If you think “canning” involves actual “cans,” you are not alone. It is, after all, a relatively lost art–the exclusive domain of farmer’s wives, naturalists, and individuals who sell their wares at craft fairs.
This time-honored practice, however, is enjoying an upswing in popularity among younger generations. In an effort to take back control of the family’s food source, suburbanite moms, foodies, and the simply “curious” are mastering the technique of canning. And their numbers continue to grow.
What makes canning attractive in a society that has easy access to already-canned-and-prepared foods? It turns out that there is a veritable myriad of viable reasons to preserve your foods yourself.
The modern consumer is becoming increasingly concerned about the foods they are ingesting. Canning home-grown or locally-sourced produce enables you to better control what goes into your pantry.
Canning allows you to avoid not only tongue-twisting mystery ingredients, but also BPA, a common ingredient in lined cans. According to “5 Reasons to Embrace Home Canning,” BPA is a dangerous and potent endocrine disruptor that is linked to several serious conditions–and it does leach into foods.
Furthermore, by preserving your own produce, you can control how much salt or sugar is added, plus you can better avoid allergens.
Canning is an environmentally friendly way to feed your family. While commercial cans and jars can be recycled, the recycling process, itself, does consume natural resources such as electricity and water. And many of these items still make their way into the trash. Your mason jars, however, can be used over and over again for years.
Preserving food that has been grown in your own backyard or by a nearby farmer equates to a gas savings as well. Plus, it ensures that your food dollar stays in your community.
And, as The Examiner adds, unlike frozen or refrigerated food stuffs, items preserved through proper canning can be stored without using electricity.
It’s Financially Wise
Yes, canning will require an initial investment in equipment, but, once you have your tools, you’ll be able to use them for years to come. Furthermore, when you factor in how much you pay for canned and jarred foods in the grocery store, you will be astonished by how quickly these items add up.
Plus, canning will enable you to buy produce while it’s in season–and much more affordable–but enjoy it all year long.
Thanks to the industrial age and subsequent grocery shelves stacked with pre-packaged, pre-prepared foods, society has becoming somewhat complacent and “removed” from their food. Canning can fix this.
For one thing, canning teaches children that canned tomato sauce is not a naturally occurring phenomena. Humans actually pick and process these tomatoes and make them into the end product–sauce.
And, as “An Expert Interview with Marisa McClellan about Canning” states, canning is one way that we can become less divorced from what we eat and reclaim that individual connection with our food.
It is Enjoyable
While you will have to overcome an initial learning curve, you will likely catch on to canning’s “trade secrets” quickly. You may even find yourself so overcome with pride that you will do the “can-can” because you can “can.”Sorry, but that last sentence begged to be composed.
If your mother or grandmother was an avid canner, picking up this proverbial “torch” enables you to reconnect with old memories and a family tradition. Preserving your own food is a way of preserving your heritage.
And, there is an ardent on-line community of canners who are eager to share their knowledge and swap recipes–making it a great way to foster new friendships.
And mastering the art of canning may not be as tricky as you think. You likely have a friend who is a “closet canner” and would love to take you under her wing. All you need to do is ask.
What do you most enjoy about canning?