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!
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