I can remember my grandma’s basement like it was yesterday – row after row of canned food – it seemed like enough to last for years!
At the time, I couldn’t figure out why she canned all that food. Every week, my parents went to the grocery store and bought everything we needed. Why in the world would my grandmother need a basement full of food when the local Hy-Vee was less than a mile away?
Well, now I understand. As a child of the depression, my grandma knew what I didn’t – that all the conveniences we take for granted could go away any day.
Fast forward a few decades and my grandmother would be proud of my basement. I’ve followed in her footsteps and have gotten the canning religion. I now have row after row of canned fruits, vegetables and meats – enough to last my family for several weeks (and I’m working on adding even more).
So, if you’re interested in an activity that (as Mother Earth News describes here) “produces flavorful, high-quality food that saves money, builds self-reliance and creates lifelong memories.”
Canning is fairly simple, and you can start with just a few cheap supplies. Then, as you get the hang of the easiest method to can (water bath canning), you can add to your equipment arsenal and tackle the next level of canning (pressure canning).
To give you an idea of just how easy basic canning can be (and so you can join the canning “club”), here are the simple steps (from the article linked to above):
The Equipment. You can get by without all of the fanciest canning-specific equipment, but you’ll need a few inexpensive basics, most of which are widely available used. A pot that holds enough water to cover whatever size jars you want to use with a little extra room for boiling water is key.
The Ingredients. Use only the best, freshest and blemish-free produce, spices and herbs. Buy seasonally to find the best deals.
The Process. (1) Prep the ingredients. (2) Fill the jars. (3) Wipe the rims. (4) Screw on the lids and bands. (5) Boil. (6) Remove and cool until you hear the satisfying pop-pop-pops of the seals forming.
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