My ever-increasing interest in homemade living has lead me further down the path of preserving my own food. I am not entirely new to canning; I've canned a few things here and there over the past 3 years. The usual: tomatoes, peaches, and jam (strawberry and grape). The little experience that I have had canning has been enjoyable. I actually find it relaxing to roll up my sleeves, and to be up to my elbows (sometimes my face and hair) in peelings and juice. But this year I am ready to take it to the next level. Step it up a notch.
I am on the hunt for canning jars (checking Craigslist like every five minutes) and a pressure cooker. I have a black pot to use at my disposal (thank you mom), but a pressure cooker would be fantastic. Especially because I'm hoping to can meat. But the whole purpose of preserving my own food (well one reason anyway) is to save money; so I won't be shelling out the dough for a new one (again, I'll be searching on Craigslist or borrowing).
This year I am hoping to accomplish the following:
- Stewed tomatoes
- Green Beans
- Apple Sauce
- Apple Pie Filling
- Chicken Broth
- Chicken noodle soup
- And maybe venison, if I get really brave.
- Frozen blueberries
- Frozen corn
Frozen strawberries(see, I can already cross something off my list)
Whew! That's making me sweat just thinking about it! But it's exciting!.
So why do I want to preserve my own food? I have many reasons, here are just a few:
1) It's not just about preserving food, it is about preserving a way of life. People are forgetting where we came from as a country, and just as people in general. Everybody expects everything handed to them on a silver platter. Food doesn't just come from the grocery store people!
2) I enjoy growing, picking, canning, and freezing my own food. It involves math, biology, chemistry, hard work. It's not extremely complicated, but there is more to it than people would probably assume. It is very rewarding.
3) Good health. Plain and simple. I like to know whats in my food.
4) Taste. Have your ever tasted freshly canned tomatoes? There is no comparison (Not to mention the mouth watering smell that fills your house while they are cooking as you prepare to can them. Another one of my favorite things about fall). Everything tastes better homemade. You can have the fresh taste of things harvested in the summer while there is 14in of snow on the ground. And when there is that much snow on the ground it is good to have a reminder that it won't be there forever.
5) $Money$. You save a lot of it. Have you noticed to price jump in your grocery bill? Do you think that's going to get better? It will give me piece of mind when I go to the grocery store with a shrinking list. We already buy our beef and pork from a local farmer. It may seem more expensive because you foot the bill for all of your beef needs up front, but it saves you money in the end (and helps to prevent disease). So you subtract meat and vegetables from your grocery bill and, well, you do the math. I could go on and on about this. I'll stop. I think you get the point.
So wish me luck on my canning extravaganza this season and do yourself a favor - start canning (or freezing). Just start with something small and simple! It's fun and I guarantee you won't regret it.