Reduce waste, save money, create yummy recipes, and preserve food that can be enjoyed now or used in an emergency? Sounds good!
Canning and preserving food is an important skill – we live in a world of convenience, and while our great-grandmothers may have been avid homesteaders who lived sustainably and wasted nothing, it’s getting harder for people these days to avoid the easy consumption of impulse buys and pre-packaged, processed foods.
Besides the packaged food culture that many of us live in, we must also realize that in most parts of the world, food is not as easy to come by. It’s getting harder for people in remote areas to afford basics due to the increased cost of fuel and shipping of food imports, while other places in the world have problems with production due to drought, falling numbers of the bee population, etc. Food is becoming more expensive, and more scarce.
Leraning to preserve food will not only allow you to save some money and try your hand at some great recipes, but you’ll be creating a stockpile of long-haul food stores that can be used when the grocery store isn’t accessible.
If you have a garden, you are definitely going to want to learn how to can and preserve your fruits and vegetables. You can end up with a bumper crop that you can’t possibly eat or give away before it all goes bad (we’re looking at you, zucchini).
Those who don’t have gardens may find great deals on large batches of fruits and veg at local markets that they too can use to create preserves that can be stored to eat later on. Look for seasonal produce in your area, check farmer’s markets, roadside stands, orchards, etc.
The flavours of certain preserved foods like pickles, sauerkraut, chutneys – they can’t be re-created any other way than locking all that flavour in to a sealed environment and letting nature do it’s thing. My Nana’s canned peaches in syrup tasted better than anything we’d ever bought from the store.
Interested in preserving meat or fish? Rather than buying yourself an appliance that will dry your food for you or a smoker that will take up more space in your garage, check out some of the traditional methods of smoking or salt-preserving your ingredients.
If you can spend less on buying the raw ingredients and create preserved meals for yourself to enjoy at a later date or even rely on in the event of an emergency, you’ve got yourself an essential life skill. Preserving food isn’t just about making jams & jellies, although anyone who shudders at the thought of their great-grandmother’s pickled beets can certainly explore the range of salsas, sauces, pickles and chutneys that can help you use up your produce before it goes off.
There are great videos and books out there for anyone who wants to learn how to can and preserve food, but if you have access to a family member whose canned delights you’ve enjoyed in the past, get them to teach you. Nothing beats a first hand lesson, and people use different methods for different foods.