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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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Monday, November 14, 2011

Frugal Kitchens 101 - Home Canning Year Round

Frugal Kitchens 101

There is a myth that home canning starts when the strawberries are ripe (about mid June) and ends with the tomato harvest (about mid September).  Furthermore, the manufactures would have you believe that the only foods for canning are jams, jellies, and pickles which really translates into a few select fruits (eg. strawberries, cherries, blueberries, raspberries, tomatoes) and cucumbers.  Home canning involves a lot more than fruits and cucumbers AND there is no set season for canning.  There are times that canning opportunities are more plentiful (May through September) but quite frankly the time period of October though April can be quite productive for canning.  I usually run the canners at least once a week during this time period.

I purposely let my pantry stock which relies heavily on home canned foods to diminish for the move.  I reasoned it was easier to move empty jars than filled jars where a bit of bumping could damage a seal.  It was also a good opportunity to use up home canned foods getting close to my 2 year comfort level for storage.  At any rate between using our home canned supplies and reduced canning while the house was on the market I'm in major canning mode!  What can I possibly be canning during the off-peak canning season?

  • nut syrups - Nut syrups are quite lovely on ice cream and baked brie.  I don't make a lot but a coupe of examples are praline syrup and maple-walnut syrup.
  • citrus fruits - This is the ideal time of year to can mandarin oranges and make marmalade.  Citrus fruit is plentiful and on sale this time of year.
  • soups/stews- There is no season for canning homemade soups or stews but when the weather is chilly making both warm the house and soul.  Consider that a can of commercially canned soups can cost as much as $1.79 but a 500 ml (pint) jar of home canned soup where you control the ingredients can cost as low as 20¢.  The only ingredients to avoid with home canned soups are dairy, barley, rice and noodles.  However, some home canners are having great success using very small amounts of barley, rice and pasta.  The biggest thing with these ingredients is using too much to make the home canned product too dense that prevents proper heat penetration for processing.  Pasta in particular is problematic in that the quality of the finished product suffers as well.   
  • sauces - Some sauces such as taco hot sauce is not made from raw ingredients so the perfect time to can them is during the off-peak season for canning.  
  • meats - Canning meats as soups, stews, as is (eg. ground, cubed) gives a convenient, ready to use product in your pantry.  Only buy meat for canning when on sale and preferably use organic, hormone free meats.
  • dried beans - Dried beans are cheaper than commercially canned beans but the down side is the soaking and cooking time.  Home canners can easily can dried beans by themselves or seasoned for about 10¢ per can, giving them a health, low cost convenient substitution for commercially canned beans.
  • jellies - Most jellies are made from fruit juice.  During the off-peak season for canning is the perfect time to make jellies from 100% pure, no preservatives added fruit juices. 


1 food lovers commented:

Heather said...

wonderful post- I can year round