One of my favourite things about fall is the ability to preserve our harvest by canning.
I know…canning sounds old fashioned, doesn’t it?
I can’t help myself…there is something so satisfying about eating freshly preserved items made with your own hands.
I feel like a squirrel hiding her nuts for later when things are scarce.
We are truly blessed to live in the Okanagan where fruits and vegetables are plentiful.
It seems a shame to not take advantage of our ability to store the tastes of summer for the upcoming cold winter months.
I like the idea of supporting our local farmers by buying local.
Now more than ever we should all pay attention to where our food comes from.
Sure, it takes time to can and preserve. But I have found it to be a truly satisfying experience!
Another benefit of canning is doing it with your family.
I believe it is important to pass down traditions, such as preserving, to our children.
It baffles me when I hear of children who are growing up not knowing where their food comes from, or how to prepare it and preserve it.
I often wonder, how will they feed themselves and their families when they become adults?
It all tastes so much sweeter to everyone when they’ve had a hand in preparing it!
Canning is also another way that you can ensure you and your family eat nutritiously.
No preservatives, added sodium, or unnecessary sugars and additives – just pure goodness!
At a recent local wine tasting we ordered a delicious
The group we were with drooled over the flavourful food which besides cheeses and meats featured local chutneys, jams, mustards, pickled onions, beets and carrots.
Some of my favourite things to preserve are not fancy, but rather staples that we use quite regularly:
- Tomatoes, Tomato Sauce & Salsa
- Peaches, Cherries, Black Currents
- Habanero Sauce
- Blackberry Jam
- Tapenades & Chutneys
If you’ve never canned before, check out some beginner tips below!
Canning Tips for Beginners
- Consider selecting items that your family enjoys eating and that you regularly cook with.
For instance, I like to make Peach or Blackberry Crisp for dessert once in a while so I find it handy to have canned peaches, cherries, blackberries and currents.
- Buy your ingredients locally and seasonally.
Pay attention to which fruits and vegetables are in season so that you can plan ahead
- Get organized.
It helps to be prepared and have all your ingredients ready to that you can quickly move from one step to another.
- Invest in the right tools.
I find a food processor, blender, sieve, multiple canning pots, jar tongs, and funnel are invaluable.
- Check your jars, lids, and rims in advance of canning day.
I replace my lids and jars every few years.
- Only use the freshest fruits and vegetables.
Fruit ripens quickly so it’s important to use fresh ingredients for the best results.
- Sterilize your jars.
I find it helpful to use the sanitation cycle on my dishwasher.
- Leave the correct headspace.
If you do not follow the recipe recommendations, your jars may not seal or liquid will leak out into your canning bath.
- Use a Water Bather.
Canning is not safe in the oven!
- Take the bubbles out!
Failure to do so can interfere with the jar’s ability to drive the air out and prevent a good seal.
- Following canning recipes.
Recipes are often a delicate balance… when you start messing around with levels of acidity you can disrupt this harmony.
- Use caution when removing.
I like to have a towel ready on my counter top as the temperature difference can cause the jars to break.
Jars must remain undisturbed for 24 hours which allows them time to cool. You may hear an occasional “PING” indicating that jars are sealing.
Once cool, push down on the lids to see if there is any give. If not, your jars are sealed! If there is give however, then you may assume that your jar has not sealed properly. If this occurs, you must place the jar in your fridge and eat it within the next few days or discard of its contents.
From all of us at RE/MAX…
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