The Benefits of Home Canning


The Benefits of Home Canning

Canning food in your own home is a safe and rewarding process that is becoming popular again as food prices soar and people realize they need to pay attention to securing their food supplies. Preserving food with home canning is an excellent way to increase your consumption of local food. Eating locally requires eating foods when they are in season, and canning allows you to capture the bounty of any particular crop in season and extend its availability throughout the year.

You can approach home canning as a hobbyist or a full-time enthusiast who stocks a sizeable percentage of his or her food supply with home preserved food. Whether you want to enjoy a couple fun weekend projects putting up jam or seriously supplement your diet, you will enjoy many personal benefits while being a better steward to the environment and supporting your local economy. And the way things are going with the global food market, you will likely save money as well, especially as time goes on.

Your home canned foods will be stored in jars that you can use again and again, unlike the throw-away packaging from grocery store food.

At Canning Local, I'll introduce you to the many benefits of home canning and offer guidance on how to safely can food in your home.

How preserving food at home helps you:

Excellent quality and taste – When you use quality produce and perform the canning process correctly, you will create superior products to those for sale at the supermarket. Many recipes for home canned food are delicious and literally the quality is something that money can't buy. You have to make these luscious foods yourself.

Control over the ingredients – With home canning, you will know exactly where your food is coming from. Ideal sources of produce are your own garden and fruit trees, local organic farms, and any local farm. From any of these sources you will be able to hand select your produce at the peak of ripeness. With home canning you will also reduce your exposure to Bisphenol A that lines the cans of many mass produced food products. Bisphenol A is an endocrine disruptor and people are becoming increasingly aware of its potential harm to humans.

Support of the local economy – By directly buying produce from local growers, you are putting money into the hands of local people. Local growers love selling from their own farms or market stands because they are not at the mercy of the big commodity buyers who set prices. This also allows local growers, especially small ones, to remain profitable, which is good for the local economy.

Lower your carbon dioxide footprint – Great amounts of energy are used to produce and transport the food eaten by society. Highly industrialized agriculture also relies on pesticides, herbicides, and petrochemical fertilizers. All of these things are bad for the environment and degrade the ability of soils to produce food in the future, which means greater scarcity, lower quality, and higher commodity prices. When you buy local food and can it at home, you are eliminating a huge percentage of the transport costs from burned fuel associated with shipping food across continents. Yes, home canning requires an energy input, but it does not compare to food being trucked halfway across the country to stock a shelf in a store. Reducing the amount of food you eat from distant places reduces the amount of fuel you are causing to be burned. Also when buying local food, try to focus on those growers who use sustainable growing practices that do not poison the environment.

Sense of accomplishment – Once you begin canning food, you will be thrilled with yourself. You will feel like you did something very meaningful to your existence because you did! For most of human history most people focused a great deal of time and energy on securing their food supplies. I'm not suggesting we all go back to digging for roots in the field, but people in general have a deep need to participate in the gathering and preparation of food. Sitting in an SUV for drive-through fast food does not satisfy. It only promotes outrageous energy consumption for low quality products.

Now that you are ready to do some work in the kitchen and participate in food preservation, you need to understand the basics of home canning. The process is a little intimidating at first, but after a couple canning projects, you will feel much more comfortable doing it. There are safety considerations with home canning, but these are all satisfied by following the directions associated with any particular home canning project. The manufacturers of Mason jars (which are the essential product needed for safe home canning) offer great information on how to can food at home, and many university agriculture departments and the USDA offer very reliable information on this subject as well. Additionally, numerous books and websites are devoted to home canning. With a little studying and practice, you will quickly possess the skills to become a satisfied home canner who is putting up wonderful, locally grown food.