When I casually mentioned canning to my husband, he was completely against it. Years ago, when we were first married and flat out broke, inspired by Amy Dacyczyn, we tried canning. It was a miserable experience, especially since the tomatoes we spent all day canning didn’t turn out. We gave up rather quickly.
Now, we have three kids, and groceries are regularly running us about $500 to $600 a month because of our numerous food intolerances, our desire to avoid food dyes, and our desire to eat mostly organic produce.
Honestly, I hate going to the grocery store, which is one of the reasons I have organic produce delivered to our home, which isn’t cheap. Thankfully, our CSA will begin soon. I relish the idea of having most of my food preserved in the freezer and in canning jars so I don’t have to go to the grocery store that often.
More and more, I have a desire to know exactly what is going into my food. Canning and freezing food lets me control what I feed my family.
I experimented yesterday with this yummy Strawberry Jam without sugar or pectin and it was delicious. That will be the first item I can this season.
When I told my husband I found a great deal on canning supplies, he was not pleased. He begrudgingly went with me to pick up the supplies.
He is sure this will be a disaster.
I, on the other hand, think if it doesn’t work out, I can just sell it all on Craigslist for the same price I bought it for.
So, here it is. I got all of this–48 quart jars, 108 pint jars, and 16 quilted 6 oz. and 12 oz. jelly jars in addition to the water bath canning pot–for $100. It works out to about .50 a jar. If I enjoy canning, the price for these items will decrease each year that I use them, making my investment a better one.
Now, let’s hope I do enjoy canning, so my husband doesn’t get to gloat. 🙂
If you can, what are your favorite foods to preserve?
You hit the motherload! I’ve been planning to get into canning after growing up with a dad who was great about growing our own food and canning it. We would also go to NC periodically and get tons of apples and he would can them. If I remember correctly, he didn’t cook them first – just put them in, sometimes with cinnamon, cloves (or in a moment of inspiration cinnamon red hot candy). They were always perfect – cooked, but still a bit firm. BTW – his tomato sauce didn’t work out either. There was a “tragic” ending with lids that came off and permanently stained walls.
I am impressed that it was your dad who did the canning. 🙂 His applesauce recipes sounds like it wasn’t too much work.
You should give it a go again. I don’t can, but my young accountant daughter does for her family. (She also gardens, even in our large metro area.) She has great success canning cukes for pickles, tomatoes, green beans etc. You have made a good first investment with your supplies, which will pay for themselves quickly. Don’t let your first try at canning discourage you!
Thanks for the encouragement!
Money Beagle says
Good luck. Sticking with it will likely be the biggest challenge, so hopefully you have the motivation to stick with it for the long term.
Jana @ Daily Money Shot says
Best of luck with this! I do not can, mainly because I’m terrified of the mess I’d make. I think it’s a great idea…just not for me.
Yeah, the mess is not so great. 🙂
I love reading this blog. She does a ton of canning and has a really cool canning pantry in her basement! 🙂 Can’t wait to see how it turns out, I want to do this too!
Thanks for the recommendation. I’ll check it out!
Renee R. says
Canned potatoes are delicious! I enjoy the regular pickeled onions, pickles, beets, etc. I love doing asparagus, tomatoes, and I’m hoping to grow and dry out my own herbs so that I have fresh herbs all year round (knowing where they’ve come from) and I don’t have to pay roughly $3-$4.00/jar for them. Fabulous!
How do you pickle the beets? I think they are coming in our CSA in two weeks.
I think you got a great price. The hotwater bath pot alone is about $35 to $70 depending on how big it is. Once you start and things turn out right you will be addicited. We try to can all we can. Our favorite is applesauce. Easier than you think and our kids have not had store bought (even organic) in years. They won’t touch it. We are getting ready to try some new things this year. I made a trade with the neighbor down the street a few years ago and got a brand new never been used pressure canner for trading boys clothes. We had to wait to get a grill because you can’t pressure can on an electric stove top. Now we are all set to do veggies this year. Let us know how you do.
