Today, I found a great deal on store bought spaghetti sauce. It was in a large jar size that was much larger than we use in a single meal. I went ahead and bought it anyways. After taking out enough for the evening meal, I started pouring the remaining amount in the jar into smaller canning jars. I filled 6 of the half-pint size and one pint jar. In all, the 127 kg (2 lbs 13 oz) size jar yielded 5 pints total of sauce! I had purchased 4 jars of the sauce, so ended up with a very well stocked supply of spaghetti sauce to use. To process the jars, I pressure canned them as I would if I had made the sauce homemade. I chose this method over water bath because these have small amounts of meat in them.
I am pretty excited. I have been planning to make a trip to the store when I am able to purchase more #10 cans of items that I can safely break down into usable portions for home canning. Tomato sauces, ketchup, and fruits are a great candidate for this! Pickles, bbq sauce, and many other items can be repackaged as long as you follow the same basic rules as if you were canning from scratch.
While I was at it, I went ahead and made up a batch of homemade tomato soup for canning up in pint jars. This is a favorite of my husband. He loves to take it out on the truck with him. Having the home canned meals sure helps with costs as well as being healthier than eating in truck stops all the time.
To save on costs, I plan to store the #10 cans of food as they are. It makes no sense to open them all and repackage them before they are needed. The costs for jars, lids, etc., just doesn’t make it worth the work. Instead, I will wait until I need one of the cans opened. At that time I will jar up the extra that is left over after preparing our meal.
Doing this, I am feeling better about our lack of garden this season. I am seeing that this method will really help to build a pantry quickly, yet at a lower cost. It isn’t a perfect solution. I would rather grow my own for canning. It does make a viable solution in years where a garden fails or for those who are unable to garden.