Jul182012

101 Comments

July Skill of the Month: Resources and a GIVEAWAY!

image by Will Merydith

This giveaway is now closed. The winners were Jen (Ball Utensil Set), hedgehog mom (Patrice Lewis books), and Cheryl Hart (Putting Food By). I’m leaving this post up because of all the great comments and confessions about canning! Watch for another giveaway coming soon!

If you ‘re new to canning, I hope you’ll take up my challenge and learn how to can tomatoes this month! I was SO nervous about canning that one time I let an entire 20 pound box of apples rot because I was too afraid! We ended up throwing away the whole box, unopened.

So, if I can learn how to can, anyone can!

The Canning Giveaway

I want to encourage you to continue canning and trying new things and will be giving away prizes to three lucky winners!

Here’s how to enter this giveaway. Leave a comment telling why you believe preserving your own food is an important part of being prepared. That’s it. Include your email address so I’ll have a way to get in touch with you.

Giveaway ends at midnight on Sunday, July 22. Winners will be selected at random and will be notified by email. I will post the names of the winners on my Facebook page. Good luck!

A challenge to advanced canners!

If you’re an advanced canner, I’d like to challenge you to stretch your skills this month. Choose one of these canning projects and let us know how it works out for you!

  • Homemade ketchup!
  • Marinara sauce
  • Salsa
  • Tomato Sauce
  • V-7 Juice!
  • Anything you haven’t tried before!

Resources for you

Regardless of where you are in your canning journey, here are some resources that have been very helpful to me.

  1. Canning Granny – blog and very active Facebook page
  2. Simply Canning – Sharon is super competent and has helpful ebooks.
  3. Canning 101” by the awesome Jackie Clay of Backwoods Home Magazine
  4. The official Ball Canning site
  5. PickYourOwn.org website includes a list of local u-pick farms and orchards for each state and canning information and recipes.
  6. Patrice Lewis, my favorite Idaho homesteader, has 3 inexpensive ebooks all about canning.
  7. Join in the discussion on The Survival Mom forum!

There may be links in the post above that are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission, which does not affect the price you pay for the product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.

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I'm the original Survival Mom, and have been helping moms worry less and enjoy their homes and families more for 5 years. Come join me on my journey to becoming more prepared to handle everyday emergencies and worst case scenarios.

(101) Readers Comments

  1. I’ve always been terrified to try canning as well! But we live in a climate where we only get a couple of months a year to grow fresh stuff in our garden, and if we want healthy home grown food, we need to preserve it! Produce in the winter is super expensive, and if something were to happen to disrupt the supply chain we’d be hooped! I will take your challenge, and try canning!

  2. Preserving your own food is an important part of being prepared because you can only store so many MRE’s. You need to ensure a continuing source of food to ensure the survival of your family. I don’t need to worry about the local supermarket being out of something. I only have to worry about my garden being weed free.

    Canning really is not difficult, and anyone can do it. Storing up your food in time of plenty in order to be prepared in time of famine is only sensible.

  3. Remember the phrase, “You can’t take it with you.” You may have to leave your physical food storage behind, so having a skill set is as important.

  4. I am canning this summer for the first time since I was a child helping my mother. I am excited about having canned goods in my storage. Especially since we have numerous power outages throughout the year due to high winds, thunder storms, ice storms, squirrel in the transformer you name it.

    I plan to can meats when beef and chicken are on sale. With the drought this year prices will be through the roof soon!

    I am on the search for canning supplies, thanks for the contest.

  5. I have always wanted to can tomatoes. My mother used to can when we had out garden. I have made grape jam from our wild grapes. There are so many of them around this area. I have also made cranberry jam which is fantastic. I find jam very easy to make. I think I will try the tomatoes this year.

  6. I believe preserving my own food is an important part of being prepared because that is how my grandmother viewed things, and she was an incredibly smart person. Growing up on a farm, if you were going to survive the winter, you had to put food up when it was plentiful. She pickled, she jammed, she canned just about everything and for those items she couldn’t stick in a jar, she had a deep freeze. Watching how nothing ever went to waste, and how there was always enough to give to those in need, was an inspiration and how I want to live my life.

  7. Preserving the harvest is vital so you can eat during the winter months what you produce during the growing season. You can be sure of what’s in your food and not pay the high prices at the grocery store.

  8. My father was raised during the great depression and he raised us to never waste a thing if we could help it. That man could squeeze a dollar out of a dime! But for me, being able to preserve our own food that we raise with our own hands gives me a sense of peace. Knowing that we will be able to eat and that I’ll be able to feed my loved ones in case of a break in our ability to obtain food from a store gives me peace of mind. That is priceless.

  9. It’s important to know how to preserve food various ways, including canning, because the grocery store may not always be stocked with what you need and food prices might get really high. News stories about the drought this summer show how precarious our food supply is. You can only store so much food, eventually you are going to have to grow and preserve your own.