Applesauce is definitely on my list, though it seems like a lot of work. Do you peel your apples first?
Yes we do peel them. My MIL gave me a crank peeler that cores at the same time so we save lots of labor that way. When we do applesauce thought we do about 20 to 30 quarts at a time.
Any particular tool you would recommend? I think my husband wants no part of canning, so I will be on my own with my two year old. 🙂 (Maybe he’ll come around after this year.)
I like this tool because it clamps to the table and won’t fall over during use. and you can talk the kids into turning the handle for you. Norpro Apple Mate 1. Just look it up on amazon. If you swagbuck youcan get the gift cards and have this for free in no time.
Thanks! That looks affordable and like it will save time!
I really hope you have success with this. I am planning on canning for the first time this summer. Thank you for posting that recipe as well, we have an apple tree that is doing very well, so this will be a great use for the apples, and no added sugar, BONUS!!!
Can’t wait to see another post, hopefully with some success in it. Good luck!
I’d love it if you share any recipes you have had luck with too.
Poor to Rich a Day at a Time says
Don’t sell it on craigslist! Sell it to meeeeeeeeeeeeeee! LOL
I am going to be making jellies, canning and freezing this year too! Funny I have not canned anything since leaving home at 17! As kids we helped my mom all the time but I have never done it all on my own! I have used the blanching and freezing and made jelly once but not canning!
Good luck on a marvelous canning turnout this year! hmmmmmm maybe we could hold a beginner canners challenge contest? LOL
A beginners’ canning contest sounds great. 🙂 We could motivate each other.
I love peaches. Super easy and they taste so yum.
Amanda L Grossman says
I’m rooting for you! I have thought about canning in the past, but have yet to try.
Yeah, it is a little intimidating. 🙂
I am starting to can this year as well. I am trying to get away from store bought canned food because of the PBA in them. My friend and I are both having gardens and will split the canning expenses as well. It is definitely a new endevour but one I am looking forward to
Sounds like a great idea! Let me know how it works for you.
Interesting idea, I look forward to hearing how it works out! As a stay at home mom, it could end up being something you and your kids can do together for fun (or you could do just to work with your hands and have some mental free time). I hope it does work out and your investment pays off (and your husband has to say you were right ;)).
Yes, I am home alone with my two year old 3 days a week, and she likes to pull up a chair beside me when I prepare food at the counter, so she should enjoy this too (I hope!)
Crystal @ Prairie Ecothrifter says
Best of luck with this new attempt! I completely understand not wanting to prove naysayers right, so here is to being stubborn enough to enjoy it no matter what!
Canning is a lost art to us this side of the pond – but I am a serious salsa addict and having scored some cheap tomatoes made just 6 jars of spicy salsa as my first experiment.
Others have followed suit and made some – now I just have to find “proper” jars over here because I would love to add my own produce to my store cupboard.
Mind you – I am happily pootling along every weekend making scaled back recipes (just a jar or two) of other lovely jams, jellies and preserves,
Keep us posted as to how you get on
Cathy E says
We can a ton of stuff each year, specifically tomatoes, salsa, green beans and carrots. We have a pressure canner and it is a life saver! It is my mother-in-law’s (she doesn’t can anymore) and while it is old, was well cared for and we replace the seal at our local hardware store as needed. It may sound scary to use a pressure canner, but if you can find a good used one and replace the seal, it’s week worth the money. Try to find someone to help you the first time you can something, whether it’s with the water bath or pressure canner. I’d be glad to help if you need it via email! We have saved so much money, plus we know exactly what we are eating. I also freeze a lot (corn, freezer jam, spinach, etc). The salsa we use is a great ingredient to taco and enchilada meat, chili, etc. So handy to have around! Also, do small batches to start, that way if you have problems, you won’t have a lot of waste.
Thanks for the advice. I’ll be sure to contact you if I need help! I have considered buying a pressure canner off Craigslist, but they kind of freak me out. I have heard too many stories of them exploding; still, for some veggies and fruit, it might be a necessity.