soup made from whole natural ingredients. I also vacuum can most of our dry staples in jars to extend their shelf-life and protect them from pests. After the initial investment in canners (steam, boiling water, and pressure) and canning jars, I save *at least* $1,000 a year canning at home... and that's if I *purchase* all the foods I can instead of growing and harvesting my own or local wild or purchasing in bulk. That's not including the hefty savings of not needing another off-grid freezer and solar panels, or fuel for the generator, to power it. That offsets the cost of the canners and jars right there!! Not having to drive 3 hours into town or pay shipping for mail order groceries, and not having to drive to the landfill to dispose of single use cans and plastic packaging offsets the costs of purchasing additional and/or replacement jars and new lids every year (or the cost of the more expensive reusable lids and gaskets). My favorite resources are the USDA and Cooperative Extension food preservation handbooks and websites, as well as other food preservation authorities from around the world. Once you understand the basics and the reasons behind certain techniques and cautions, you can adapt nearly any recipe to be can-able and can safely adjust any of the multitude of canning recipes to suit your tastes and needs. Besides homemade broths of all flavors, the food I can that I couldn't live without would be corned beef brisket with cabbage, potatoes and carrots... nothing better after spending a day shoveling snow or hauling firewood. Hmm... but "garden fresh" salsa and pickled vegetable salads in winter come in close seconds! I don't normally can in groups since we live in the bush with few neighbors; but I do enjoy the solitary time spent harvesting, prepping, cooking, labeling and shelving our bounty. Nothing is quite as satisfying as seeing your pantry shelves full of wholesome nutritious foods before the snow flies and the sun goes to sleep for the winter!

cathie abramowitz
2/10/2012 6:25:33 PM

Why do I can? I guess it's part of my DNA. My earliest memories involve canning and jam making. Going out to the orchards in Little Rock CA with my grandmother and picking peaches which she & my mom then canned in syrup. It seemed that there was always something being "put up" in the kitchen when I was young... pickles, jam, golden apricots in syrup, beans. But the best was the candied figs! My mother and I canned after my grandmother was no longer able to even supervise the activities. Now it's my daughter & me who find ourselves looking at 30 lbs of pickling cucumbers on a Saturday morning and many jars of pickles that night. I have a friend who has peach and apple trees and had no idea what to do with the fruit. We spent a couple of days canning and making jam - but most of all, we laughed and talked and had a great deal of fun. I just recently made Honey'd Grapefruit sections from the grapefuit trees we share with a neighbor. I always have a cupboard full of jams for gifts and of course when the figs are available...

nicole tuttle
2/10/2012 5:39:10 PM

I started canning because i started gardening, and found myself with more delicious produce than i could eat. I live in a small apartment, and have only a "dorm room" refrigerator. There is very little space to keep food in the refrigerator, and no freezer at all. Canning allows me to keep my produce and enjoy it throughout the year in the abundance of cupboard space I do have. I've made salsa, canned green beans, tomatoes, and this year plan on canning whatever else I can! I also dehydrate herbs and some fruit i buy at local farmer's markets while its in season. That way I can ensure that my food is fresh, and grown to the standards I choose, rather than guessing about the quality of food in the grocery store.

pam link
2/10/2012 5:18:22 PM

I can because I've always canned. I started helping my mother when I was about eight by pitting fruit , pealing tomatos and washing jars. When I was young , every fall our house was filled with the wonderful smell of fresh fruit and vegtables and the sound of happy chatter, my mothe and sister gossuping and canning . I'm 48 now and have continued this glorious tradition with my own daughters, every year we put up many jars of jam, tomatos , peaches and some time pears. We grow a lot of our own vegtables but we also buy our procuce from our local orchards. I hope I'll still be canning when I'm in my 90's with my children and grandchildren.

erin wiedemer
2/10/2012 5:08:04 PM

I started canning last year as a way to make delicious christmas presents for my friends and family. I had such a good time with that project that I have started this year off by making use of my neighbors' kumquat trees. I just finished making Kumquat Preserves, Kumquat Marmalade, and Cognac Kumquats. I love making something tasty and storable out of produce that would otherwise just rot. I only can produce that is grown by myself or my neighbors. For me, canning is a way of making use of all produce from our trees and garden. I have more than I can eat fresh right now, so there is no reason to purchase produce. I am new to canning, so I haven't tried out a ton of recipes, but I love to make kumquat marmalade and Cabernet wine jelly. Linda J. Amendt's book, "Blue Ribbon Preserves" has never steered me wrong. I have no intention of living without a good citrus marmalade. Gotta have it. I do not participate in any community canning events, however, my friends and I like to get together and complete several recipes in a day. It's a lot more fun, and less work, to can with friends. My favorite canning memory is of me and my best friend canning for the first time. We made wine jelly. It was such a sense of accomplishment to have such a delicious success on our first attempt. That success hooked us on canning for life. My favorite canning book is Linda J. Amendt's "Blue Ribbon Preserves" It is hard for me to calculate how much money I save by canning since i have only just started. However, I do know that I am now using EVERYTHING that comes out of my garden, and I always have beautiful jars to put in a gift bag for any occassion. And that has to be worth a couple hundred dollars per year!

