Emergency Food – Growing and Canning Your Own

Planning for any emergency can mean the difference between life and death. One of the most important things the human body needs for survival is food. Some disasters may totally wipe out the food supply in any given area, leaving nothing for survivors to eat. Families can prepare themselves for an emergency by keeping a supply of canned foods.

An adequate supply can be accomplished by growing a garden and canning the food produced. Growing and canning food is an inexpensive way to ensure your family’s survival, even in the most trying times. Home canned food also tastes much better than commercially canned food. Canning food is preferable over freezing food because in the event of an emergency, it is very likely power will not be available. This could result in a freezer full of food spoiling and thus depleting the emergency food store.

Nearly everything that grows from a garden or fruit tree can be preserved in a canning jar for several years. Canning is relatively easy to do. Many families get together and make a day out of canning a particular crop. This makes it an enjoyable experience while accomplishing a lot of work. The initial investment for canning is very low. The best part about canning equipment is it can be reused for several years or longer.

A family will need to invest in a pressure canner. These can be anywhere from 100 to 300 hundred dollars. A water bath canner is available but not recommended. Pressure canners are the best option as they can be used to can all fruits and vegetables. Water bath canning can only be used with a small number of fruits, and it cuts down the amount of time the food can be stored. Canning jars will also be needed. These are available in several different sizes. You can never have enough canning jars. Jars bought new in boxes will come with bands and lids. However, if you are using jars from previous years, you may need to buy new bands and lids. Lids should only be used new, never reuse them. There are numerous other utensils like jar tongs, strainers and funnels that can help make the canning process easier as well.

Once the equipment is purchased, you are ready to start canning your homegrown fruits and vegetables. Standard procedure for most vegetables is to blanch it before it is canned. This means after you have washed the vegetables, they are placed in a pot of boiling water for about five minutes. The vegetables are removed from the boiling water and immediately placed in an ice water bath for the same amount of time they boiled. This process helps kill off any spores on the food while preserving the taste. Most fruits are canned with the same process. It is imperative all the bacteria and spores are killed before the food is canned. If this is not done properly, the food will spoil and potentially become deadly if eaten.

Canning your own food allows you to decide whether or not you want salt or sugar added. Most homegrown fruits and vegetables have plenty of flavor without any additives, but it is a personal preference decision. Fruits and vegetables will need to be stored in some type of liquid. Boiled water is standard, but you can add salt for veggies or make a syrup for fruits if desired.

Follow the directions that were included with the pressure canner to determine how long your canned food will need to be cooked and the pressure it needs to be kept at. Once the canning process is completed, check to ensure each jar sealed correctly. This is done by pressing on the lid. If it springs up and down it is not sealed correctly and cannot be stored. Label and date each jar and place in a cool, dark storage area.