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Discussion Starter #1
I think its awesome!! When I lived in Virgina my MIL's MIL canned but only because they grew potatoes and got deer meat butured and such...but I do not have a garden, I cannot grow potatoes and such and I do not like deer and have no idea if I can find a whole of some animal and have it butured. She also canned a lot of green beans because she grew them and they were amazing but again I have no where to grow anything.

So is canning worth it for me??? Is it expensive??? What types of things do you can??
 

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I just canned my first can a couple months ago!! It's super easy :) I used the internet to find out how, what I needed, etc. I canned apple butter.

I bought a whole bag of apples and they were not very yummy. So, instead of throwing them out, I figured I could make something out of it. I used the crockpot and made the apple butter. We have 2 cans left and it is so yummy on homemade biscuits.
 

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Hi Ashley,
I learned everything from this wonderful site:

http://www.pickyourown.org//allaboutcanning.htm

It has general canning know how, instructions to
can most anything with step by step pictures.
It also has freezing and dehydrating instructions.
There is a wealth of information here and I love
this site!

Look around the site more as it is a "pick your own"
site and you may be able to put in your city and
state and it may have a list of places where you
could go and do this. If there is a place there
to contact them, do so and ask about this for
your area. Check for a local farmer's market.

Good luck to you.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for that website!!! There are so many pick your own farms around here. None are open this time of the year though :(

What about meats??? Do any of you can meats?

And none of those farms have potatoes either. :(
 

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Why don't you start with fruit, that way you only need to process it in boiling water. When you get into meats and vegetables you will need a pressure canner and it can get expensive in a hurry.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I have helped can potatoes and meats before when DH got a deer. My MIL and her MIL showed me and gave me a pressure canner. Its in storage though, lol.
 

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Canning can be very rewarding and tasty, but it's also one of the more expensive ways to preserve food these days- especially if you have to purchase all your canning supplies and purchase the food you need to can. http://www.ca.uky.edu/hes/fcs/factshts/FN-SSB.109.pdf

As the price for gas/electricity/propane go up, so does the cost of home canning. When you do your canning in the heat of the summer, you also have additional expense from heating the canner AND cooling the house because of the extra heat in the house.

Check with some of your "older" friends who have the equipment, but don't use it anymore, and get your jars and equipment for free or cheap. Just use caution with really old jars that have been in storage - especially stored in a garage or shed, where temperatures range from extremely hot to extremely cold. Tempered canning jars get brittle with age and from being heat processed over and over. These jars tend to break easier during processing. Always take care removing jars from the canner and don't knock the jars into each other.

Old mayonnaise jars are considered "single-use" jars, but can be used in home canning, just NOT in a pressure canner. These jars tend to break because the glass is not tempered like canning jars, and it's also thinner. Check the rim of all jars to make sure there are NO chips or cracks.

***Don't ever forget, home canning is also potentially deadly if you don't practice good home canning food safety rules. As a certified teacher, I'd suggest you take a class. Check the County Cooperative Extension Service in your area and see if they are giving classes. The Extension Service will also have free, up-to-date, home canning information and TESTED recipes. They generally give this information out for free.

There are more kinds of deadly bacteria, and stronger kinds of bacteria, than even 20 years ago, so it's important to use TESTED, up-to-date recipes for safe canning. Don't use old, untested canning methods, or old recipes.

-Know what your altitude is before you begin to can. Since boiling temperatures are lower at higher altitudes, you have to adjust processing times according to altitude. Not doing so can lead to products that are under-processed, which can lead to bacteria growth in home canned foods. As an example, I live in Kansas, the state that is considered FLAT! Altitudes in Kansas range from 75 ft. to 4,039 ft. above seal level. So much for "flat".

-It's important to sanitize your kitchen before you start canning. Start with a good cleaning and CLEAN dish cloths and dish rags. A spritz bottle with 1-quart of water and 1 t. bleach in it is a good sanitizer. Make sure you wipe down all kitchen surfaces, including the refrigerator door handle and door/drawer pulls (which tend to hide a lot of bacteria from many hands using them). Be sure to sterilize your canning equipment (funnel, bubble remover, cutting boards, knives, spoons, tongs, etc.) before using them for canning.