laurel banks
2/10/2012 5:00:45 PM

I can simply because I want to know exactly what is in the food i eat and how it was grown. By canning i have complete control over what goes into my families food supple. I also know exactly how much there is. I can go in any time and count the jars of the tomato sauce, jam, jelly, pickles, and plan a several months worth of meals. I use only homegrown ingredients (okay, i do buy sugar and salt). It is also a great way to use up the excesses of the summer garden. I woudl guess that i save nearly $1000 by canning. Plus the money i save by not driving to the store very often, and not needing the extra entertainment. I find the pleasures of transforming produce into storable good very enjoyable. Plus, one of my favorite sounds is the ping of a mason jar sealing.

lavada hutchings
2/10/2012 2:06:54 PM

Living in the central valley of Ca. I have had so many experiences with the 'living off the land' and with respect of the Heat here in Fresno. . By Far my best experience was with 'Jerky'. And doing it in the Hot Summer Sun. I used clean, but old Screen window frames, and alot of cheese cloth and Patience. I smothered those strips of beef (cut about 1/4 inch thick) with Fresh ground Pepper after just sprinkling it with a 'Pappies' like bbq powder. It took a few days of carrying those contraptions in and out of the house to keep the 'wild things' from eating my Jerky during the nite. But after it was well dried, it was by far the best Jerky I have ever eaten. This may not fall into the catagory of Canning. But Jerky was the 1st thought of enjoyable self preservation actions by myself. We chewed Jerky all winter. I stored it in air tight jars..

erin hall
2/9/2012 2:54:02 PM

Canning is one more thing we do to live sustainable on our urban farm. We have only a third of an acre but grow half or more of our own produce (the rest I buy at farm markets or barter for). We also keep a micro-herd of nigerian dwarf dairy goats for yogurt and cheese (they live in the backyard with our chickens). I trade eggs and feta and chevre for veggies I don't grow. My most memorable canning experience was when we tapped our two maple trees for syrup last year and canned several quarts of the best maple syrup I have ever tasted. We also did over a hundred pound of tomatoes in one day. This fall we took our goats to an orchard for an apple festival and created a petting pen in exchange for tons of produce. I canned over 6 bushels of orchard fruit that weekend and it was all free. We are pioneers in our city and I am curious to see what more we can do with our lot, butwe're also newbies. I got my canner for my birthday in the spring of 2010. That was the same year we bought our first two does and our first hens. I look to for inspiration. My favorite recipe this year is our elderflower gooseberry jam. I also did some whole pears mulled in wine and cinnamon for the holidays and they are good. With any of my fruits I can whip up dessert in no time by simmering the juice on the stove until it reduces by half, then pouring over the cold fruit and topping with a dollop of whipped cream or fresh yogurt. All of my jars are arranged in a vintage glass front cabinet and I enjoy looking at them all winter long. We save money and time by shopping our freezer and pantry. We eat better daughter doesn't go to the grocery store so she doesn't eat doritos or industrial food. We eat what we make. Anything that she picks from teh garden is exciting to eat. I don't know how much I've saved, but I will say all the "estras" we don't buy since we're not at the store makes up for the initial investment in hundreds of jars and a canner. We use the mason jars for milking too and for storing our feta in brine. I haven't milked since early december and we still have tons of delicious aging cheese in the fridge. I can't imagine living any other way.

