I love making homemade soups and stews. Instead of making a small recipe for one meal, I make a stock pot of the soup or stew. It takes very little extra time to do this. I let it simmer all afternoon. After dinner, I ladle the leftovers into canning jars. These are processed in a pressure canner. By the time I have the dishes done and kitchen cleaned, the processing is nearly done.
I love doing this. Not only do we enjoy the meal when it is first made, but I have extra meals to stock in my pantry for another day. Tonight, I am going to be simmering a pot of dried beans on the wood stove over night. In the morning, I will rinse them and cover in fresh water. They will be cooked until nearly finished and drained again. Placed into jars along with a molasses & brown sugar based liquid, they will be pressure canned to make a version of “baked beans” that we love. Sometimes, I will add to the jars a few of the “Lil Smokies” beef sausages or browned ground meat. The meat adds even more flavor to the beans. Later this week, I will make some tomato soup to jar up.
I love canning for the pantry. It is so easy and the home canned versions of the soups and stews tastes so much better. It is a great value for your money. The baked beans, made with 2 pounds of dried white beans, makes about a dozen pint jars of beans. The cost for the entire batch is less than what you would pay for 2 cans of about a pint jar’s worth of the baked beans. We love that we know exactly what is put into our foods. Home preserving gives you that knowledge. You don’t have to worry about additives and unpronounceable ingredients. The ingredients in the home preserved foods are basic. If you garden, raise your own meat, or hunt the costs for stocking your pantry are greatly reduced.
Home canning equipment is an investment, but one that pays for itself very quickly. You are able to buy in bulk and not have to be concerned about waste or spoilage. There are plenty of free websites that teach home canning and food dehydration along with recipes. Your local cooperative extension service also will provide free information that is up to date.
It is worth looking into. Who knows, you may find that it is something that you want to try. The canners made today are much easier to use than the ones our Grandmothers used back in the day. With a little common sense, you will be safely preserving food for your family in no time!