-Don't eat or smoke while canning. The hand-to-mouth contact can transfer bacteria to foods and prep. surfaces. Keep the kids and pets out of the kitchen. Boiling water and hot jars are dangerous. Avoid cross-contamination, especially when working with meats.

-If you have a flat-top electric range, it's recommended that you NOT use them for home canning. The canner can fuse to these surfaces using the high temperatures needed for canning. Check the manufacturer instructions about canning on your particular range. Make sure you have a burner large enough to hold a canner.

-Half-gallon jars are no longer suggested for canning, other than acidic fruit juice (and only the juice) - apple and grape juice.

-FREE food is the most cost effective. Free-for-the-picking fruit is available all over town if you keep your eyes open. It's amazing how many people don't use the fruit from the trees in their own back yards, so I ask if they don't mind if I pick from them. I always offer them a portion of what I pick. End-of-the-season tomatoes are often free if you are willing to pick it.

-If you grow your own produce, you need to factor in the cost of your garden - tools, water, seeds, plants, fertilizer, etc. along with cost of canning.

-Don't can more food than you are likely to use in one years time. If you don't use a pint of apple butter per week, then don't can 52 jars, when 6 or 12 will do. You are wasting energy and effort by canning more than you can realistically use.

-Never double the recipe, it can change the pH. Avoid altering ingredients in recipes (unless it specifies you can do so) or you may end up altering pH.

-Begin with good-quality FRESH food picked at the peak of maturity. Can produce within 6-12-hours after harvest. For apricots, nectarines, peaches, pears, and plums, allow them to "ripen" one or more days between harvest and canning.

-Headspace - The unfilled space above the food in a jar and below it's lid is called headspace. Make sure you know how much headspace is needed for each kind of food you are processing, and allow that much space. This space is needed for expansion of food as jars are processed, and for forming a vacuum in cooled jars.

-Store home canned foods between 50°F and 70°F. If you store it in higher temperatures, the texture of the food will alter, and the nutrients will degrade. Keep canned food away from moisture, heat, and light.

-Hot-packing food is suggested over raw-packing. Hot-packing helps to remove more air bubbles from your jars and is the preferred method.

That's just scratching the surface of things you will learn in a home canning class. For more information:

http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/publications/publications_usda.html
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Canning can be very rewarding and tasty, but it's also one of the more expensive ways to preserve food these days- especially if you have to purchase all your canning supplies and purchase the food you need to can. http://www.ca.uky.edu/hes/fcs/factshts/FN-SSB.109.pdf

As the price for gas/electricity/propane go up, so does the cost of home canning. When you do your canning in the heat of the summer, you also have additional expense from heating the canner AND cooling the house because of the extra heat in the house.

Check with some of your "older" friends who have the equipment, but don't use it anymore, and get your jars and equipment for free or cheap. Just use caution with really old jars that have been in storage - especially stored in a garage or shed, where temperatures range from extremely hot to extremely cold. Tempered canning jars get brittle with age and from being heat processed over and over. These jars tend to break easier during processing. Always take care removing jars from the canner and don't knock the jars into each other.

Old mayonnaise jars are considered "single-use" jars, but can be used in home canning, just NOT in a pressure canner. These jars tend to break because the glass is not tempered like canning jars, and it's also thinner. Check the rim of all jars to make sure there are NO chips or cracks.

***Don't ever forget, home canning is also potentially deadly if you don't practice good home canning food safety rules. As a certified teacher, I'd suggest you take a class. Check the County Cooperative Extension Service in your area and see if they are giving classes. The Extension Service will also have free, up-to-date, home canning information and TESTED recipes. They generally give this information out for free.

There are more kinds of deadly bacteria, and stronger kinds of bacteria, than even 20 years ago, so it's important to use TESTED, up-to-date recipes for safe canning. Don't use old, untested canning methods, or old recipes.

-Know what your altitude is before you begin to can. Since boiling temperatures are lower at higher altitudes, you have to adjust processing times according to altitude. Not doing so can lead to products that are under-processed, which can lead to bacteria growth in home canned foods. As an example, I live in Kansas, the state that is considered FLAT! Altitudes in Kansas range from 75 ft. to 4,039 ft. above seal level. So much for "flat".