  10. I have just started to make and can a few things. Jam was the first thing I made. Super easy. I am not sure how other gardens produce but we have had a massive amount of cucmbers, tomatoes, squash,and zucchini. Way more then we could eat. I didn’t want to throw it away so I canned and froze. My aunt alsh has a massive garden, we have gotten a lot of produce. I feel if something bad happens and I have to grow all my food, I need to preserve it or we will starve in the winter.

  11. We think it is important for the kids to see the berries they picked in summer are the berries we eat in winter. Work now reaps rewards later.

  12. Can you believe that the first year I had a garden, I was afraid to eat the produce because I was worried I did something wrong and it would harm me?! That’s the conditioning the food companies have been working on since commercials were invented. I want to can so that I can know EXACTLY what’s in the food I’m eating. I simply don’t trust the commercial companies to keep me safe any more!

    • I find it so interesting to hear you say that! I have done ALOT of research on foods for my pets and that is exacly the attitude that vets and dog food companies promote… that it will be unhealthy for your pets if you don’t feed them the prepackaged foods. Raw foods prepared for your pets at home “could kill them”. However, many raw food feeding breeders tout that their animals are so much healthier. I didn’t realize the same thing had happened with “people food.” :)

  13. For me, canning your own food is empowering. By preserving my food, I know that I’m not dependent on the conveniences of grocery stores or a slave to the processed food so easily available to me. It’s also good to practice/learn now because we may be in a situation when we don’t eat if we don’t perserve.

  14. I’ve been wanting to give canning a try for quite a while now. In my part of North America canning is a way to prepare for winter! With six months of weather where nothing fresh is available, canning and other preservation methods are essential. Now canning allow for control over your food, the quality, and the origins of what you eat. Definitely something I want to get on board with!

    • OMG! I LOVE your hennin! I’m guessing we’re both SCA! ;0)

      Kat

  15. We love dehydrating food. We store all sorts of food because we like to be able to eat that food all year round. Why wait for something to be ‘in season’ to be able to enjoy something? Along the same lines, having foods and ingredients available at all times decreases the money you’d normally have to spend buying out-of-season ingredients. Saving money = more money on hand = more prepping gear :)

  16. Canning (especially tomatoes) is important to me because I know exactly what’s going into the can, and I don’t have to worry about excessive BPA exposure. I canned my first tomatoes last year and they tasted so much better than anything store-bought. I’m definitely going to try to make sauce this year. Thanks for the V-7 juice recipe, I’ll have to try that too if I have a bounty ;)

  17. Love your site! We have not been ‘preppers’ long, but your site is much more ‘disarming’ on the subject than others and has allowed my wife to think about readiness differently. You have also rekindled skills that we once had – like canning, gardening, and firearm sports.

    I feel that canning and perserving our own food is the only way we can ensure what is in the ‘can’. We can control the quality, chemicals, and additives. We started with pickles and looking to changeover our tomato storage to all home-grown or famers market home canned tomatos.

    Thanks again for your great site and allowing a healthy ‘prepper’ community to exisit.

  18. Because seeing my children hungrey is not an option!

  19. I can food for my family so I can be sure that I am giving them healthy, wholesome meals. I grow some of our food, and I buy fresh, local produce from the farmer’s market. I have developed relationships with our local Amish and other farmers, and buy milk and meat from them. One of the most important factors to our health is the food we eat. I couldn’t consider myself a good mother if I fed my children the chemicals and GMOs that are in most commercial food. For me, the best way to take care of my family is to can and preserve our food.

  20. I think it’s important to know how to can in regard to being prepared, if just to save money. If you know how to put up food by canning, you can always use those extra veggies and fruits that friends may offer, or you can take advantage of a good price on chicken or meat. I have found sweet potatoes for 10 cents a pound at the Aldi store, chicken breasts for 99 cents a pound or less, and many other deals that were just too good to pass up. I would never have been able to pack that much in my freezer, and you always risk losing frozen food to a loss of electricity. Also, I feel connected with my dear, sweet departed grandmothers when I can food for my family. They were both good providers for their families through hard times.

  21. Getting jars at auctions/garage sales and canning my own garden produce is less expensive, healthier, and a fun family event at my house. I marvel at the skills my 7-year-old daughter has now as she helps water the garden, skin peaches, and gather eggs. She KNOWS where food comes from, even though most of her suburban friends don’t!

    I was terrified that my canning would poison the whole family. If you’re new, start with the easy stuff–tomatoes and pickles. You can even buy the packaged flavorings to start with pickles. Move on to jams, and then pressure can some vegetables–green beans, corn, etc. Once you’ve tried it and people love it, you have inexpensive homemade gifts others look forward to receiving. I’m just now trying meat in my third summer. But I have confidence in the equipment and my abilities now. The key is to just get started!

