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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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  • [January 15, 2016] - It's National Soup Month so this month's posts will focus on soups. Yum!
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Monday, September 21, 2009

Frugal Kitchens 101 - Does Canning Save Money?

Frugal Kitchens 101
As the fall harvest begins and the weather begins cooling many households across Canada and northern states in the USA turn their attention to preserving the harvest. The past few Frugal Kitchens 101 posts have focused on the pantry. One of the best ways to help stock the pantry is home canning. The first question that always comes up when talking about home canning is 'Does canning save you money?'. I recently did a post on saving on home canning equipment so this post will focus on how canning saves you money.

There is no doubt about it, home canning saves money! It is likely one of the most frugal activities you can incorporate into your kitchen. Any home gardener knows that there are always a couple of crops that do exceeding well resulting in an excess. Traditionally this excess is either preserved (canned, frozen, dried), traded for a crop the gardener doesn't grow or given away but in some cases ends up going to waste. Preserving the excess whether from your garden or acquired from another gardener can put a lot of unique products on your pantry shelves for little more than the cost of the electricity and lid needed for canning. If you don't garden you can still realize savings buy buying produce in bulk in season, meats on sale or putting-up wild game and fish you caught. Once canned the product does not cost any further for storage unlike freezing that costs the moment the food goes into the freezer until it is used. It is also protected against power outages which eliminates any possible food losses that even if the insurance company covers you still incur the deductible cost.

Home canning allows you to make good use of things like fruit and vegetable peels and bones to make delicious, low cost stocks, soups and broths. These waste products are usually thrown out or in the cases of peels may be composted. Essentially the cost of these waste products are part of the cost of the meat or produce so you have paid for them. Putting peels into the compost gives back to the garden so the cost is not wasted. Bones, fat and skin from poultry and meats can't be put into the compost and throwing them out is wasteful. So make stocks and broths then can then for convenient use later at a fraction of the cost of store bought stocks and broths.

Home canning allows you to put a high quality product on your pantry shelves at a fraction of the cost of store bought. In most cases the cost per jar will be as low as 31¢ for the canning plus 8¢ to 10¢ per lid so a full canner load of 19 pints costs on the higher end $2.21 or 12¢ per 500 ml (pint) jar considerably less than most store bought products. Of course if you add sugar, pectins or other ingredients the cost per jar will increase but in general many home canned products can be made for under 20¢ per 500 ml jar. There are very few commercially canned products you can buy for that price. Even home canning dried beans (kidney, Great Northern, baked, etc) work out cheaper than store bought. With some basic equipment you can save a substantial amount of your food dollars by home canning. Next week I will be debunking 10 canning myths.

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