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food budget
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How Home Canning Keeps Your Food Budget Low
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How Home Canning Keeps Your Food Budget Low

Home canning is an excellent way to stretch your food budget. Buy the food in season when the prices are the cheapest (and the food is the tastiest) or grow them yourself at home and then preserve them through home canning.

Saving Money With Home Canning

First, let's discuss what home canning is. Home canning is the process of preserving fruits, vegetables, and meats by packing them into glass jars and then processing the jars to kill the bacteria that would cause spoilage.

Home canning was common during the early part of the 20th century when single income families supplemented their food budget by planting and preserving food from their gardens.

With the increase in the number of dual income families in the last 30 years, less families are canning food or planting gardens which has created an increased demand for produce and thus contributed to the increase in food prices. In order to keep your food budget low, home canning needs to be utilized.

There are many reasons to preserve your own food:

It saves you money! Whether you grow your own food or purchase it in bulk, preserving food is one of the most economical ways to increase your food storage. The price of bulk food is lowest when it is in season, so buy as much as you can afford, preserve it, and use it during the months when the prices for those items are two to three times what you paid for it while in season. Your meals will taste better and you save money.

It saves you time! Don't stop at canning applesauce and making jam. Home canning can be your best friend when it comes to serving cheap family meals in a flash. Preserving meats means that your ground beef for taco night is already cooked and just needs a quick reheat and you're ready to eat. You can also store entire meals with home canning: soup, chili, stew, chicken, and side dishes.

It’s patriotic! Supporting your local farms is important. As prices continue to rise, so are the costs to our local farmers to grown our food. If farmers cannot afford to maintain their farms, where will our food come from? Rising fuel costs will continue to drive up the price of food in our supermarkets. It is imperative we support our local food sources.

It tastes better! Have you ever bitten into a fresh picked peach in the middle of August. It's delicious and juicy. How wonderful would it be to open a jar of peaches in the middle of February and have them taste just as good as they did in August. By obtaining your food from local farms or your own garden, the food is picked at the peak of ripeness. Everything tastes better when it is allowed to ripen in the field. Once you start purchasing and canning your fruits and vegetables from local sources (farms and gardens), you’ll never want to go back to grocery store produce again.

It’s preservative free, sodium free, and allergen free! Many of our processed foods are high in preservatives and sodium, neither of which are good for us. They are processed in plants that process other foods that may cause concerns for those allergic to peanuts, dairy, gluten, etc. Additionally, there are BPA concerns with how commercially processed foods are stored. Preserving your own food gives you control over what is in your food and it gives you confidence that your family is eating healthy.

By purchasing foods in bulk or growing your own foods and preserving them through home canning, you can and will decrease your food budget. While there are some start up costs, you will easily make back those costs and more.

Once you purchase the reusable items: a pressure canner, canning jars, screw rings, a jar lifter, a canning funnel, and a lid wand, the only thing you will need to purchase each year are lids. So go and purchase your items today, start practicing your canning with an easy beginners recipe - applesauce, and continue to practice with meats, soups, and beans.

By harvest time, you will be an expert and your family will be eating healthier food for less!

Keep canning, your food budget and food storage depend on it!


Street Talk

I am in. Next summer I am growing a ton of food. I should have done it this year, but was too distracted.

Reply
  about 2 years ago

I have canned for years and I love it! Great article!

Reply
  about 2 years ago
  

Thanks Lacey. I'm considering canning some salsa this year, have you ever done it? Any tips?

Reply
  about 2 years ago

Do you like it spicy or mild? I'll give you my recipe.

  
  about 2 years ago
  

Both actually. I usually use 3 or 4 jalapenos to 4 or 5 large tomatoes when making my salsa. Less jalapenos if I'm lucky enough to have a Pablano, Chili, or other spicier peppers on hand. I'd love the recipe - my email address is in my profile. thanks!!!!!

  
  about 2 years ago
joe witt  

interesting article AJ think I might have to look into canning, sounds like a good way to save some money.

Reply
  about 2 years ago
  

It is. And the best part is you get to control the preservatives and other additives in your food. Thanks for the visit, Joe.

Reply
  about 2 years ago

Great article AJ. We have a glut of soft fruit in the garden right now so jam making is the order of the day here. I also make my own wine from our produce so yet another way of using up surplus produce.

Reply
  about 2 years ago
  

Thanks, Roger. I picked some blackberries a few days ago, so blackberry jam is on the to do list this week. Finally getting enough from the garden to make homemade salsa - been considering canning some of that too. I'm interested in your homemade wine, would love to learn more about that!

Reply
  about 2 years ago

I did start a home wine making site but that crashed and too many other things on the go right now to get it going again. At the moment have 5 gallons rhubarb wine, one of blackurrant and one of strawberry. Should all be in bottle by Christmas

  
  about 2 years ago
  

Wow! I love fruit wine so I'm extremely jealous, Roger. If you ever get that site back up, please let me know. I'd love to check it out!

  
  about 2 years ago
Joan S  

Hi AJ, I prefer food that is preserved in glass jars as opposed to metal cans lined in plastic. My grandmother had an orchard and huge vegetable garden when we were kids. She canned all the time. My mom did too, until she started her business, and then had no time. I agree, there's nothing like opening up a jar of your own peaches or pears, NO PRESERVATIVES. I look forward to learning from you.

Reply
  about 2 years ago
  

Joan, I am envious of your grandmother's orchard! I want to plant fruit trees, but we just don't have the space for it. So, I resort to the u-pick orchards near by, but it's just not the same. For me, controlling the chemicals in my life is very important, so growing my own food and preserving it is essential. Thank you visiting!

Reply
  about 2 years ago
Tracy Cox  

You are right AJ canning is a great way to preserve our foods. The best thing about canning is knowing exacting what we are eating. I like knowing there is nothing added to the foods.

Reply
  about 2 years ago
  

I completely agree, Tracy. There are so many preservatives in our store bought canned fruits and vegetables. I especially like being able to control the amount of sugar that I add to my home canned fruits.

Reply
  about 2 years ago
Al4256  

Interesting article. I used to enjoy gardening. We had an 18 qt canner. Those were great times.

Reply
  about 2 years ago
  

Thanks Al. Canning can take a lot of time, but everyone I speak with who has done it always has fond memories. There is something to be said for that!

Reply
  about 2 years ago
  

Thanks Ljupcho! What a wonderful tradition. Canning is so very important, I wish more people here in the US did their own canning.

Reply
  about 2 years ago
Ljupcho  

Home caning is tradition on the Balkan especially in Macedonia in the early autumn. It is a custom to make a winter vegetable preparations and store the caned food for the upcoming winter. Great article

Reply
  about 2 years ago

Great article. I learned to can when I was very young and still do today. You can't beat the price savings or the taste.

Reply
  about 2 years ago
  

Thanks, Nancy! You're right, there is nothing like canning your own food. The time it takes is completely worth it for the taste and savings rewards. Not to mention the sense of accomplishment that goes with it!

Reply
  about 2 years ago
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