  22. I’ve gardened and canned for awhile…I can not think a very many things I have not canned…maybe snake, toads and squash bugs! ;-) I do it to save the harvest, save money, save time and save myself from worry. When I walk into my pantry or go down to the basement and have all of those lovely jars smiling at me it makes me feel safe. I urge everyone I know to garden, can and dehydrate whatever they can get their hands on…I teach folks how to preserve foods, too.

  23. I am new at canning. In fact this is my first year trying. I have been getting food stored for about 6 months now. I think canning is an important skill. Helps with saving money. The food is more nutritious, and we never know what the future holds.

  24. I grew up with home-canned food at every meal. I haven’t canned in 30 years, but I’m planning to start soon and teach my teenager what she’s been missing all these years!

    Food prices are rising, droughts and floods are causing shortages, and preserving foods using a variety of methods is an important skill to have. We can’t count on always having refrigeration, grocery stores, or even grocery money available, but we’ll always need to feed our families, particularly during the times of year when fresh foods can’t be grown or picked.

  25. I have newly bought jars staring at me out of my pantry, yet I’ve been afraid to start the process!

    Food preservation is important not only to increase your food stores, and to know where your food comes from. It is a key skill that will help my family survive after a life-altering event–enabling us to preserve the food we grow. I think it’s important too as a ‘marketable’ skill, that can be traded for things we might need.

  26. Yesterday I pressure canned beef stew. It’s the second time around canning beef stew for me. My kids love it. It takes a couple of hours out of my day, but now I have 8 meals that will take just a few minutes to prepare somewhere down the road. Or, the kids can heat up a quick meal if I am not around.
    When we moved into our home 5 years ago, it came with an apricot tree. Sadly, I cannot get my family to like apricots. So, tomorrow I am going to make apricot sweet and sour sauce while everyone is away. I’m confident that if they don’t see the apricots go into the sauce, they will never know!!
    I agree with Nana, canning and preserving helps me feel close to my sweet grandmothers that have passed on.
    And Kris…I also love to find canning jars at garage sales.
    Happy Canning Everyone!

  27. It is important to have as many skills and options available to us no matter what the event is. Canning and having inexpensive seasonal food to use instead of having to buy or barter can make the world of difference.

  28. I canned so many stewed tomatos last year I still have left overs, and NO, I do not subscribe to the belief that home canned goods only last a year. I am living proof. Still eating pear butter canned in 2008!
    Back in the 80 ‘s, I used to can cooked down tomatos into instant sauce. I can’t remember exactly what I did, however my canning ‘bible’, ‘Putting Food By’ will help refresh my memory. Up here in the north, the tomatos don’t come into abundance locally until end of August or September, so it will be a while until I can tell you how it went!
    June is for Strawberries-July is for Raspberries and August is for Blue Berries and Wild Black Berries.
    Throw the Dilly Beans in with August along with the Cuke Pickles and I am more than happy to wait until September for the Tomatos and Pickled Beets! And then in October comes the delicious smell of baking Apples down into sauce and butters to can, yum, yum.
    (Don’t have a pressure canner any more, wish I did…)

  29. I learned to can tomatoes and make jelly as a small child with my Mother. I have since progressed to canning soups, spaghetti sauce, chili, meats, making pickles and even learned how to make pickled quail eggs. I love it. I put up all kinds of food items because I don’t see the economy getting any better until more people have jobs. I have cut my grocery bill tremendously and I know what goes into my food.

  30. Canning is one of several methods of preparing for the unexpected, such as job loss. it’s also a frugal way to buy and preserve lots of foods when they’re on super sale! I don’t have a canner yet and dehydrated foods are in all my jars, but I do want to do some water bath canning soon!

    Kelly
    kel at cox net

  31. Preparing my own food is important to me because I know exactly what is in it. If there is an emergency the last thing we need is extra sodium, preservatives, and questionable additives weighing us down. Not only that but if it gets bad enough that canned foods run out I need the skills to make sure I can continue to preserve fresh food for the long haul!

    Janine

  32. Canning scares the crap out of me! I really want to learn but I have no clue how to start. What stuff do you have to buy, or what you can and can’t can. Thank you so much for all the info about canning. Thank you for having all this important info about food storage and prepping in one place. Love It! Simply stated, I’d rather have food storage and supplies and not need them then to need food storage and supplies and not have it!

    • When I first got started, it scared the crap outta me, too! You’re so not alone!

      I got started with a big aluminum stock pot, the Complete Book to Home Preserving by Ball, some canning jars and a huge box of peaches! We’re still eating peach jam four years later.

  33. Canning is a secure way to preserve your harvest, not to mention how pretty it looks on your shelves during the cold winter months! Even if a couple of your jars were to come unsealed, the loss would not be nearly as great as if you were to lose a freezer full of food due to the loss of electricity. Several years ago, the freezer in the garage died during the summer. By the time we discovered it, we lost an entire side of beef – which our entire year supply (about 280 pounds)! The following year, my sister-in-law helped me to pressure can our beef. and although two jars did unseal, it was not nearly as great.

