I’ve done a lot of canning this summer. More than I’ve ever done before, by a long shot, and more than I anticipated doing when the summer started. But one thing led to another – coming home with a trunk full of vegetables, checking out every canning book the library had, trying “just one more” new recipe – and here we are. It can definitely be time-consuming, and led to many late nights waiting for things to reduce, boil, and seal. Some things are from my garden, and some things were bulk purchases from local farms. In the long run, I’m guessing it’s a little cheaper than buying from a store, though probably not significantly, unless the majority of it eventually comes from my own produce. Certainly this year, when I seemingly had to keep buying more jars as I plowed through them all, I will not break even, but in subsequent years, when I don’t need to make all those capital expenditures, it should become more profitable.
We started the year with various jams, jellies and fruit butters, then as summer progressed, worked through pepper jams, corn salsa, peaches, diced jalapenos, an assortment of tomato products, 4 dozen ears of corn (which yielded about 25 pints), a bushel of green beans (20 quarts or so?), all the chard I had outside at the time (seven quarts), several different pickles, and finally last night, applesauce. I’d still like to do more applesauce, some pears, and definitely sauerkraut. Just when you think it should be winding down, it’s not. I know this is a fraction of what some people end up with, but it’s a lot for us, and should provide us with many good meals through the winter. It’s a bit of work, but worth it in many ways. I know where my food came from and what’s in it. I’m not worried about being trapped by the blizzard of the century and needing to get to the grocery store. We’re trying hard to eat a lot more seasonally, and since we’re in Ohio, where nothing much grows for half the year (as I’ve lamented many times before), putting up when it’s in season ensures we’ll have some of that summery goodness when not much else is around. Which, of course, is how any of humanity survived to bear the current generation – not many Giant Eagles in those old black and white pictures.
Canning is mostly pretty easy, and if you’ve never done it before, you should throw together a quick batch of jam to get a taste. As I’ve found out though, it can quickly spiral out of control.