Canning and preserving your own food is a great way to save money and ensure that your family consumes only healthy foods that contain no harmful preservatives, additives or pesticides. Preserving food at home is becoming popular as more and more people are realizing that home-canned food is far superior to that of store-bought.
There are several names for food preservation, such as: canning, bottling, preserving, putting up or putting food by. The preserving process involves sugaring or salting and boiling to kill any bacteria that might be in the food, then sealing it by placing jars into boiling water, which seals the lids tight on the jars.
Benefits Of Canning Your Own Food
Foods that are preserved at home are by far the healthiest you can provide your family. You can cut your food bill and save hundreds of dollars over the course of a year by canning and preserving your own food. The process of canning food is fairly easy; and you can rest assured that the food your family consumes is fresh, healthy and contains no harmful pesticides, chemicals, preservatives or additives. You control the amount of sugar and salt in foods that you preserve at home. I feel a great sense of accomplishment when I bottle my harvest.
If you really want to get into preserving food, I suggest you purchase one of the great books on the market that explains the process step by step. There are instructions on the Internet as well. To learn how to preserve food, click here. The Ball Blue Book Guide To Preserving is a great book to have.
Canning Or Bottling
Most of our grandmothers knew how to can food. Their pantries were filled with preserved fruits, jams, jellies, vegetables, stews, soups and meats. As the years have gone by, people have become more dependent on grocery stores and fast food restaurants. However, people now are realizing that we must get back to our roots and grow and preserve our own food to be healthy.
The canning process is one way we can preserve our harvest. The process stops or slows down spoilage of homegrown foods, preventing the growth of bacteria, yeast, fungi and other microorganisms, as well as slowing the rancidity of fats. Canning provides a typical shelf life of about two to five years if the jars are kept in ideal conditions, which are cool, dark and dry.
Sugar Or Sweetener
Use sugar to preserve fruits. Make a syrup with sugar and water, then pour the syrup over the fruit. Then seal the jars by using the boiling-water method. When I bottle fruit, I like to use pineapple or apple juice as the sweetener so that I am not adding extra refined sugar to my fruits.
Foods with low acidity (a pH higher than 4.6) need sterilization with a higher temperature (116-130 degrees Celsius). A pressure canner must be used to reach temperatures above the boiling point. Foods that must be pressure-canned include most vegetables, meats, seafood and dairy products. The only foods that may be safely canned in ordinary boiling water are highly acidic food with a pH lower than 4.6, such as fruits, vegetables or other foods to which lemon juice or vinegar have been added.
Equipment Required For Bottling Or Pressure-Canning:
- Bottles (better known as canning jars): The most popular sizes are pints and quarts.
- Lids and rings for the jars: The lids are best if they are new, however the rings can be used over and over. Lids and rings can be purchased from any grocery store, usually during canning season.
- Wooden spoon with a long handle: This helps pack the fruit into the bottles.
- Jar-lifting tongs: Tongs keep the hot bottles from burning your hands.
- Thermometer: For making jams and jellies.
- Canning pot: This pot can be purchased in any grocery store or kitchen store. This pot must be large enough to hold six or more jars of food and deep enough to cover the jars with water. This method is used for processing some fruits and vegetables.
Apple Pie Filling
This recipe came from www.freshpreserving.com.
Try this easy recipe and feel the satisfaction of bottling apple pie filling at home, just like our grandmas used to do.
You will need:
12 cups sliced peeled cored apples, (about 12 medium apples) treated by soaking them for 15 minutes with ½ cup lemon juice in a large size bowl of water to prevent browning. Drain the water off before proceeding.
2-3/4 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup ClearJel® (cooking starch used for preserving)
1-1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
2-1/2 cups unsweetened apple juice
1-1/4 cups cold water
1/2 cup lemon juice
7 (16 oz) pint glass preserving jars with lids and bands
- Wash all jars, lids and bands in hot, soapy water. Rinse well. Place the jars in a pot of hot water to temper them so they don’t break when they are put in the boiling water. In a separate small pan, heat water and put the metal lids in the hot water until you are ready to use them. You will need a wire rack on which to place the jars inside the pot, so that the jars do not touch the bottom of the pot. If you do not have a wire rack, you can line the bottom of the pot with a kitchen towel folded over so that the bottles do not touch the bottom of the pot.
- Prepare the apples, using the best-quality produce possible. I like to sort through and use up the apples that are going soft first. Peel the apples and cut them into apple pie-sized slices. Blanch the apple slices (6 cups at a time) in a large pot of boiling water for about one minute. Remove the apples with a slotted spoon and keep them in a bowl.
- In a separate large, stainless-steel saucepan, combine sugar, ClearJel®, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir in apple juice and cold water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, and cook until mixture thickens and begins to bubble. Add lemon juice and boil for one more minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Drain any excess liquid off the apple slices and immediately fold them into the hot mixture. Before canning the apple pie mixture, continue cooking until the apples are heated through. (ClearJel® can be purchased from kitchen or food storage stores that sell canning equipment. Or click here.)
- Spoon the cooked pie filling into hot jars, leaving 1-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles by running a butter knife into the mixture in the canning jar. Clean the rim of the jar, center the lid on the jar and apply the band until it is tight.
- When the jars are ready to process, place them into the pot of simmering water with either a wire rack or folded towel on the bottom. The jars must not touch the bottom of the pot or they will crack and break. Make sure the water comes up over the top of the jars.
- Usually, seven quart-sized jars will process at once. Cover the pot with the lid and bring the water to a rolling boil. Begin the processing time. Process the jars in boiling water for 25 minutes.
- Remove the jars and place them on a kitchen towel. Do not touch them for about 12 hours. Check the seals and if the lids are concave and do not bounce back up when pushed down then they are sealed. If the lid does not seal after 24 hours and it can be lifted off the jar easily or if the lid pops up when depressed, it can be processed again. Clean the rim of the jar and check to see if there is a broken piece of glass on the rim. If so, then throw that jar away.
In addition to the classic pie, this apple pie filling allows you to quickly make luscious desserts such as apple turnovers, apple crisp or apple dumplings.
Food Storage And Self-Sufficiency Products Available
If you are interested in any of the seven books I have written, books on preserving food, such as Emergency Food Storage and Survival Handbook or Cookin’ with Home Storage, water storage tanks, ION water treatment, dehydrated or freeze-dried food storage sealed in gallon-sized cans with a shelf life of 15 years, wheat grinders, Bio-Clean sewage treatment, 72-hour packs or emergency medical supplies, click here and click on Go Shop. Select samples on the left hand column and order them to try before you buy.