  34. I canned with my mom while growing up–oh the memories and the puckered and knicked hands! By the time I left home I had had my fill. But through the years I have made jam and now look fondly back on canning. Time to do more than just make jam. During the Great Depression, if my paternal grandmother had not canned everything she could lay her hands on, her family of 10 would have starved.

  35. I think preserving and canning is important first because you know what is going in your food. Second, to save money in the long run and third so cut down on having to go to the grocery store, lol. I am new to canning and have only really done freezer jams (does that count, lol?) Anyway, I am finally going to take the plunge. I am going to start small and work up the confidence to do more. Luckily I live in the south and we have a long growing season. :) Thanks for the giveaway!

  36. We are retired and really need to watch our income. We’re in the process of adding two new raised beds to our property. We just discovered the new raspberry bush developed especially for containers. We only tried one plant as they aren’t cheap. We’ll be watching at the end of the season for 3 or 4 more! The berries are firm and very sweet. We’re really looking forward to having more shrubs next year.
    We’re going to can some cherries, apples (from our tree), and probably tons of runner beans that are just flowering now. We figure the more we can put up from our own property the better off we’ll be. We do plan on going to the Farmer’s Market this weekend to see what we can find.

  37. I stretched myself last year and bought a pressure canner and canned meat. It was very intimidating, but once I’d read the directions and dived in, it was a relief. I’ll tell you the most joyous and fulfilling thing is to go into my canning room to grab a jar of tomato sauce, or canned chicken or homemade jam my kids love and know I made it with my own two hands. I don’t think I could stop canning now if I had too, I love it so much. Tomatoes aren’t quite ready in my area of the woods (hopefully soon) but I did already get asparagus up earlier last month (my first time ever!) and jars of beets. I plan on tomato ketchup as another ‘first’ for this year besides my normal Italian stewed tomatoes and sauce.

  38. I am so nervous to can anything, but I am determined to give it a try. I think my biggest fear is not of getting sick, but of the canner exploding in my house! So far, I’ve taken it out of the box. I have a fridge full of squash and zuchinni that I hope to can soon and will have a bounty of tomatoes in August. My freezer just won’t fit everything, so canning is really important. I want to be able to preserve the veggies and fruits that I grow, so we have homemade sauces and vegetables in the winter.

  39. Preserving food for prepping is important to maintain healty eating for your family. When TSHTF you can run to your local WalMart or Winco. If you are preserving food NOW and your family is eating it than your diet will stay a little closer to normal and you will have fewer health problems. A change in diet can cause physical and mental problems in stressful situations. Children, the elderly, mentally disabled family members need something normal to fall back on. Preserving food now and eating it as part of the normal diet is healtier also.

  40. In addition to saving money, supplementing an emergency food storage, and having control of what ingredients my family and I are eating, preserving my own food would also allow me to add my own personal touch –LOVE! , (my secret ingredient), not found in stores,… and the key to my boys eating their dinners! :)
    I’m new to your blog, and just purchased your book, Survival MOM, …. LOVE it!

    Thanks for the opportunity!
    Sonia

  41. I’ve been canning garden produce, chicken, turkey, jams and jellies, juice, etc. for almost fifty years now. From reading other’s replies I know that a lot of you are new at canning. As Lisa says…you gotta just jump in and do it! So what if your first attempt isn’t quite what you wanted…just keep trying! I’ve had some disasters that I’d prefer not to remember, but I learned from my mistakes and so will you! If anyone would like an easy ketsup recipe let me know! It uses a lot of tomatoes and taste so yummy. At the end of the garden/canning season when everything you have canned is put away for the winter or emergencies you can sit back with a grin on your face and proudly say,” and I did all this myself… for my family and me!” There’s no better feeling then looking at those jars full of tasty food, right Lisa??!!!

    • I would LOVE your recipe! If you’d rather email than post it to me here you can reach me at brazen button @ gmail dot com (remove the spaces)! Thank you so much for offering!

  42. Canning is important both as a survival skill and because I’m the picky eater in my family! (DD loves it that she’ll eat anything and mom’s the picky baby!) I won’t eat the “raquetball” style tomatoes sold in stores and put on my sandwich at restaurants. The only ones I’ll eat are the beautiful organic heirlooms from my own garden. I’m so excited I’ve learned to can them for fabluous spaghetti sauce and salsa that tastes worlds beyond store bought. I’ve also never been a fan of store bought applesauce, but we’ve tried canning our own cinnamon applesauce this summer and it is to die for! Tastes like desert, and I know it has raw honey and raw sugar sweetener instead of all that funny junk they put in manufactured sauce.