-It's important to sanitize your kitchen before you start canning. Start with a good cleaning and CLEAN dish cloths and dish rags. A spritz bottle with 1-quart of water and 1 t. bleach in it is a good sanitizer. Make sure you wipe down all kitchen surfaces, including the refrigerator door handle and door/drawer pulls (which tend to hide a lot of bacteria from many hands using them). Be sure to sterilize your canning equipment (funnel, bubble remover, cutting boards, knives, spoons, tongs, etc.) before using them for canning.

-Don't eat or smoke while canning. The hand-to-mouth contact can transfer bacteria to foods and prep. surfaces. Keep the kids and pets out of the kitchen. Boiling water and hot jars are dangerous. Avoid cross-contamination, especially when working with meats.

-If you have a flat-top electric range, it's recommended that you NOT use them for home canning. The canner can fuse to these surfaces using the high temperatures needed for canning. Check the manufacturer instructions about canning on your particular range. Make sure you have a burner large enough to hold a canner.

-Half-gallon jars are no longer suggested for canning, other than acidic fruit juice (and only the juice) - apple and grape juice.

-FREE food is the most cost effective. Free-for-the-picking fruit is available all over town if you keep your eyes open. It's amazing how many people don't use the fruit from the trees in their own back yards, so I ask if they don't mind if I pick from them. I always offer them a portion of what I pick. End-of-the-season tomatoes are often free if you are willing to pick it.

-If you grow your own produce, you need to factor in the cost of your garden - tools, water, seeds, plants, fertilizer, etc. along with cost of canning.

-Don't can more food than you are likely to use in one years time. If you don't use a pint of apple butter per week, then don't can 52 jars, when 6 or 12 will do. You are wasting energy and effort by canning more than you can realistically use.

-Never double the recipe, it can change the pH. Avoid altering ingredients in recipes (unless it specifies you can do so) or you may end up altering pH.

-Begin with good-quality FRESH food picked at the peak of maturity. Can produce within 6-12-hours after harvest. For apricots, nectarines, peaches, pears, and plums, allow them to "ripen" one or more days between harvest and canning.

-Headspace - The unfilled space above the food in a jar and below it's lid is called headspace. Make sure you know how much headspace is needed for each kind of food you are processing, and allow that much space. This space is needed for expansion of food as jars are processed, and for forming a vacuum in cooled jars.

-Store home canned foods between 50°F and 70°F. If you store it in higher temperatures, the texture of the food will alter, and the nutrients will degrade. Keep canned food away from moisture, heat, and light.

-Hot-packing food is suggested over raw-packing. Hot-packing helps to remove more air bubbles from your jars and is the preferred method.

That's just scratching the surface of things you will learn in a home canning class. For more information:

http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/publications/publications_usda.html
Wow!!! THANKS!!!!
 

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If you want to can potatoes it's not really a good time of year. I don't grow them, but I buy them for extremely cheap in the fall when the harvest first comes in and can them. It's good, because now I don't have to worry about buying a bag of rotten potatoes in the spring, I just use the canned.

You always want to use the freshest ingredients, so it's not a good time to start canning most of the produce you buy at the store. A lot of it has probably been in storage for months.

I don't like canned meats, but I pressure can soup stock now instead of freezing it. It would be cheaper to freeze, but I got sick of chicken stock knocking me on the head every time I opened the door.

Bring your canner out of storage when you move. Do you have jars? That can be expensive, you can try freecycle although I know our local board always has way more people looking for jars than giving them. It's probably too late to find them in stores (on the other hand, if you do they might be marked down). You should wait until after the move though, I wouldn't want to be moving a bunch of jars of food. They might get dropped or damaged (not to mention they are heavy).

Do you like pickles? Really easy, and if you have a balcony on your new place you can grow bush cucumbers in a pot. You can grow potatoes in a garbage can too if you have the space.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Yeah everything I want to can I cannot really get right now. I will start buying from the you pick it farms. Yum! I don't have jars and I know they are expensive, but its not like they get tossed out. They will always be re-useable. I do not have a balcony but I have a yard. I can always plan herbs and stuff like that, but actually making a garden I don't think so. And I do like pickles :)

If you want to can potatoes it's not really a good time of year. I don't grow them, but I buy them for extremely cheap in the fall when the harvest first comes in and can them. It's good, because now I don't have to worry about buying a bag of rotten potatoes in the spring, I just use the canned.

