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I have had to go back and reminisce so that I can give an overall accurate view as to the reasons I can.
When I was growing up we always had a large garden. We raised our own chickens and beef. My dad and his family froze most meats and produce that we ate. Very little of our meats or vegetables came from the grocery store. We ate “home grown” in most instances.
My dad and his family did use the water bath method of canning some of the fruit and vegetables that we raised. I had never seen any meat home canned during that time.
My brother-in-law and Sister-in-law, Steve and Suzie Bennett were the ones that introduced me to home canning. When we first began to talk about it I was not impressed. I really could not see any reason for me to can, because we had access to good grocery stores with all the canned foods we needed.
On or about August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina made its way through the state of Mississippi. Even though we are about 100 miles from the coast we were devastated by the winds from this record-breaking storm. We were without electricity in our community for over 17 days so our life was changed. One of the major problems we had in our home and the people in the area that we lived also had, we did not have the proper food at our homes to sustain us during this down time and our grocery stores were devastated and everything was closed.
One of the first loads of food, canned goods, frozen foods and dried foods was sent to us from Southwest Louisiana, my home area. In that load a lady from Dequincy, Louisiana sent my wife and I some Home Canned meats, vegetables and fruit. It was then that I realized Home Canning was something I needed to investigate. The Home canned food was so delicious and easy to use. I must confess it was four and a half years later before I decided to try Home Canning. I have been Home Canning since January of 2009. I bought two Presto Pressure Canners, six cases of ball and Kerr quart size canning jars and lids.
My Brother-in-law and Sister-in-law came and spent a couple days with my wife and I to teach me some things about Home Canning. He taught me to can Gumbo, Chili, Dry Beans and soups.
Whether you are a veteran Home Canner or you are a beginner at canning your own homegrown vegetables, or your own Home Canned meal in a jar, you already know many of the reasons that you are involved with Home Canning.
Now I do realize there are so many that wonder, “Why would anyone be willing to spend so much time, effort and money to Pressure Can food in Mason Jars?”
First – Let me establish the fact that Home Canned Foods taste so much better than commercial or store bought canned foods.
Home canned foods are fresher because they are freshly prepared.
Commercially canned foods often have generic or substitute vegetables or fruit in them. (Commercially canned Pumpkin often contains other kinds of winter squash in the blend.)
Commercially canned foods have chemicals added as ingredients and most of the cans are chemically lined.
Second – Home canned food is better for you. Much, if not most home canned food is home grown or home raised. It is fresh vegetables from your garden or the local Farmers Market. Your chicken, pork and beef are usually home or farm raised. Home canned food is safe food that has been safely grown and handled. (I do can meats and vegetables that have been frozen, also.)
Usually home canned foods have no preserving additives added.
I personally do add a little Sea Salt to my meats and vegetables, for seasoning purposes only. I do can some of my beans and vegetables with seasonings and meat to have it ready to warm and eat from the jar.
Third – Home canned foods are easily stored. It is good to have these jars of food no shelving or flat surfaces that are stable.
These home canned jars of food should be stored in a climate-controlled area that does not get too cold or hot. No direct sun light on the jars of canned food is recommended.
Fourth – Home canned foods can be canned in different size jars. I use ½ pint (jelly jars), pints, 1 ½ pints, quarts and ½ gallon jars to can.
If you like to eat a meal portion for a lunch or dinner a ½ pint or pint will be the portion size you will want to use. If you are serving a family you will want to use quarts. If you are preparing a meal for a larger group it is better in quarts or ½ gallon jars.
I personally can most of the foods that we use in our home in ½ pints and pints, because there is only my wife and I. We usually do not even eat the same thing at a mealtime, even though we most often eat at the same time. I can in jar sizes for convenience and without waste.
So, to finish and answer the question, “Why Do I Can?” I must confess I love to can. To me, home canning is one of the greatest past times that I have ever been involved in. Home canning is my hobby. I teach Canning Classes, because I want others to learn this art.
So, to answer the question, “I can because I can.”