Now that you’ve got your backyard garden planned, the next thing you’ll definitely want to take up is canning. Canning food is a great way of preserving fresh food to last year round (or even many years). Once you get the basics down, it’s fairly simple. It’s a great way to eat sustainably even when fresh food isn’t in season.
The most popular way to can food is the hot water bath method. Basically, you put your cooked food into a jar (making sure it’s hot!) and the place the jar in a big pot of boiling water for a specified time. You’ll need to make sure the recipe for canning keeps the food at a high acidity and that the jar is fully submerged so there’s an inch of water covering the lid.
I’ve been canning for a few years but mistakes still happen from time to time. Last year I lost a bunch of canned tomatoes because I tried to cut down on the processing time. I learned then that canning isn’t something you can cheat! Make sure you follow to processing times to ensure that your food is properly preserved. My friend pointed me towards this amazing document from the USDA that lists the times for boiling. I’m going to start following that from now on.
If you know someone who does canning, ask to sit in the next time they are processing some food. Learning from friends and family is always a great, inexpensive way to learn new skills!
If you’re looking for some more resources, here are some online courses that would be a great start.
Finally, here are some recipes to get you started with the basics: