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All Things Canning and Food Preservation

Now, I'm no pro. I am either self-taught or learned what I know from my mom, but I also think this is the best way to dip your toes into the world of canning before you take a full swan dive.

With gardening, comes all the food preservation since we don't sell a lot of our fresh produce aside from family and friends. I do a mixture of both pressure and water bath canning, just depending on what I'm making. I highly recommend anyone getting into canning to just go ahead and purchase a pressure canner that can double as a water bath canner. It just makes so much more sense than purchasing the water bath and then having to get a pressure canner in the future. Plus, it takes up less space in your house if you have something that serves dual purpose. Here's the one I own and love it! I am also linking the canning accessories kit that I have. It has everything you will need.

So far this season, I have canned pickles, banana peppers, relish and jalapenos. I am just about ready to start small batching some tomato recipes as well, like stewed tomatoes, chili and salsa. I like to do all of my canning in small batches since the produce ripens at different rates. I try to make sure we utilize everything when it is at its peak so that the least amount of produce goes to waste.

My biggest thing is that I love having access to foods that I've grown throughout the winter season. There is something so comforting to me about knowing where our food came from and what is in it. The things we buy from the store are packed full of preservatives and additives that are unnecessary. Just because it's preserved food, doesn't mean it needs to be filled with toxic products. Having our canned/frozen/preserved foods available throughout the year also helps us to make healthier choices. It's easy to heat up homemade canned chili on a cold day. The ease of premade products is so nice.

In the past, we have made chili, soup and pickled green tomatoes with my mom. The chili and soup made for great and very quick meals when we didn't feel like cooking or were in a rush. The pickled green tomatoes are such a yummy snack. She is also great at making Italian style stewed tomatoes for pasta or soup and Mexican style stewed tomatoes for throwing in the crockpot with chicken to make tacos or other dishes.

We also do some preserving using our dehydrator, vacuum sealer and by freezing. I dehydrate all of our herbs and then grind them into a fine powder so that I can store them to be able to restock our spice cabinet. Most recently, I made some gazpacho that we put into quart sized ziploc bags, laid flat and then put into the freezer. This is the perfect portion for the two of us.

There really are so many things that you are able to either can or preserve in another way to have access to foods that are only freshly available during certain months of the year. I have lots of recipes that I like for canning and preserving in other ways that I would be happy to share, if anyone is interested. But all in all, food preservation is important and really cool.

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