When it comes to canning and freezing, most people get into it because of the great benefits. If you are considering taking up this time-honored way of preserving food, you might be wondering if it’s worth it. Why bother? Are there any benefits to canning and freezing food at home?
There actually are some very real benefits to canning and freezing. Here are some of them.
If you buy your food in season from local farmers or take advantage of supermarket sales, you can produce large quantities of high-quality canned food for little money. Dried beans are a good example – a 2-lb bag of dried beans for $2, cooked and canned, produces 4 to 6 pints of canned beans. A pint is a bit more than a commercial can, making your efforts well worth it.
Taking advantage of seasonal, local foods saves money, too. Many vendors at open air markets will sell boxes of “canning fruits” or “canning vegetables.” These can be very reasonable, producing more than their worth in canned or frozen goods.
When you can and freeze food yourself, you know exactly what went into the jar. If you prefer less sugar or salt, you can simply use a recipe with less. Glass jars are also a very safe material for food preservation; no metals leach into the food.
There is a much shorter processing time when you can and freeze at home. There are no long transport times; you can get your food from garden or market to can in a matter of hours. This helps retain the foods’ nutrients.
Another note on health – foods you can yourself do not have added preservatives, artificial colors, or artificial flavors. There is no high fructose corn syrup either, or any other dubious chemicals and additives that may be of concern.
In the middle of winter, nothing beats opening a jar of fresh-tasting berries, frozen or canned at the peak of their flavor; and few pleasures equal fresh-tasting corn and tomatoes in January. During cold and flu season, you and your family can be enjoying nutrient-rich, healthy foods that may help ward off illness.
Have you ever received homemade jam or an herbal vinegar as a gift for Christmas? Frozen or canned goods make excellent holiday gifts, and they are inexpensive and generally well-received.
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