  43. I know I probably din’t stand a chance of winning with the large number of others entering, but I thought I’d try anyway. :-) The main reason I would love to get into canning would be to make sure that my family is as prepared as possible without having to rely on the stores (which probably will be all looted out by the time I got there anyway if the SHTF). Yes, it does look like a lot of work, but I do have a neighbor that said she’ll can with me (and probably her daughter, since she’s recently gotten into it) and my mom is pretty handy at canning too… so I have a couple of people that I can rely on at least and I just really want to do as much as I can go get as prepared as possible because I have a family to think of and making sure that they have what they need when the SHTF is what’s most important. That and I want to get my 5 year old into helping us get prepared because I think it would also be a very good character building opportunity. :-) Thanks so much Lisa for this great site and all of the work that you do to help the rest of us “prepper Moms”. :-)

  44. There are so many reasons I love to can and freeze my produce. I love the sense of accomplishment of seeing all the rows of goods lined up. I love hearing the little “ping” when things seal :). I like knowing we will have all kinds of good soups and chilis throughout the winter.

  45. Food preservation is a vital skill for multiple reasons. It can help cut down on grocery bills now and in the future, regardless of whether we see a SHTF situation. It allows a family to tailor its own food preferences for storage rather than having to rely on what companies such as Mountain House or others produce. It increases the control a family has over it’s diet, since home-canned foods have less preservatives and additives than what we buy in a store. It allows a family to preserve excess food from gardens or foraging for times when food may not be available. Most importantly however, it is a SKILL. Skills are much more important than equipment, since equipment can be improvised, but equipment without proper skills are next to useless. Skills, especially food preservation, can be used in a barter situation, either offering to preserve a set amount of food for someone else in exchange for other items or services. Furthermore, skills can be taught, either as barter for other services or items (I once traded fencing lessons…swords, not barbed wire…for unarmed combat lessons with a friend in college), as a contribution to a prep group, or to one’s children (both for educational and bonding purposes). Clearly food preservation is a vital skill for multiple reasons.

  46. To me canning gives me control over the quality, flavor and purity of the foods I feed my family. It also allows me to better utilize our grocery budget because I can put food up when it is in season so we can enjoy it all year long without breaking the bank. The money I make in food to preserve and store right now is giving us the best investment return of anything we are doing. And last, but never least, is the feel of satisfaction you get when you look at the rows of canning jars full of food. It’s a beautiful sight.

  47. I have been putting off canning for sometime now. I had a bad experience caused by inexperience in proper canning some twenty years ago. My sister-in-law explained the process over the phone and I thought I had done everything right. She called me a few days later to see how I had made out with those bushels of apples, pears and plums. I was so proud of all the different things I had made and when I finished telling her about all of them, I told her they all turned out fine because I knew the lids had to have a good seal, so when I put them out to cool off from the water bath, I pushed all the lids down………..I can still hear her laughing!!!!! I had to throw everything away. I have put off diving back in because of it, but prepping has me looking at the process more closely and WITH a proper canning book!!!!

  48. It is knowledge that is the logical next step after growing a garden or finding great local farms to buy from. I am sooooo sorry I missed canning all the great strawberries from a local farm this year. This fall I will be trying to can apple pie filling and apple butter. No more wasting gorgeous produce!

  49. I know food preping is important to me because it is lees expensive for me to prepare and when I prepare it my self I know what is in it. Also when and where it was prepared. When you prepare you can use it for all kinds of things, loss of job,layoffs, illness, loss of income to mention a few.

  50. Also I know someone who washes her canning jars and fills them with water until the next canning season thus adding to her water storage. Then if she doesn’t use it she put it on her garden to water her plants.

  51. I will take your challenge! I have been wanting to learn how to can for a long time and I have enough supplies now to actually do it. Canning is much more efficient to store food than freezing because of power outages. So many people lost all their frozen food this summer when the power was out for a week. My only concern is that the lids aren’t reusable?? Do I need to stock up on lids or is there another way?

    • The “tattler lids” are reusable, but I’ve read mixed reviews on them as far as sealing consistency. I hope it’s okay that I replied instead of the survival mom, lol, I’m bored this morning!

      • I have used and stock both the tattler and the ball lids in regular/wide mouth. I always try to grab a pack of ball whenever I go to the store….it slowly builds that stockpile and I watch for end of season clerance come late sept/oct at most retailers. I also plan another bulk tattler purchase in a few months (buying directly from tattler in bulk amounts w/out all the extra packaging in mixed regular/widemouth lots of 100 or 250 seems to be the best price I’ve found anywhere)….I’ve never had a tattler lid fail, the key is not cranking down the ring to finger tight at the beginning when placed in the canner (it was hard for me to uncrank back a smidge on my first batch…seemed unnatural, but it worked….and then making sure TO crank it down real tight when you remove the jar after processing.
        Now regarding reuse, tattler are reusable and while not recommended I have heard of a way to reuse ball lids and it does work. (of course don’t reuse any rusted or damaged because the seal will fail) I currently save all my used lids since I know the process works. I know someone who has reused ball lids 3-4 times, maybe more by now. All you have to do is place the used lids in water with 2TBS baking soda and boil for 10 min…I’ve also heard 1TBS baking soda and 2tsp vinegar works with the added benefit of sanitizing, but ball lids tend to rust so fast I don’t like using an acid. (make sure to dry thoroughly after boiling that long my first batch rusted because I didn’t dry them well, but even they had seals that plumped right back up)
        Reusing ball lids is of course not recommended by the manufactuor and done at your own risk, however it is definitely a skill/option all home canners should be aware of, especially in a survival situation.

