Fun and Easy Canning (Yes, Really!)

October 12, 2010 at 1:20 am 6 comments

The end of summer means many fruits and vegetables are at their peak and it’s time to take advantage of them by canning and preserving…and it’s not as difficult as you may think!

Canning’s last heyday was during World War II along with victory gardens, as part of the home front war effort.  But the end of the war brought prosperity, supermarkets, and more processed food so many Boomers grew up with Swanson’s TV dinners instead of Mom’s canned green beans.  For those of us who were around in the 1970’s, Ruth Hertzberg’s best-selling book, Putting Food By, generated some interest in making use of the bounty from home gardens.  I recall several friends bringing in homemade pickles and jams to work and sharing such goodies with less “domestic” friends such as myself.  Now some thirty years later there’s been a resurgence in canning as people look for ways to cut their food budgets and eat healthier.

A recent story heard on National Public Radio, “Overloaded From Your Garden? Just Can It,” had me swooning over the recipes described on air.  Canning is a great way to preserve the flavors of the season and just thinking about spicy peach salsa or pickled green tomatoes made me want to learn how to do it and encourage others as well.

The first step on one’s canning adventure is to obtain the necessary equipment. Canning jars, complete with lids and seals, are available from many hardware stores. Other basic tools you’ll need for canning are a jar lifter, magnetic wand, jar funnel, and a non-metallic spatula. Canning starter kits may be purchased at local stores such as a Target or Walmart, as well as many online retailers, for as little as $15 – $20. You’ll also need a pot for your canning, and if you don’t want to buy a boiling water canner with a built-in rack for the jars, you can simply use a stock pot with a homemade rack of lid rings wired together.

Next, you may want to visit the Torrance Certified Farmers’ Market, held each Tuesday and Saturday, 8am-1pm, to stock up on seasonal goodies. Torrance’s Farmers’ Market has been a tradition at Wilson Park for twenty-five years. More than sixty farmers and vendors from throughout California bring their fresh wares to the market, so there’s plenty of fresh products to choose from. And don’t be shy about trying the free samples!

Finally, you’re ready to can, pickle, and preserve your way to healthier eating.  The library offers many books on canning to help walk you through the process, and there are plenty of yummy recipes, too!  Listed below is a sampling of some canning and food preservation materials available at the library:

Do you have any favorite canning recipes you’d like to share with us? Please post in our comments section below!
– mz

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Eating to Sleep ACK! and the Single Girl

6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. elenasc  |  October 12, 2010 at 1:25 am

    Thanks, I will need those books!

    Reply
  • 2. World Wide News Flash  |  October 12, 2010 at 6:39 am

    Fun and Easy Canning (Yes, Really!)…

    I found your entry interesting do I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…

    Reply
  • 3. Movie Recipes  |  October 12, 2010 at 8:50 am

    http://www.movierecipes.net/
    devoted to serving movie buffs and foodies..
    See it, believe it!!

    Reply
  • 4. Austin Dental Implants  |  October 14, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    I started my garden and looking forward to pickling some carrots and califlower…Great post!

    Reply
  • 5. Torrance Public Library  |  October 18, 2010 at 8:56 pm

    Thanks to all who wrote in to say that they enjoyed the post! The Library just received a lovely new book on the subject of canning and preserving called “Canning for a New Generation: Bold, Fresh Flavors for the Modern Pantry” by Liana Krissoff, that includes both general instructions on canning and pickling, as well as numerous recipes and beautiful pictures of the finished product! To find the book in the Library’s catalog, follow the link here:

    Canning for a New Generation

    If you get adventurous and try the recipes, take a picture and post for us!

    Reply
  • 6. torrancepubliclibrary  |  October 26, 2010 at 10:22 pm

    Another new book on the subject of canning and preserving is
    The Fresh Girl’s Guide to Easy Canning and Preserving by Ana Micka. The book includes recipes from State Fair award-winning canners that provide tips on how to save money while enjoying fresh, local food year-round! The book includes a helpful step-by-step DVD.

    Reply

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