With so much of the crop coming in now, preserving the surplus is a great way to make sure that nothing goes to waste after all the work you have put into growing your food. Mama Hoss stopped by to talk about canning veggies and ways that she likes to make the most of the harvest she gets from the garden.
Canning vegetables has been around since the early 1900s with many people, especially in the rural parts of the country, using the process to save home grown goods. With Mama Hoss it was no different. Canning was done throughout the years as she grew up with the techniques and recipes being passed down from her grandmother and mother.
There are many different things that Mama Hoss enjoys canning, such as sweet pickles, bread and butter pickles, green beans, salsa, and tomatoes, but the one thing that everyone enjoys to have on hand is her vegetable soup. Making and canning soup is a perfect way to combine a smaller yield of many things into one meal that will last over a year if done properly.
Canning your own food is also a great way to offset the cost of grocery store bills. Because canned food lasts for a long period of time, if you grow your own foods and can them, you can enjoy them throughout the year and still have the same great flavors as when they were freshly picked. Foods grown in the summer will taste fresh in the winter and foods grown in the winter will be fresh for the summer.
Mama Hoss also tells us that when you preserve your own foods you control the amounts of sodium and other ingredients so you know what is going into your foods. If you can the crops you have grown yourself, you also know what you used in the garden on your plants and know what you’re consuming.
Boiling-Water or Steam Pressure
There are two ways to can fruits and veggies with the method you need use determined by one thing; acid content. If the food item you have has a high-acid content, such as tomatoes, apples, peaches, and citruses, you will use the boiling-water method. Foods that are lower in acid content, such as okra, carrots, and beets, you will need to use the steam-pressure method. The later method would need to be used for vegetable soups you want to preserve as well.
Don’t be intimidated or afraid to can your own foods as a way to preserve them. It can feel daunting at first for first timers or those just considering starting. There are many, many resources to help you get started. Mama Hoss recommends the book “Blue Book Guide to Preserving” by Ball as well as visiting the National Center for Home Food Preserving at https://nchfp.uga.edu/. The NCHFP has every tool on their site you will need for the type of preservation you plan on doing with a very user-friendly and intuitive website. Lastly you can speak with your county offices. There are many counties that have places that offer their equipment for you to use.
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