Will you shop local this year?
- Yes (64%, 32 Votes)
- No (36%, 18 Votes)
Total Voters: 50
By KALI BOLLE, Lifestyles Bolle
Although many may recall youthful memories of Grandma spending the day cooking away on the stove – canning vegetables and fruit from the summer garden, today’s canning is not just for grandma.
Often referred to as “putting up,” as in storing tomatoes or corn for the cold winter ahead, this process includes canning, pickling and preserving.
The whole process of food preservation is undergoing rejuvenation, with more and more folks of all ages getting into it for a number of reasons.
Winchester resident Courtney Tipps is helping bring the tradition of canning to a whole new generation.
“My family and I have always liked to garden and had to find a way to preserve food that would otherwise go bad,” said Tipps.
First gardening and canning with her parents, Tipps said she continued to “can” and garden after meeting her husband, Bob.
“When Bob and I started dating we shared a garden with my parents and it has just has been something we have always enjoyed,” said Tipps.
To make the most out of their garden and to save money at the grocery store, Tipps decided to try her hand at the whole canning process.
“My mom has always done green beans and pickles, but I have branched out into canning squash relish, corn, jellies, salsa, tomatoes, and zucchini relish. We are not able to eat it all, so this was the way to make the most of our crops.”
Tipps is not alone in wanting to save money and eat fresher, healthier foods.
According to a recent online poll on the popularity of canning fruits and vegetables from foodchannel.com, more than 50 percent of the poll’s respondents who said they canned their own vegetables were under the age of 45, with 26 percent under 35.
“We’ve gotten laughed at with folks telling us we are like 50-year-olds in 20 something’s bodies,” said Tipps. “But I have several friends my age at church who are canning and it has been nice to have others to get tips and recipes from.”
According to the co-author Lauren Devine of the “Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving,” more and more people are returning to this age-old method of preserving the summer’s harvest for several reasons that include food safety, taste, and having some control of what goes onto the table.
Tipps says she is a fan of the book, naming it as guide to her exploration into the process of canning.
Best Foods for Canning
Devine states in the book that tomatoes are a popular item for home canners who can them for later use in salsas, or dice them up for pasta sauces or chili. Jams and jellies are even bigger categories that are enjoyed revived popularity.
Shelf life for a home-canned product
The book recommends about one year. Although individuals can keep it longer than that, color of the product will begin to diminish at that point, and a general quality will begin to decline.
Equipment needed for home canning
For creating a water bath canner to can high-acid foods such as jams, jellies, salsa and pickles, a large stock pot is required, large enough so boiling water will completely surround the jars.
A cooling rack is also needed to put at the bottom of the pot, so the boiling water will get under the jars.
Other items that can be helpful include a jar lifter that lets individuals clamp onto a jar and remove it from the hot water without burning oneself. A lid lifter is recommended to help in the same way with jar lids.
Tips for first-time canners
Tipps says it’s important to have a little patience the first time around.
“Each year has gotten easier. At first she was a little nervous using all the tools such as the pressure cooker, but the book and just continuing to the whole process and has made it a much easier process,” she added.
This has been Courtney’s hardest year, in that she is due to give birth to their second child in the coming weeks.
“I haven’t been out there nearly as much I have wanted to. I am about done for the year.”
Even with the challenge of being a full time mother, Tipps says both gardening and canning has been such a blessing for her family and something she hopes to continue in the years to come.
For more recipes and guides on the whole canning process, checkout www.canningacrossamerica.com and www.freshpreserving.com.
July 14 is National Can-It-Forward Day
National Can-It-Forward Day lets everyone share the joy of fresh preserving. For those garden fresh produce, the experts at freshperserving.com want to show how easy it is to preserve it to enjoy throughout the year. Whether you’re new to canning or are a Master Canner, the site has recipes, tips and tricks to help make fresh preserving easy and fun.
This year the National Can It Forward Day will originate from Minnetrista a cultural center in East Central Indiana, and the original home of the Ball Brothers.
On Saturday, July 14, Jarden Home Brands, the makers of Ball brand fresh preserving products, and the Minnetrista Master Preservers will demonstrate just how easy it is to preserve fresh produce for delicious results. And, chefs from the American Culinary Federation will share their recipes using these preserved products.
Set aside some time to learn simple ways to preserve the fresh food you love and share your canning knowledge with friends and family.