        Hope this is of some help!

    • The standard dome lids are not reusable once they’ve been canned. I’m pretty sure (do not take my word on this) that you can reuse ones that haven’t been heat sealed. I reuse the lids from vacuum sealed cans for canning and ones I use for just covering up extra that’s going into the fridge to be used immediately.

      I’m pretty sure when you buy the lids in bulk, the cost goes down significantly.

  52. I think having the skills to can food is important because you are taking charge of your available resources. In a bad situation, the tomatoes aren’t going to wait!

  53. One reason why canning is important…because it’s shelf stable…you can store without electricity…it’s insurance against teenagers who accidentally unplug your chest freezer and you lose almost all of the contents in it. :(

    • Forgot my email add.
      Gingeroo616 at aol dotcom

      • Oh! I’m taking a class on making your own ketchup next month.

    • wow, that would be sooo terrible! Argghhh!

  54. I think canning is so important for food storage because the garden doesn’t wait on you to spit out a tomato at time until you use it. My husband has 33 tomato plants in the garden of many different varieties. I pick some one day and the next there are dozens more ready to be picked.
    Got bunches of them ready for canning right now, so I’m planning on doing some canning tonight of my tomatoes.
    I just learned how to can over the last couple of months and I have got to tell you that my family loves it. We have had a cherry tree in the back yard that gets picked over by the birds every year. This year we put up some bird defenses and got loads of sour cherries. So I learned how to make Cherry Jam and can it. Everyone says its the best Cherry Jam they have ever had.
    We have also had an abundence of cucumbers, so I learned how to make pickles. My 2 1/2 grandson keeps wolfing them down.

  55. I believe that canning is an essential part of being prepared since it gives us the option of being able to store bulks of food for later use without depending on electricity. It also allows us to preserve food for longer periods of time. Personally, I think it’s nice to be able to save money by canning homegrown vegetables.

  56. Canning produce is important because it is a family heritage and I’ve gotten away from it. The family didn’t can meats, but ate a lot of fresh squirrel & dumplings or pan fried squirrel or maybe pork. But canning meat has become a priority to learn.

  57. I think it will be vitally important to preserve food if the grid goes down. Even if it doesn’t, we are cutting costs this way, it is healthier because we control what we eat and it just plain taste better.I am a TOTAL beginner. So it is awesome bonding for my Grandmother and me. She has taken me under her wing and lovingly explains canning, gardening and anything else that I ask her. :) Love that lady.

  58. I believe that canning is an essential part of being prepared because of several reasons.
    * It can be done without electricity
    * You know when the product was canned and exactly what is in it.
    * Storing up the excess garden produce for later use or when times get tough.
    * It is a survival skill set.
    * It is a good skill to pass on to the younger generation.

  59. I was just telling my mom today that the drought we’re having and predicted food price increases and potential shortages is exactly why we need a garden and to learn how to can. I tried pickles last year and they turned mushy so now I’m very discouraged. Those books would be great.

    • Christy, you should try Pickle Crisp! If you can’t find that in your local canning aisles you can order Calcium Chloride (the main ingredient in Pickle Crisp) from either cheesemaking suppliers or chemical warehouses. If you’re using the 30% solution from the cheesemaker supply then you need to add 2 Tbsp per quart or 1 Tbsp per pint jar. I usually put it in before adding my pickles.

      You can use this for more than just pickles, though! You can use it for any veggie you’d like to stay crisp!

  60. I think preserving food is important, not just for preparedness, but in general. It’s a way to store your gardens bounty for later use. You have food that you know isn’t poisoned with chemicals. Also, most importantly, canning gives you shelf stable food, so you don’t have to worry about it spoiling or thawing out during a power outage. I don’t have that much experience with canning, I sure wish I would’ve been more observant when my grandparents were still alive and gardening! I have one grandmother that is still living…I have bombarded her with questions!

  61. The extra expense of the canning equipment and just the fear of the unknown is keeping us from this important skill, but the ability to can our own food will actually save us money in the long run! This skill is valuable for short term emergencies, financial loss or long term events.

    Thanks SurvivalMom for the contest!

  62. I just want to be able to buy foods when they are fresh and cheap, locally, and then preserve them myself. I especially would love to be able to can meats myself. I like the idea of canning myself, I know what goes in the jars, and don’t have to worry about the quality.

