What do you do when you garden is producing more than you can use? Or you’ve found a great buy on fruits and vegetables? Well, freezing and canning are great ways to preserve your garden bounty, or even that great buy you found at your local market or grocery store. It probably seems overwhelming to think about, trust me…I’ve been there! But it can be really simple, you just need to be prepared. Maybe you’ve done some canning or freezing (most of us freeze foods at one time or another!), but it hasn’t been a habit and maybe you’ve never attempted to feed your family on preserved foods through the winter. A basic guide can be very helpful.
Here is a simple guide to canning and freezing.
What Foods to Preserve and When
Pretty much any produce can be preserved by canning and/or freezing. Freshest is always better, but you don’t have to have a garden to reap the benefits of food preservation! I have canned fruit from great add on buys from Bountiful Baskets. You can also preserve foods from your local farmers’ market and grocery store too. It’s a great way to take advantage of sales, but make sure it is fresh produce and not produce ready to start decaying. Freshest is best!
A great tip is to learn what foods are in season for your area. This will help you determine what is fresh and also be able to catch a great sale.
You can also can or freeze meats and fish. I freeze meats, I have never canned meats. I do hope to venture down that path one day, but haven’t yet.
For canning, you’ll need some basic items:
For freezing, you need some simpler items:
A good book is a must for both freezing and canning.
- Make sure everything is sterile! Jars, tongs, lids, etc. all of it should be boiled for 10 minutes before use.
- Low-acid foods need to be pressure-canned to make sure all bacteria are gone.
- When freezing plastic bags, place them on a tray so that the bag does not sag between the rungs of the freezer shelf.
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