Canning... alot of people think it is so hard to do. It is easy! Just time consuming but well worth the time spent which means you keep more of your money in your pocket when you can food.
First you need some good canning equipment. I recommend using a Hot Water Canner because most food is acidic enough to warrant preserving with the boiling water method. This canner in the link is exactly what I have in my house and use religiously when I do my canning. This is the method I prefer since it is very easy to do. Then you need the accessories: Jar Lifter (to lift the jars safely from the hot water bath), funnel, mason jars with lids and screw bands (they come in quarts and pints available at Walmart or whatever other store you have that sells canning equipment, and finally, you need a cook book. I use this one called Putting Food By; it is very easy to use and explains everything in great detail.
When I can, I preserve pears, peaches, cherries (when they are affordable), beets (I usually pickle them as they taste the best that way in my opinion), pickles (they can get so expensive at the store so why not make my own). You also can make salsa, spaghetti sauce, relishes, and a whole lot more; but these are the items that my family eats tons of so it saves me a bundle on buying those at the store all year round at outrageous prices.
Support your local farmers market for the food you need to preserve. I have a great relationship with 3 of the local farms in the area when I need my produce for canning. You can get great deals on boxes of fruit rather than by the pound. This may sound expensive but I pay about $24 for a box of pears and I usually get 2 of them to make 48 pints of canned pears (the kids absolutely go nuts for them!) so thats about $1.00 a jar that it costs me to make for the fruit... you cannot get homemade quality pears for $1.00 a can at the grocery store (The DelMonte jarred fruit comes close but its also double the price), so I save money since my kids eat tons of them. What I buy at Farmer's Market pays for itself during the winter when I do not have to buy canned peaches, pears, beets, or pickles at the store and it lasts me all year until I can the next year. Especially with the state the economy is in, you need to save all you can where you can. Canning is an excellent way to save money on your grocery bill. Try it, you will like it!
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