  63. I have done water-bath canning, but like you (used to be!), I am leery of pressure canning. However, I am ready to start conquering my fears. This is one of the top things on my To Learn list! Why? Canned food is still good when the freezer goes out for whatever reason, it is healthier because I can catch produce at peak nutrition, I don’t have to wonder how to pronounce any of the ingredients in it, and canned food is already prepared. While stored dry goods like grain are important, they require cooking and a longer preparation time. I can remember my mother opening a few of her canned goods and having a meal ready to go in just a few minutes. That was the original fast food!

  64. Okay this is just amazing and crazy that you posted this question. My cousin just taught me how to can last night. I have been wanting to learn how to can for years and to my surprise I loved everything about it. The crazy thing is we were chatting about the importance of canning while we were canning. What a awesome skill it is to have. It saves you money, you know whats going in your jar, this skill is endless…. It’s something you can pass down…. We did 12 quart jars full of apricots and 7 jars of apricot jam…. I’m so ready for tomatoes …bring it on!!!!!

  65. I think canning is important because my family can’t afford to purchase a lot of the ready made survival food, so it would ease my mind and keep us prepared if we can make our own. And if the disaster never comes, it’s fun to learn something new and then teach my kids.

  66. I am having the best time learning to can this summer. It can be nerve-wracking for a Type-A like me (am I doing this right???), but each time it gets easier. I am a big proponent of *practicing* a skill set before it becomes a survival skill, so I believe canning is an important part of being prepared because if things go bad, that’s NOT the time to start learning how to preserve your food. Start now, set an example, teach your children – and have fun!

  67. The drought is what has pushed me over the edge. I’ve been wanting to try my hand at canning, but leery of the pressure canner. So, I’ve started with water bath canning. Yesterday I made grape jelly. It was so much easier than I expected, and when I compared my end results to store prices, I saved about 40 cents. Today I am going to be canning peaches and mangos. I know the skill is to can tomatoes, but we really don’t use them very much, so I am sticking with what we like! At least, until I catch the tomatoes on sale! And that’s why I think food preservation is important: if you aren’t blessed with a garden, you can take advantage of sales at grocery stores or farmer stands. As a side note, a lot of us store dried beans. I have been reading that after a year they may be difficult to reconstitute… anyone have experience with that? Just in case, I think I will be converting my dried beans into canned beans, once I take the plunge into pressure canning! krista.hernandez@aol.com

    • There are a ton of “do and don’ts” out there regarding beans. Like not adding salt while they cook. I ALWAYS add salt while they’re cooking. It just tastes better to me and I’ve never had any problems, but I’m not a salt-a-holic, so I don’t add much. I have noticed that they won’t soften up when you add things that are really acidic, like tomatoes.

      As for how long you can store them before they won’t soften… I’ve never had that problem. EVER. I’ve been cooking beans for over 25 years and I’ve used some that the original bag actually needed to be dusted off. It might take a little longer, but I’ve never noticed a difference beside the color change when beans are older.

  68. With the way food prices keep going up I think that preserving your own food is going to be a big part of our future. Also, when you do it yourself you know what it going into it…they put so much garbage in our food. I learned to can a couple of summers ago. We moved to a new house that had a peach and apple tree. A friend of mine come over and showed me how to can. We had a lot of fun canning peaches and applesauce. There is nothing like going down to the basement and bringing up home canned peaches in the middle of winter…they are so delicious…YUM!

  69. I’m literraly petrified of canning with a pressure canner, because I’m afraid it will explode. I’ve seen it happen. I’ve also seen the little top that jiggles go through a cieling before when I was little. I will waterbath, but I haven’t done it in so many years since a teenager that I am just now recollecting supplies to start water bathing again.

  70. I want to learn to can so I can add another shelf stable layer to my food storage!

  71. I want to know exactly what is going into our food! Canning is the best way to put healthy food up for emergencies and day to day eating (rotate, don’t forget to rotate!). This is the perfect skill to learn right now, my garden is ready!

  72. In the early stages of prepping I asked the Lord for a direction and a verse in the Bible came to mind – ” –a threefold cord is not quickly broken” ( Eccl. 4:12). I’ve been trying to apply that in every area of my prepping ( three ways to cook; three ways to heat;—-). Canning is just one of my ways of food storage. It is an ‘arm’ of gardening. Still have a lot to learn since I haven’t done it in almost 40 years.

    • I am not religious at all, but I think that is an EXCELLENT approach to prepping. Thank you for sharing!

  73. Canning is an important skill for a few reasons. In good times, it gives you a good way to put extra food away instead of letting tomatoes, squash, etc rot on your countertop or in your fridge before you get to it. It lasts for years and you know what the contents are. You can have home-grown produce in the winter. And its a great skill to learn in case SHTF. When there’s no power for refrigeration, you’ll have to can. You don’t want to learn when you’re forced to learn. Way too stressful. Its better to learn when times are good. I’ve been wanting to learn how, but haven’t yet. My wife and her mom can spaghetti sauce every year. I think I’ve talked my wife into going to the farmer’s market next weekend and stocking up and doing some canning! Could be fun!