You always want to use the freshest ingredients, so it's not a good time to start canning most of the produce you buy at the store. A lot of it has probably been in storage for months.

I don't like canned meats, but I pressure can soup stock now instead of freezing it. It would be cheaper to freeze, but I got sick of chicken stock knocking me on the head every time I opened the door.

Bring your canner out of storage when you move. Do you have jars? That can be expensive, you can try freecycle although I know our local board always has way more people looking for jars than giving them. It's probably too late to find them in stores (on the other hand, if you do they might be marked down). You should wait until after the move though, I wouldn't want to be moving a bunch of jars of food. They might get dropped or damaged (not to mention they are heavy).

Do you like pickles? Really easy, and if you have a balcony on your new place you can grow bush cucumbers in a pot. You can grow potatoes in a garbage can too if you have the space.
 

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I can food now and have for many years. It was one of the first things I helped my mom do in the kitchen. The easiest is jams and jellies which I do with fresh picked fruit every year. I used to get peaches, blackberries, and strawberries from my yard. Now that I live in the city, I am not sure how I am going to get fruit. Sure as heck ain't gonna get it at the grocery store. They are awfully proud of their fresh produce.

I have purchased large containers of food from Sam's brought them home and re-canned them into smaller containers. Tomatoes specifically works well with this process. Although, I would only do this after you are really comfortable with the process.

I will be attempting to grow some things on my patio this year, although I get no direct sunlight at any point during the day, It also dosen't get very good ventilation so I am not expecting much.

If you are near the farms that actually produce the stuff you buy in the store you can get seconds fairly cheap. I got "canning maters" last year for $6 a bushel. They were ripe which meant they couldn't sell them to the stores as they had only a few days shelf life. Other food with a short shelf life can be done the same way. As a general rule, we always made sure to have the food in cans within a day of harvest.

I would only suggest meats when you get really comfortable with the Jams and Jellies. If you Jam or Jelly goes bad it will have mold on top. Very obvious to tell. The meat on the other hand not so easy.

I agree with Grainlady check with friends and neighbors for your jars. A lot of the jars that I use came from folks who didn't bother canning anymore. I took them home and cleaned them out. I got pointers if you want them. I also buy a couple of dozen jars each season to make up for ones that broke( because I dropped it) or that I gave away.

I have never had any jar explode in the pressure cooker. I was always told that if you put the lid on too tight, it will cause the bottoms to come out of the jars. It makes sense because the pressure has to come out somewhere.

For the rings and flats, you can sometimes find those at Wal-mart on clearance at the end of the season. I have gotten the best deals from my local country stores though. Don't cheap out on these. Yes the dollar store has them, but spend a extra few cents and get a name brand. You don't want all that effort lost because you save 3 cents on a lid.

The only thing we put in half gallons only gets better with age. ;-)

Lastly, I don't know how much you will be canning, but I keep 2 full size pressure canners in use and 1 brand new one, just in case. I also keep extra weights and seals.

Nothing worse than spending the weekend picking green beans, stringing, breaking, packing into jars only to realize that its going to take you 2 days to process all the jars. 2 canners really pay off at those times.

Good Luck!!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks so much for the awesome tips!!! I will definitally start with Jams and Jellys!
 

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We've never bought jars new. You can get them at garage sales, free cycle, craigslist, ebay, estate sales..etc
 

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I have canned for years now...check with salvage stores for lids...I paid a fraction of normal cost there... and this was my first year for canning salsa....I made 32 jars thinking they would last for the whole winter...well my grown dd's found them.....they were gone in the first month...absolutely fabulous.. peaches, pears, green beans, apple pie filling and tomatoes are my favorite. I have also canned tuna when I was able to get it for a reasonable price. Everything home canned is better than bought!!!
 

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Frugalfoster, have you posted your salsa recipe anywhere? I've never found a homemade one that I liked.

A - you can plant lots of things in containers. My cucumbers do much better in a pot than in the ground.
 
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