Reaping the Benefits
Benefits of Food Preservation by Canning - Canning and preserving are ways to protect food from spoilage so that you can use the food at a later time. Some preserving methods, like drying and smoking, date back to ancient times; others, like canning, are a little more recent. There’s no doubt that being able to offer fresh-tasting, home-canned or preserved foods to your family and friends throughout the year is definitely one of life’s luxuries. Whatever preservation method you choose, your efforts will benefit you in many ways:
✓ A pantry full of fresh, homegrown foods:
Having a stocked pantryoffers a cushion against the fluctuating cost of healthy foods. If you enjoy specialty foods from gourmet stores but dislike the high prices, the methods outlined in this book are safe and economical ways to preserve large or small quantities of high-quality food.
You can build a pantry of convenience foods that fit into your busy lifestyle and that your family will enjoy.
✓ Protection against rising food costs:
The whole idea of canning and preserving is to take advantage of fresh food when it’s abundant. And abundant food generally means lower cost.
✓ A sense of relaxation and accomplishment:
For many people, working in the kitchen and handling food provides a sense of relaxation, and watching family and friends enjoy the products of your efforts gives you a great sense of accomplishment. Taking the time to select your recipe, choosing and preparing your food, and packaging and processing it for safety is fulfilling and a source of pride for you, the home-canner.
✓ Confidence in the ingredients that go into your food:
If you love fresh ingredients and like to know what goes into your food, doing your own canning and preserving is the answer.
✓ A good time: Producing canned and preserved food in your kitchen is fun and easy — and who doesn’t like fun? The price of food has skyrocketed in the last few years. Food safety has become a concern for everyone. Canning is the answer to both the price dilemma and the desire to offer nutritious foods throughout the year. In addition, the preservation methods covered in this book instantly reward your efforts when you follow the proper steps for handling and processing your food.
Who’s Canning and Preserving?
Although home-canning and preserving has skipped one or two generations, one thing is certain: It’s on the rise. Men and women of all ages practice the art of food preservation. It no longer matters whether you live in the country or in the city or whether you grow your own food. Fresh ingredients are available just about everywhere. Farmers’ markets are commonplace in many cities and towns, making it easy to find the perfect foods to preserve for an affordable price.
Exact statistics regarding home-preserving vary, but according to the largest manufacturer of home-canning products, Alltrista, approximately one out of four households in the United States cans food. Today, most home-canned products are used in the home where they’re produced. In addition, a rising number of people are committed to eating locally, and these folks want to know what is in the foods they eat. By preserving their own foods, they can find the freshest products available and control what goes in their food. Of course, you can easily become overwhelmed when you consider all the ways you can preserve foods. Along with the choices, everyone has heard stories about food-borne illness and danger. The truth is, if you start with simple techniques, using equipment that you can afford, your foods will not only be safe to eat, they will taste better and give you more satisfaction than anything you can buy in the store. There is no one right way to preserve foods. The trick is to find out which technique works best with the foods you like to eat. Be realistic about what you’ll have time to preserve. Know how much space you have to fill with preserved foods, and your efforts will all be worthwhile. .
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