  74. Canning is one of those skills I have been reticent about. I have some basic knowledge from my grandmother and my dad, but have been too fearful to take it up myself. Other reasons such as lack of space, the equipment needed have also kept me from making the commitment. I am inspired you have jumped in! Good for you!

    • Keep your eye out at yard sales & thrift stores! I got a water bath canning kettle for my daughter-in-law at Goodwill and when she came to visit we had a great time – I canned peaches with her and then she went home and canned pear sauce the next week – just from that short time with me.
      But I got the kettle for a very small price. So it wasn’t as pretty as a brand new one- it’s in her house and she uses it, and that is enough for me – and easy on the budget.

  75. I have canned dilly beans once, but would love to do more. It is important to be able to preserve fruits and Veggies for good health.

  76. I am taking up canning and prepping as a healthy way to feed my family whole food, which we have all pitched in to grow, as opposed to giving any more of our money to ConAgra and other food giants for their tasteless and genetically modified foods. Not to mention the worst – case scenarios. We are new on the scene to prepping as a family but we are working hard to get it all together!

  77. I have accepted your challenge. I have canned carmelized onions, jalapeño pineapple jelly this week. It important when you are given or grow free cheap food to preserve it for later times

  78. I am a grandmother who has been canning tomatoes and green beans, pickles, jellies and veg, soup for 35 years. A couple of years back I ventured out canning meats and I love it and the results. It makes food preparation so easy when time does not allow or someone is sick or more recently a new grandbaby. I have try to encourage others to get a good canning book and forge ahead. I have a few converts. Canning jars can be bought at yard sales. Canning is much cheaper than buying the freeze dried meat or vegetables. As mentioned above, you know what is in the food and what you are feeding your family.

  79. I agree with all the posts you’ve gotten. But one of my main reasons for learning to can is my 3 grandbabies. I want them to learn early like I “remember”. I also want to teach my kids, which I wish my Mama had time to do with me. Canning is an art, a talent that never goes out of style, and soon it may just be one of the only ways of surviving. Thank you for your sight, I have learned so much here.

  80. I am a new mom and my thoughts now focus on my baby and future babies. I believe preserving my own food is an important part of being prepared because I don’t want to rely on anyone else to provide for me and my family. Canning will also allow me to add to our stockpile – just in case.

  81. I’d can to prep because it stores well; I’d know exactly what was in it, how it tastes, and what I’d use it for; it’s also a skill to pass on to my kids.

  82. What jars would you recommend, the Ball or generic walmart brand? Thanks.

  83. I think that canning my own food is important for two reasons. First, it’s MY FOOD! I have a young daughter and I like knowing what’s going into her little system. If I canned it I know there isn’t any hidden GMOs or High fructose corn syrup lurking inside. Also, canning is not only a fun and productive hobby, it’s an important survival skill. In a long term grid down scenario, there won’t be any lds stores or Internet based companies to reorder food from. Canning, along with dehydrating, pickling and salting are ways to ensure you have heathy food in the long lean winter months.

  84. This summer I began learning how to garden, so next summer I would like to grow more and learn how to preserve my vegetables. I think learning to grow and preserve food is important so that I know what is in our food and where it came from. It is also another step toward self-sufficiency and not having to rely on someone else.

  85. Canning is the one skill I think EVERYONE should know. Even if you’re using wild foods, they’re so hard to find during winter and early spring. If you want to make sure of your family having a healthy variety, canning is the way to go.

    We get the whole family involved. I remember growing up my Grandma and Mom only canned jellies and jams. I’m a “know it all”, I want to know how to do the old things. Even to the point of joining a medieval reenactment group to learn even more. My mother tells me I was born in the wrong era. Maybe, scarily, it’s the right one and we just don’t know it yet.

    I fell like an odd ball since I’ve been reluctant to start dying food. That scares me more than canning! :0)

  86. I can’t wait to take the challenge! I have started reading up on canning and used to help my grandma when I was little, I think it is a skill that more families need to learn, to save move and to help with being able to provide for you family, we live in a area where we have frequent power-outage and I would love to make sure I don’t lose my food by having it canned instead of frozen.

    Thanks for all you do!

  87. So glad to see this challenge. My husband and I are slowly learning how to grow our own food. There’s been lots of mistakes so far, but I guess it’s better to make them now than later. And equally important is learning how to can what we grow. Our romas have done well this year and over the weekend, I took the plunge and canned 6 pints of tomatoes. My daughter and I have also made spaghetti sauce twice. I’m freezing the extra for another meal. If I have enough tomatoes I’m planning to make and can some salsa next weekend. I hope this gives me the confidence to try more!
    Oh…and I watched the video link you posted before I canned the tomatoes…such a big help…thanks!