Canning has been a tradition dating back to the 1800s. It’s nothing new. You may have seen your grandma or aunts canning in the kitchen growing up, or jars lining the counter around peak canning times or the holidays. Well, canning is catching on for all generations, especially millennials. Below are five reasons why you should embrace the trend and start canning this year:
It saves money
Canned fruits and vegetables may seem inexpensive on the shelf, but they add up quickly. And don’t even get us started on the costs of jarred sauces, salsas and jams. By taking the time to can your own, you can save your budget for other things. Heirloom or expensive vegetables can cost upwards of $4 a jar – by purchasing those items and canning them on your own, you can enjoy distinctive flavors year-round for a fraction of the cost.
Stop eying that fancy jam on the shelf – you can make your own!
It’s better for you, your family and the environment
Many commercially canned products contain preservatives, additional salt or other chemicals – things your family want to avoid. By properly preserving and canning, you can remove the added chemicals, salt, sugar and aspartame. Additionally, while many of us try our best to recycle, a lot of those aluminum cans end up in a landfill. By reusing canning jars, which can be refilled and used for multiple recipes or crafts once you are finished with them, you are helping the planet.
It’s easier than you think
Canning may seem intimidating, but the basics are easy to understand. There are lots of guides out there, from trusted authorities such as The National Center for Home Food Preservation or Ball Canning. Make sure to follow the recipes that have been tested by scientists to make sure your end product is delicious and can safely be enjoyed for up to a year after processing. We recommend starting with a simple fruit jam or pickles. There’s specific equipment that makes it easier to can, but a large stockpot, jars, lids and bands are all you need to get started with water-bath canning.
It’s a great tradition and a life skill
Canning can become a family tradition, spending time in the kitchen over the summer or holidays, and many hands make light work. Learning how to can is a lifelong skill you can pass along to family and friends, so start learning how now! You’ll be surprised at how handy it can be.
Home-canned goods make great gifts
Looking for an alternative to the holiday cookie basket you give out every year? Unsure of what to tuck into a bag for a quick thank-you gift? A stockpile of canned jams, preserves or other treats will hit the spot and show the recipient how much you care more than a store-bought gift. Small jars of jams or jelly are ideal for large groups of gifts that can get expensive quickly.
As we head into the holidays, it’s a great time to start canning! If you are making a holiday feast for friends and family, consider an alternative to the cranberry sauce on the shelf and can your own.