If you had a successful garden this summer and have more than you know what to do with then the answer to that question is simple: preserve that bounty.
Nothing gives a gardener a stronger tie to the land than preserving what he or she grows. It speaks to sustainability and gives a nod to that little bit of pioneer that’s still in all of us.
So whether you can (water-bath or steam-pressure), freeze or dry your extra harvest, preserving your bounty can also save you food costs for the coming year.
It’s rewarding, it’s frugal and it’s fun too.
Click on the following links for information then view the slideshow for some canning tips.
National Center for Home Food Preservation Links
Betty Crocker Harvest Tips
Penn State Extension, Let’s Preserve fact sheets
Mis en Place
Evoke your inner chef and think “mis en place” or all things in their place. Gather all tools and materials so they’re ready and available.
A good canning tool kit is a must have. Shop around and purchase one of the many varieties available either online or in the store.
Fun(k) in a Mason Jar
Only use clean, sterilized canning jars with no chips or scratches on them. Lids and bands should be clean, sterilized with no dents or scratches; the rubber seal on the lids should be whole and intact.
It’s OK to squeeze your fruit
How else can you tell if it’s ready for canning? Fruits and vegetables should be disease-free, firm but not overly ripe and with no blemishes or spots.
A Large Flat-base Pot
Tip: Put your water on early to sterilize your jars, lids and bands and then use the same hot water for your water bath. Remember to have at least 1-2″ inches of water covering your jars while bathing. So keep hot water handy if case you have to add some.
Cradle your jars…
Don’t put your jars in your hot water free hand. Make it easy on yourself by purchasing a canning rack, available online or in stores. Remember, if it goes in free hand, it has to come out that way, too. Ouch!
And when all is said and done, any scraps left behind go right into the compost pile, a nod to next year’s. hopefully successful bounty. Enjoy your harvest and the fruits (literally) of your labors.