Old fashioned storage boxes
If you love to do jams and jellies then most likely you have already started on your canning for the year. I honestly intended to do jams this year but with the arrival of a new grandchild, and a father in Law having a triple bypass time just got away from me. Still it is time to start taking stock and getting ready for the new Canning season. If you have never canned before you might want to pick up a book as your first expense, not only will it show you all the right equipment that you should get for your canning but it will also give you a nice list of starter recipes to get going with. Alternatively you can visit a few of the more reliable sites online to get the facts you need. I have been canning for a lot of years, but I still love browsing recipes and getting new ideas, I have a few websites I really like to follow and will visit them year after year.
Make a List of Canning Supplies
As I am thinking about canning this year, I am making a mental list of all of the things that I will need to make sure I have, any extra canning jars I need, canning lids, pectin and the spices that I use in pickling. All these things add up fast, so making a list will make sure I don’t have to go out and buy it all at once. Fortunately I have plenty of jars, but will need to pick up a lot of lids; I find that the earlier in the year I do it the easier they are to find and the cheaper I can get them. If I wait too long the discount stores run out and I have to go to the more expensive grocery stores to buy them. If you go shopping early enough in the year you can get canning jars from yard sales, thrift stores and even ask around with neighbors, this will save you a lot of money and allow you to get really stocked up on canning jars.
Make Another List of Things you Plan to Can
You might even want to plan this list before you do your supply list, or at least do both at the same time. This way you can make sure you have everything on hand, and you won’t have to go running out to the store for sugar, salt or spices at the last minute. Canning is hard enough work when the season is in full swing without having to worry about running back and forth to the store. What I usually do is make a list of things I know I am going to or have to can from the garden. Things like tomato sauce, green beans, salsa, and relish are always at the top of my list. I try to add a few new things to make the list a bit more robust, this year I think I am going to do what I have been thinking about for the past couple of years and try some new picked vegetables. With a hubby that grew up in England anything pickled is always a popular choice. I make a final list of things I would like to can if I can get the stuff together for it. These items would include stuff like canned peaches, apple sauce, canned corn, things I don’t grow but will be on the lookout for all year at prices I can’t turn down. If I have a list then when the deals show up I know what to do with them.
Getting all my Equipment in Order
Finally I make sure I have everything I need and it is all cleaned up and ready to go, nothing is worse than pulling out the tomato mill only to find out a piece walked off in the middle of the winter and you have to find it or order another one with 50lbs of tomatoes sitting on your counter. Make sure that your pressure canner is all tuned up and checked out, that you have all the utensils you need, and your jars have all been inspected for nicks or other problems. I keep mine in the boxes they came in but invariably there are always jars that got damaged along the way. Dig up your recipes and get them ready to go as well, I have a problem with losing recipes from one year to the next, a common problem when you only use them once a year, this year I am going to solve that problem by getting a notebook that is just for canning recipes. Once you have all of your supplies in order and your lists made, know where everything is, you will find that your canning adventures will go much more smoothly
If you need help with learning how to can there are several great books on Amazon that can help you get started.
Enjoy your Season of canning make sure to let us know what you canned this year by leaving a comment below!