The rewards of home canning are many. The brilliantly colored filled jars lining your shelves. The health benefits of feeding your family food you’ve put up with your own hands. The spoilage you prevent by buying fruits and vegetables when they are abundant (and often cheap!) and preserving them for consumption at a time of the year when they are more dear.
If you’ve never canned before, the idea of beginning home canning can seem daunting. Luckily, though, it isn’t rocket science and can be done simply and safely in your own home. You just need a few easily sourced tools and ingredients, some simple instructions and a few good recipes. Enter Water Bath Canning For Beginners and Beyond! by Linda C. Johnson who does a great job making home canning accessible to even the most novice of beginners. As Johnson tells us at the outset:
Water bath canning is an easy method to safely preserve food with high acidic levels. Water bath canning is also referred to as “boiling water canning” or “hot water canning.” It is the simple process of boiling jars in a large pot of water for a specified amount of time.
It is this simple no-nonsense approach that takes us through the whole process, from choosing our gear (and our jars) to actually creating pie filling, fruit sauce, pickled fruit and pickled vegetables, various salsas and tomato sauces, condiments (think relish, chutney, ketchup, et al), and other delicious treats. More than 60 recipes in all.
And, as Johnson tells us in the Introduction, canning food at home is good for the planet as well as our bodies:
Every year, over a billion pounds of food is sent to landfills. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), this is the tragic fate of 30-40% of the entire food supply in the United States (USDA, 2010). This wastes many of the country’s resources such as land, water, money, and labor. One of the main contributors to food waste is spoilage. As a consumer, you don’t have much power over spoilage that occurs during transit or any other time before the goods reach the market.
This food waste is astronomically bad for both the environment and the economy.
If canning your own food at home has ever been of interest, Water Bath Canning For Beginners and Beyond! brings it within easy grasp. ◊