There are a number of practical reasons for home canning and preserving but I’d like to share with you my personal top five reasons why it is a good idea to can or preserve food at home. These are in no particular order, but are chosen simply because I think they do a great deal of explaining why I enjoy home canning. They also will tell you a little more about the inspiration I use to keep me filling my pantry with home canned goods.
Reason #1 – I Can Get Creative
It may seem a little on the corny side to some of you who buy and consume canned preserves but I wonder how many of you actually stop and take a long look at what is in that jar you are enjoying. I have carefully chosen recipes that result in not only a tasty food item, but also produces something visually appealing. I love the way a jam or jelly can set with ingredients trapped in suspension. I also enjoy the different colour hues I can create just by altering the type of pepper I use in a recipe. These are a few of the tricks that allow me to be creative in how the finished product will look. Some of them take time to execute properly.
Reason #2 – Taste The Quality
When it comes to home canning and preserving there is no better taste than something that is homemade. In fact, what I like most about canning my own jams, jellies, hot sauces and salsas is that I know exactly what ingredients go into each jar. That means there are no preservatives or chemical compounds that have names that end with “… ose” in my products. So this means the jar of preserves will be healthier for me. I really think that comes out in the taste of each product I produce in the kitchen in my home.
Reason #3 – A Sense of Accomplishment
One aspect of home canning and preserving I truly appreciate is the feeling I get after an afternoon of working in the kitchen. The personal satisfaction I get from putting down a batch of my favourites or from trying a new recipe is exciting and fun. I find that even if I only end up canning a small batch of jellies I still get a sense of accomplishment. It’s as if I had completed a task that is not only challenging but rewarding as well. For me, one of my top five reasons would have to be this one because of how it builds my confidence and adds to my inventory at the same time.
Reason #4 – Cost and Availability
As a practical reason, cost is a strong argument in favour of home canning and preserving. It really does not cost very much at all to set yourself up for canning at home. You only need a few essential tools of the trade including a large canner for boiling water, a rack to put inside the canner to set filled jars for processing, jars, lids and seals. As I live in an area of the country where organically grown fruit and vegetables are available in season, I purchase what I need for whatever recipe I am working on. Near the end of the season I will purchase my last ingredients (usually at a reduced price) and can them so I can enjoy the harvested crops later in the year when there is no fresh produce available. It means I can just go to my pantry any time during the year for something fresh that isn’t full of chemicals or has been mass produced.
Reason #5 – Inventory and Gifts
Because I have turned home canning and preserving into a small home-based business, each time I can a batch of something the majority of the finished jars go into my inventory. If I wasn’t stocking up for business I know I would be using some of my favourite recipes as gifts. I even do this with some of my special products and have used them as home warming gifts, something to take to a dinner at a friend’s as well as for birthdays and special occasions. I think giving a gift that is homemade has special meaning and if that gift is a jar of preserves, it’s even more of a personal gift of sharing.
That completes my top 5 reasons for home canning and preserving. They are not the only reasons why I choose to can fruit and vegetables in my kitchen but they are the main ones. Regardless of why you like to preserve, I’m sure you will agree that when it comes to making something in the kitchen, home canning and preserving is one activity that brings the greatest rewards.