Great eats in your pantry

Top 10 Foods for Home Canning

by Rhiana Jones


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Canning is back! Our grandmothers did it, some of our Moms did it, and now our generation has jumped in the canning pot. Urban homesteaders, farming mamas, homesteaders, preppers, DIY enthusiasts, and frugalistas everywhere are learning the benefits and foodie pleasures of home canning.

Taking after my grandmother who raised me, I'm becoming quite the canning queen myself. Here are the top 10 things that I can most often and what I use them for.

  1. Carrots and Green Beans – These are a bit of pain to prep, but I end up with pint jars for no more than 40 cents a jar. I use them for soups, stews, casseroles, side dishes, and homemade dog food.

  2. Pickles – I don't need much more than one batch of pickles per year for my own household, but they are so great for gifts. And you have so many varieties that need to be made; the extras always get given away to lucky loved ones.

  3. Applesauce – This is great as a snack, a side dish, or a dessert. You can throw applesauce in muffins and baked goods, serve in a pretty dish, or pop in lunches in small re-useable plastic containers.

  4. Jams and Jellies – These are the standards for canning. Every canner has a huge variety of these on a shelf. Besides eating it on toast, jams are great for adding into cooked or baked goods for incredible flavors.

  5. Beans – Canned beans are cheap, but just not cheap enough if you're stocking up. Beans are easy to can and require very little prep. I can up dozens of jars at only 25 cents to 30 cents per jar, which beats any loss leader sale. Use them as you would any store bought can of beans.

  6. Chicken, Beef and Pork – Yes, you can definitely can raw meat. I do it all the time. Buy up large cases of chicken when it's on super loss leader sale and can it all for later use. It comes out just fine and the broth it makes in the jar is amazing for adding to your soups or stews.

  7. Soups or Stews – Speaking of soups and stews, this is my favorite thing to can. Why would you buy canned chicken or vegetable soup with tons of sodium and preservatives? Can your own soups for inexpensive, homemade flavor anytime you pop a lid off the jar.

  8. Gourmet Goodies – Items like roasted red peppers or pickled mushrooms are very expensive in the grocery store. You can make up your own gourmet items like this for pennies on the dollar and fill the pantry with shelves full of goodies. There are great recipes for these items on the web and in canning cookbooks.

  9. Condiments – Make your own mustard, relish, ketchup and chutneys. You can keep a large variety on hand and your homemade versions will beat out store bought anytime.

  10. Meatballs, Meatloaf and Stir Fry Mix – Main dishes are great things to can for when you're too busy to cook or to prepare for national disasters. Meatballs are an easy one to start with and can be canned in your own special sauces like BBQ or Sweet and Sour.

Rhiana Jones is a DIY enthusiast, home-cook and self-titled Canning Queen. She is also the author of Cooking with Home Canned Foods, available on the Amazon Kindle. For more easy and fun canning or frugal cooking ideas, visit her blog at AFrugalLife.org.

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