john sealander
2/9/2012 8:00:28 AM

I can because I can produce a superior product for less money than I can buy in a grocery store...I know what went into it and it's fun 'cause I've figured out a system that works for me. I can produce that I have grown myself (that's really great for fulfillment and personal satisfaction) as well as purchased produce from a local farmer who charges one half to one quarter the price of grocery store produce if you buy by the bushel. He's not 'organic' but I know him and trust him. I also get supplies from fellow vendors at the farmers market, sometimes for trade or even as a 'gift'.! My favorite 'recipe' is for Sauerkraut and your going to laugh, but it's from the USDA handbook on 'Fermented Foods'. It's not the recipe that counts as much as the type of produce you use. If you can find 'Late Dutch Flat Head' cabbage-a huge oval cabbage- its' amazingly delicious. Sweet, tender and spicy all at the same time. Best 'Kraut' I've ever eaten in my life. I make about 25 pounds every year. I don't join groups so I don't know about them, but I learned by reading the USDA handbook on canning and it works for me. It's all about time and temp. and following directions closely. Self-taught. As a city kid, My favorite memory is when Grandma would come over and pick up Mom and us kids and we would load up in the family sedan and head out into the country. There were fruit and Veggie stands everywhere and Grandma and Mom would haggle with all the growers and fill up the trunk of the sedan...we'd be riding on the rear wheels on the way home! Bushels of tomatoes and cukes and stuff. We didn't wear seat belts, helmets or elbow pads, but nobody died or got injured. It was always a blast in the back seat! But you wanted to hid the next day 'cause it was 4-5 days of hell with steam, and pots and pans and jars and two really fussy women yelling at you if you got 'under foot', but the food was great all winter. I just do a bushel at a time- seven to twelve jars usually and it takes an afternoon, but I spread it out over a season and it's kinda fun! It's especially nice to see those jars start lining up on the shelves in the basement and by fall we're set. If you want to know how to can just go to the USDA site on the internet and learn the science of it. There are tons of books on the subject, but they're kind of variations on a theme-get the basics first, get the books later to refine or pursue special interests. Start buying a case or two of jars every once in a while and save them-it's an investment that will pay off for years to come. I prefer wide mouth quart jars for our size family and they're easier to clean. I found that Wal-Mart consistently had the best prices for 'the hardware'. And once the investment is made, even if you only do a little, you will find its rewarding and beneficial.. I really don't know what we save, but it is probably in the hundreds of dollars per year. Funny thing is that the money isn't that important; it's the fact that the food tastes better, has a better texture and I love to say at dinner, 'I grew this", or "Butch grew this" or '"Honey, Don grew this, what do you think?" Pardon me for getting all drippy and spiritual on you, but isn't that the coolest thing? I think so. I am eating food that I, or my friends and neighbors, have worked and sweated and labored over. You may think I'm crazy, but I can taste 'the love' in food - it's not just the produce itself. Whether it's a prepared meal or a crop-I can tell if the person loved what they were doing. Why would I want to eat food that came from a factory where everyone hated what the were doing just to get the money they needed? Or from a farmer...or from a chef...or even from you wife when she's angry with you? Grow and prepare and eat your food with love, affection and appreciation-it's better for everyone that way. That applies to canning too; you're adding your love and affection to that product so even if you didn't grow it yourself there's a little of your 'soul' in it. That's what makes it special. The secret to canning? Just start.

adam davies
2/9/2012 7:02:41 AM

Why do you can food? Simple, I grow much of the produce we eat, but we need to eat all year, and the harvest seson is short. So I can the surplus. Also, I love Salsa, and hate to buy inferior products, so we make our own, and can it to eat all year long. Do you can only homegrown produce or do you shop the farmers markets and grocery stores for canning ingredients? As I grow on my home site, which is only 1/4 of an acre in size, I can't grow everything I want, so I definately pick up produce from farmers markets, and when a good deal is available, I buy a lot and can that! Favorite food to purchase and freeze...tie between cherries and corn. What is your favorite canning recipe? Fiesta Salsa...the addition of cucumbers really adds a unique kick! What home-canned food can you not live without? Jam...close second would be stock. What is your favorite canning memory? Going into my grandmothers root cellar and seeing all the jars, waiting until some wonderful meal called them out into the light. That root cellar was magical to a young child. How much money would you estimate that you save by canning food? I think a conservative estimate would be in the neighborhood of $750.00 a year.

howard hendricks jr
2/9/2012 5:15:28 AM

Why do you can food? For several reasons: 1)I HATED seeing any of my produce go unused/uneaten. 2)I grew up seeing home canning done and eating such delights as canned figs, huckleberry jam, etc. 3)I really enjoy knowing exactly what is in the things I eat. 4)The results make great gifts. Do you can only homegrown produce or do you shop the farmers markets and grocery stores for canning ingredients? I only can what I grow. What is your favorite canning recipe? There's a very simple recipe for tomato preserves I found on the Internet. What home-canned food can you not live without? I LOVE tomato preserves as well as green tomato pickles and summer squash pickles. Do you participate in any community canning events or gatherings? If so, how do they work? Not so far What is your favorite canning memory? Giving home canned goods away as gifts and the positive reactions of recipients have made some very good memories. What is your favorite canning cookbook or website? None in particular How much money would you estimate that you save by canning food? That would be hard to say, but I haven't bought pickles or preserves in years!

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