Preserving Your Own
The high amount of water in vegetables and fruit causes them to spoil quickly. This can lead to discouragement and unnecessary waste. Home canning is a traditional method of preserving foods that is economical and helps support a varied diet throughout the year. It is also an important part of culture that is shared through families and friends. If you want to take advantage of locally-grown produce that’s not available in off-season, home canning might be a way to do it!
In home canning, jars are heated to temperatures that kill the bacteria and other micro-organisms that cause food to spoil. Heating jars properly helps create a vacuum that will seal the jar, keep the food and liquids inside and keep air out.
Proper canning practices include:
- carefully selecting and washing fresh food
- peeling some fresh foods
- hot packing many foods
- adding acids (lemon juice or vinegar) to some foods
- using acceptable jars and self-sealing lids
- processing jars in a boiling-water or pressure canner for the correct period of time
Source: Complete Guide to Home Canning, USDA. 2009.
You can also preserve your vegetables and fruit to be lower in sodium and in sugar. Find out more here.
Did you know?
Altitude (elevation above sea level) affects how you “can” food properly. That means that canning in Halifax is different than the highlands of Cape Breton! Make sure to consider the altitude where canning will occur before beginning any canning activity.
Thinking about canning?
Home canning is not complicated but it is very important to follow canning procedures correctly to ensure integrity of the food and minimize food safety concerns. The following links and books will be helpful for you to consult before beginning any home canning activity:
Bernardin Ltd. Canning Basics. (Canada)
Health Canada. Food Safety (Canada)
University of Georgia. National Center for Home Food Preservation. (USA)
United States Department of Agriculture. Complete Guide to Home Canning. (USA)
Urban Farm Museum Society. Foods of Spry’s field – cooking and preserving then and now. 2002. ISBN: 0-9730506-0-8. Copies may be obtained by contacting the Urban Farm Museum Society – 902.477.6102
Kingry J, Levine D (editors). Bernardin complete book of home preserving: 400 delicious and creative recipes for today. 2006. ISBN: 0-7788-0131-4