Home Canning- A Frugal, Healthy, Convenient, Safe and Fun Hobby!

Home canning dates back centuries. While the formal process is a relatively recent invention because of the process of pasteurization, ancient civilizations discovered various ways that would preserve food without the food turning rotten or deadly from age. Often this would involve salting, or pickling, or freezing food, as people in the past did not have as good of knowledge about germs. The process of pasteurization and the understanding of microscopic life as being a cause of sickness caused the process of canning to rapidly grow. Canning is often used as a broad term for preserving foods. The vast majority of home canning is done with sealable jars.

In times of economic hardship, often of the most pressing concerns is having the basic necessities like food and water. The benefit of home canning is the ability to save food for later times. Just like the ant and the grasshopper, canning allows for the saving of food for a later day. The process is highly cost-effective, with very low start-up costs. The materials needed are cheap, and easy to find. This lack of expense makes for a smart and frugal hobby with excellent and practical results.

Canning allows for the preservation of healthy (and tasty!) foods. Vegetables, meats, and fruits are able to be canned and preserved. Being able to lovingly grow one’s own fruits and vegetables in a home garden, can and preserve those tasty foods for a rainy day is a fun and healthy way of bettering one’s diet and enjoying a fun and fulfilling hobby at the same time. Canning and preserving food will maintain the food’s healthiness, as well as the great taste.

Fridge and freezer space is a limited resource. A lot of homes simply cannot afford the luxury of an additional fridge or freezer to hold excess fruits, vegetables and meats. Canned items are safely sealed in jars and can be put in an out of the way place until the home-canner wants to enjoy them. That place could be an undisturbed corner of the basement, an out-of-the way shelf or closet, or a kitchen cupboard, among many other places. Generally, canned items should avoid direct sunlight to ensure freshness. Canning is also convenient in the simplicity of it. In the middle of winter, a batch of summer picked peaches in a sweet syrup can be a welcome treat without having to trek to the store and pay high prices for an out-of-season item like peaches. To can those peaches, it only took a few hours on a lazy summer day- and what’s more is that canning allows for a lot of food to be preserved easily in just a few hours.

Canning is a very safe process- and if done right, offers a level of safety that many manufacturers cannot match. Proper sterilization of the jars, as well as preparing the food in the correct manner, makes sure that the food will remain safe for a long time. However, canned items do not last forever and there is typically a certain period that the food must be eaten within or that food’s safety cannot be guaranteed. But, often that period is measured in years, and the pride that the home-canner takes in their canned goods ensures that what has been canned will be eaten much sooner rather than later.

Canning is a fun hobby, and the simplicity makes it something that an entire family can enjoy. There is a wide variety of items that can be canned and preserved- from pickles and strawberry’s, to peaches and vegetables, as well as cooked meats and jerky. This is not an all-inclusive list and a quick search on the internet will provide numerous recipes and items that can be preserved and canned with ease. In fact, this variety is often what draws the home-canner in and allows for a fun and enriching hobby that lasts for years.