By Rachel, Contributing Writer
Alright gals…whether you are an avid canner, have never canned before, or just need a little encouragement to get back into this amazing homemaking art, this post is for you!
I am slightly biased…I love canning. It is a wonderful way to make the most of produce when it is in season and put it up for enjoying later in the year…when local produce may not be available and/or you’d have to pay a lot more for lovely, organic fruits and vegetables which helps you save money.
It also is a great way to use up all of your garden’s produce should you have a bumper crop of, say, green beans. Not that I’ve ever been inundated with them before… Canned goods make wonderful gifts (who doesn’t like a jar of homemade jam?!?) and they encourage you to eat whole/real foods throughout the year.
That said…how about some encouragement to get back in the swing of this resurging art or help light the fire to get you started?
5 Steps to Help You Get [Back] Into Canning
Find someone to can with
Canning is way more fun if you do it in community. Yes, I just canned 20+ pounds of raspberries (jam, syrup, preserves, sauce, etc) on my own and loved every minute of it but it’s definitely more fun when you have someone to share it with. My husband kept me company – and kept our 11 month old distracted – during part of the time but for the most part, I did this round of canning by myself during baby girl’s naps over a few days. Check out this post on canning peaches for an example of canning with friends…
Gather up “new” mason jars
Mason jars are all the rage on Pinterest and in crafty gals’ blogs which is all well and good but they’re really in their element when used for their original purpose. Have a little fun checking out local garage sales and thrift stores for some new jars. You’ll probably find cute/short/square-ish ones, tall/skinny/quilted ones, or, if you’re really lucky, some old blue ones. They actually revived the blue jar for the Perfect Mason Jar’s 100th anniversary so right now you can buy a 6 pack of pint size blue mason jars for around $10.00. My hubby picked up a pack as my Mother’s Day present. :) Anyways, even a few new jars will be a fun motivator to get going on a few preservation projects.
Put it on the calendar
Yes, canning takes a little time. But not too much! Regardless, if you’re reading this blog, you have lots of things to do to take care of your husband, home, family, job, etc. You’re busy gals! So put it in your phone/on your calendar/in your planner. You just need an hour to tackle a small project. Like homemade raspberry syrup. You’ll be glad you set the time aside.
Choose some great produce to preserve
This is up to you! I would choose something fruity, like raspberries. I just finished making chocolate raspberry sauce, raspberry syrup, raspberry wine jelly, raspberry jam, and raspberry preserves. My husband, though he does like raspberries, is a huge fan of dilly beans. And remember that bumper crop of green beans? They’re comin’ in again…which means I’ll be making dilly beans even though I can’t stand them. But my hubby loves ‘em so that’s my next project!
Anyways, the point is that you need to choose something you’ll love to open in a few months. Whether it’s something to preserve the goodness of the present (it’s raspberry season here in the Pacific Northwest!) or something that hits your tongue just right (oh dilly beans…), choose something you can get excited about!
Put yourself in the story
Mason jars have been around for a long time. The side of the box of the 100 year commemorative blue jars speaks to the hard work that goes into the products in a canning jar as well as speaks to the “spirit of building, craftsmanship, and innovation of past generations.”
I reflected on what I consider Mason Jar Values as
“an act of thankfulness for the harvest at hand, an act of diligence to make use of the time and talents bestowed upon me to take care of my family, an act of living out heritage by looking to the past as a means of thriving in the future, and an act of trusting that hard work now will lead to a reward later.”
They’re not just a kitchen preservation tool…they are much, much more than that. Whenever you take the time and put in the effort to can something, you insert yourself into a great and meaningful story.
So get canning, gals! If you want/need further encouragement, please please PLEASE contact me. I will so very happily email you back! My husband will be even happier because then I won’t keep gushing to him about my latest canning exploits…