Introduction to Canning
Why do we can?
WE "CAN" (i.e., heat process select foods)...
...BECAUSE WE CAN! (it's one way to preserve and serve those foods that we can't preserve in other practical ways)
In other words, heat preservation of foods does have a place in our modern pantries, even though it is not a traditional form of food preservation.
Yes, there is nutrient loss in the heating process, but for the foods we're going to teach you in this class, the alternatives are either to eliminate them from your diet, to take up precious and costly freezer space, or to serve the family an expensive, lesser-quality product (in a lesser quality container) from the grocery store.
When you purpose to grow or source the best foods from your community, having the ability to can them gives you wide variety for preserving. There's no shame in that.
Like any food process, you can make canning as simple or as hard as you want. But at the end of the day, canning is just a food, in a glass canning jar, that you boil in water.
You're preserving the harvest. It's not hard.
Good Reasons to Can
A good reason to can is to handily preserve the harvest while it is fresh and plentiful.
Having a variety of preserving methods in your ‘healing table arsenal’ gives you the ability to make use of foods that may otherwise be discarded, or go completely unused.
And as a good steward of those foods, your meal preparation then takes on a new sense of thankfulness and provision for your healing table.
Another good reason to can is that you continue, purposefully, to maintain control over the foods that your family enjoys.
You know where that food came from, and where and how it was grown. And, now you’ve taken control over how it is preserved.
We live in a culture where our grocery store foods may not even label the country of origin! Preserving in any way gives you peace of mind, and you get the food you want from beginning to end.
There is also a huge economy difference in grocery store food (especially organic) and home canned products. Just a simple comparison of in-season bushel prices, versus grocery organic is a real eyeopener.
We encourage you to take this one step at a time. Don’t let fear keep you from learning to can.
We’ll show you how.
Good Reasons NOT to Can
In Foodwifery’s focus on properly preparing traditional foods, heat canning may seem outside of that mindset. And, no doubt, nutritional density is destroyed by this process.
But we don’t recommend canning ALL your harvest, and eating a diet of ALL canned foods. Find nutritional and preservation balance. Lacto-fermenting foods increase nutrients and preserve enzymes, and therefore, should be your primary preservation method.
Dehydration, too, is a traditional method. Freeze where and when you’re able.
Can the harvest? Do it — but not all of your harvest. Balance. Bloom where you’re planted. Preserve your foods with love and purpose, and your healing table can’t help but benefit.
Good, Better, Best of Canning
When you’ve been able to source the highest quality foods that you can, the GOOD/BETTER/BEST scenario clarifies the nutritional picture.
Assuming your fruits, vegetables, and meat are organically and locally grown:
BEST - Fresh or lacto-fermented provides the best food value.
BETTER - Drying or freezing. Some food value will be lost, but it is minimal.
GOOD - Heat canning. You’ve started with a pure, high quality food, and because of that, you are ensured of a far superior (and cheaper) product than what may be available in a grocery store.
Bands and lids for glass canning jars. Sterilized in boiling water hot water for five minutes. Keep in hot pan until use.
Quart canning jars. Sterilized in boiling water, the same as above.
Pressure Canner. Please follow all the safety and operating directions for your specific make and model.
Out of all the tools discussed, only two of them are canning-specific; the canner and the canning tongs. Everything else should be standard equipment in your traditional kitchen.