Canning is an excellent way of preserving food. Unfortunately, it is something that we do less and less of, but we should be canning more. However, why should you can food and how long will it typically last?
Most people who are new to prepping have never canned food before, and need to learn the basics. It is best to start off with easy projects and learn as you go along. Some foods are better canned than others, and freshness is of prime importance. Start by canning one vegetable and find out what you think about the results. Did it taste nice? If it did, you have hit on the recipe for success for your family. Remember that there are different kinds of vinegar and you need to find one which you think tastes nice.
Why should you can?
The main reason you should can is because it allows you to preserve the freshness of the food. The most popular foods to can are fresh vegetables and fruits, but cooked foods such as soups can be canned as well. Canning lets you preserve the peak-harvest flavors of fresh foods. But, it is important to do it right, improperly canned food can make your family ill.
There is another good reason you should can. The canning process using vinegar actually destroys certain microbes that damage the food and make you ill. This applies to fresh food, and scientists have found that canned tomatoes are often more nutritious than shop bought tomatoes which might be a few weeks old. Yes, the food in your supermarket may have been stored for longer than you think.
Canning your own fruit and vegetables is much better than buying ready canned foods. The reason is simple; you can control what goes into the canning process. Next time when you are in the supermarket, read the label of some canned foods. You will be amazed how many artificial ingredients a jar of simple canned cucumber will contain.
How long will canned food last?
Home canned food will often last longer than shop bought canned food. I recommend my friends to eat their home-canned food within a year, but the truth is that it can last much longer than that. You may find that the flavor will start to disappear after a year, and this is one of the reasons it is so important to rotate your store cupboard ingredients.
Try to keep canned food away from light, and you will find that it will last much longer. Don’t forget that light can damage food, and bleached food does not look nice, nor does it taste nice. The nutritional value will also have been affected. Buying dark containers to store your canned food in is a good idea.
Let’s get you started with some easy canning;
I call this recipe my Nonstop Pickles, and you make as much or as little as you like.
You will need cucumbers, vinegar but don’t be afraid to experiment. White wine and rice vinegar are both great for this recipe. Add herbs if you like. Dill tastes great with cucumber but so does garlic. Food canned with garlic tends to last longer, and the flavor is preserved better.
Slice the cucumber into rounds, and place in a glass jar. Pour vinegar over the slices until they are fully submerged. Add your favorites herbs or seasoning. Put the lid on and refrigerate, and start enjoying the next day. The cucumbers will get tangier every day, and you can even play around with the seasoning as you go.
This is just a first introduction into canning and gives you some idea of how easy it is to can your own food. Why buy supermarket canned food products, when you can easily can your own?