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Canning 101

Canning History

There are so many different reasons to start canning, maybe you want to learn more about making your own jam just out of curiosity or, you think homemade things just taste so much better that things from the grocery store. My reasoning is learning how to reduce my waste and carbon footprint and make my produce that is in season or grown from my yard, last all year. Not to mention, saving tedious trips to the store!

Canning is a fairly new development in ways to preserve food. People were not canning until around the 18th century,  but had different ways of preserving food, like drying, salting, and fermenting.

Canning for the environment

Living a zero waste lifestyle, I have been super interested in learning how to can my own food. It seems like a great way to reduce my food waste. Reducing packaging and using reusable container is also a huge pro in my book. Canning used to be what our grandmas and great grandmas did through the summer to have food ready and stored for the winter. It’s just what you did, there were limited options other than that. That all changed with the up roar of plastic packaging and easy access to canned food in stores. People started steering away from canning and preserving food and switched to the more convenient option of buying canned food at the store. Now that plastic packaging and single use packaging are normalized, people are starting to consider going back to the “old ways” of canning and sustainable living.

After I learned more and more about canning, I realized that canning went hand and hand with living a zero waste lifestyle and was almost a necessity to try and reduce our waste.

Where to Start?

My first question was “how do you can?” after reading countless websites, pinterest pages, articles, recipes and watching the occasional YouTube video, I feel like I know enough to start canning, or at least trying to. Here is what I learned.

There are two different types of canning, water bath canning and pressure canning. To decide which type of canning is best for you, you have to start with decided what you are going to can. The most common type of canning is water bath canning. You’ll see water bath canning with pickles, fruits, fruit juices, jams, and condiments. Pressure canning is for meats, seafood, and salsa, this is because the temperature in this process gets up to 240 degrees which is necessary to kill any foodborne illnesses with these foods.

No matter what you choose to can, it is very important to sanitize your jar that you are going to use to preserve your food in. You can sanitize your jar by giving it a boiling water bath and always start with new lids to ensure that you will always get a proper seal. After your sanitize your jar, place it on a clean towel. Now you can move on to filling the jars! The best part.

My Favorite Canning Recipes

The first thing I canned this week was white peaches. Peaches and nectarines are some of my favorite fruits and I wait for them all year long, nothing can beat a fresh juicy peach outside on a warm summer day. To can peaches is fairly simple. First, you cut your peaches whatever shape you prefer. You can dice them or slice them. I chose to slice them so they can hold their shape a little bit better. After slicing your peaches prepare a simple syrup using one part water, and one part water and one part sugar. I also added a splash of vanilla extract from added flavor. Place your peaches in the jar and fill with simple syrup leaving space at the top. Screw the lid on tightly and place in boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Place your jar back on the towel and don’t touch for 24 hours. After that your all set! Congratulations! You just canned peaches!

Canned Peaches

1 large peach

½ cup sugar

½ cup water

Splash of vanilla

This next recipe I use during the summer is watermelon jelly. watermelon goes  pretty fast in our house, but I usually buy a watermelon to make this jelly so we can have that natural watermelon flavor all year long. Start by blending watermelon to a puree in blender. Simmer watermelon, then add sugar, cornstarch and vinegar. Simmer until thick, transfer to jar. Put lid on, and place in boiling water for 10 minutes. Place on towel and leave for 24 hours. Place in fridge enjoy on toast!

Watermelon Jelly

1 cup watermelon

¾ cup sugar

1 ½ tbsp cornstarch

Splash of vinegar

Thanks so much for reading! I hope you are inspired to try something new and make something delicious.


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