DIY





Home Canning Away From Home

Learn how a community canning center can bring fun into the kitchen and help save money.

| July/August 1977

With food prices going up and up and up, lots of people who've always bought canned goods at the store are beginning to wonder if it isn't less expensive to grow their own and can it themselves. And, of course, that's exactly what some of us have been doing for years ... and, yes, the practice does save us a lot of money.

To be truthful about the matter, however, "do it yourself" canning can sometimes be a drag. When several bushels of green beans or a small mountain of apricots ripen all at once, the mere thought of "putting by" such a quantity of produce can be slightly overwhelming. Or maybe you just can't face the idea of heating up the house that much on an already-hot summer day ... or you simply don't have equipment big enough to handle the job ... or you just don't know how to go about the task.

No sweat! At one time or another, most of us home canners have faced all those problems. And many of us have solved them all quite easily and all at once ... by doing our home canning away from home!

Community Canning Center

I don't know who originally thought up the idea of the community canning center — or canning kitchen or custom cannery, as they're called in some areas — but that individual knew exactly what he or she was doing. By putting heavy-duty washing, peeling, capping, cooking, and cooling equipment all together in one spot and then charging a small fee for the use of the "plant," our nameless inventor made it possible for almost any family to quickly, safely, and easily preserve as much or as little of its own produce as it wants ... and at a substantial savings over supermarket prices.



The idea probably reached its height of popularity during the Second World War when almost every family, it seemed, tended a Victory Garden. At the time, some 3,800 canning kitchens were in operation around the country. The number steadily dwindled during the boom that lasted from the mid-40's to about 1970 ... when the livin' was easy and a large percentage of our population grew accustomed to eating out of a grocery cart instead of a backyard vegetable patch. Now that the economic squeezes of the 70's have pushed so many of us into planting "inflation gardens," however, the custom cannery is coming back all over again.

It's a Matter of Dollars and Sense

Our family's a big one, we all like chili, and the batch of this food we put up last fall is as good an example as any of the savings that a community canning center can help you make.






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