Canning 101: 6 things you need to know

Canning your fruits and vegetables provides you with a hearty supply of produce for the colder months. And it can help save you money when you purchase in-season fruits and vegetables, rather than paying a premium price for imported produce.

Here are some tips for canning, including some suggestions for staying on budget.

Start a vegetable garden

Growing your own vegetables can be cheaper than purchasing produce from the grocery store, especially if you grow from seed. And it makes the canning process even more fun – you’ll have a sense of accomplishment and self-sufficiency from growing and canning veggies yourself.

Need some help getting started on your vegetable garden? We shared some tips in another blog for gardening on a budget.

Join a canning class or team up with a friend/family member

Specialized canning equipment isn’t necessary, but it can make the process a lot quicker and easier. If you join a class, they’ll likely provide this equipment. Plus it’s a great way to learn the canning process.

Otherwise, you can team up with a friend or family member. Buy a set of equipment that you can share. You can also save money buy purchasing jars and lids in bulk and sharing the supply.

Get creative – think salsas, chutneys, jams etc.

If you’re an experienced canner, try exploring different options. There are tons of recipes out there for homemade salsas and jams that can be preserved for several months. If these are items you frequently buy at the grocery store, canning your own jams or sauces can help you shave some dollars of your grocery bill throughout the year.

Save and re-use jars

If you finish off a jar, clean it and save it for your next batch. Buying new materials for every batch of canned vegetables can add up quickly. If you give any friends or family a few jars, ask for them back so you can reuse and recycle the materials.

Incorporate your preserved produce into recipes

Pickled veggies are a great accompaniment for sandwiches and snack platters, but to get the most of your canned produce consider incorporating it into recipes. For example, canned fruit works great with dessert - we suggest topping ice cream with canned peach slices.

Or, check out some of these recipes that work as pie-filling. If you’re an avid baker, it’s a great way to keep a stock of ingredients year-round.  

Give away jars as gifts

Use your canning hobby to your advantage by offering up canned fruits and veggies as gifts. They make perfect gifts for birthdays, holidays, anniversaries and even for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. In addition to gifts, your preserved produce can also work as great snacks when hosting parties or family get-togethers.

Canning is an affordable way to have a supply of fresh and delicious food all year round, plus it saves you money. And, if you follow our tips, it can be an affordable hobby. Enjoy canning with friends and family, or even turn it into a family tradition – your stomach and wallet will thank you.