If you were afraid to try home canning, don’t be. I used to wonder if it was safe. It is. If you follow the directions, you can preserve your garden’s bounty and enjoy it all year long.
Home Canning – From Our Home to Yours
Friends often wonder, “What do you do with everything that your grow?”
It seems like we grow a lot of food for two people. And we do.
So what do we do with all the extras? We give plenty away to friends and to our church’s food pantry, which feeds 25-30 local families each week.
But we also preserve the harvest through various means, including home canning.
Our Canning Update
This year, we’ve canned 369 pints of food. It’s been a joint effort and I couldn’t have done it without my husband, John. He’s taken to home canning with enthusiasm. I’m the designated “peeler” and he’s the designated “chopper.” I’ve peeled so many bushels of apples, pears, and peaches this year that I’ve developed systems for peeling various fruits to make it go faster!
Our canning projects included typical foods like green beans and pickled beets but we also made a few new recipes. I’m particularly enamored with pear compote, a mixture of pears, port wine, sugar, lemon zest and spices that tastes wonderful warmed up with a small bit of cream or vanilla ice cream on top. The Ball Home Preserving book recommended letting it sit in the pantry in the jars (canned properly, of course) before enjoying it and I think they’re right – the flavors mix and mingle and settle into a Christmas-in-your-mouth kind of thing that’s amazing.
We made refrigerator dill pickles and plan to buy cucumbers during the winter just to keep the pickle supply going. We made bread and butter pickles, too, which came out great, and dilly beans.
And of course, the apples…this year we were blessed with a bumper crop of apples. We washed and stored dozens in the cellar hoping that the cool temperatures will keep them longer. But we also canned apples, spiced apples, and both sweetened and unsweetened applesauce.
I Taught Myself Home Canning
I taught myself home canning and you can, too. I used the cookbook below, a vintage graniteware canning pot inherited from my husband’s great-grandmother, and boxes of new Ball jars to get started.
Here are a few articles to get you started:
Below, you’ll find recommended books and products to help you start home canning if you’re interested.
The following are affiliate links. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Thanks so much for being a part of Home Garden Joy!
Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving: 400 Delicious and Creative Recipes for Today
Granite Ware Covered Preserving Canner with Rack, 12-Quart
Hot water bath canning pot (canner)
Mirro 92116 Polished Aluminum 5 / 10 / 15-PSI Pressure Cooker / Canner Cookware, 16-Quart, Silver
Jeanne Grunert is a certified Virginia Master Gardener and the author of several gardening books. Her garden articles, photographs, and interviews have been featured in The Herb Companion, Virginia Gardener, and Cultivate, the magazine of the National Farm Bureau. She is the founder of The Christian Herbalists group and a popular local lecturer on culinary herbs and herbs for health, raised bed gardening, and horticulture therapy.