As you prep, always think of what you can learn to do yourself right now, as opposed to having to learn due to a necessity. Can you grow your own garden? Hunt for you own meat? Learn to make your own clothes? Learn to can foods? Speaking of canning, it is absolutely invaluable for survival, since you can do it over and over each year without incurring any additional expenses.
Are you thinking pickles and jam? Crawl out of whatever rock you’ve been under, because canning is so much more than that! You can can fruits, vegetables, soups, salads, salsa, spaghetti sauce, meats and more. There are numerous websites available offering hundreds of canning recipes. Canning is a simple, effective, and low cost method of storing pretty large quantities of delicious, nutritious food.
But there are a few things you should know:
- Canning is time-consuming.
- It will take a little money to get started (you’ll need jars, lids and maybe a pressure canner).
- Home canned food may kill you if it’s not done right.
- Most foods canned at home involve the use of vinegar
There are two ways to can fruits and vegetables for long-term storage: the boiling water bath method and the pressure canning method. They’re basically the same, but the boiling water bath method requires a simple stock pot, whereas the pressure canning method requires a specialized piece of equipment called a pressure canner.
The general agreement between hard-core canners is that pressure canner kills bacteria more effectively and it is usually used to preserve foods with low acidic level. However, you can use the boiling water method to process fruits and use the pressure canner to process the vegetables.
The basic process is that you cook the produce for a prescribed period of time, sterilize the jars and lids, add a natural preserving solution to the processed, jarred foods (like salt, sugar and vinegar) and then vacuum seal the lids. Sealing the lids properly is critical. If the jar is not sealed is properly, the air will enter the jar and make contact with the food, allowing for bacterial growth and effectively spoiling the food you worked hard to preserve. On top of that, exposed canned produce can cause botulism, a dangerous bacterial infection.
To avoid spoiling, add acid to acidic foods. Lemon juice or vinegar work well.
Be sure not to overfill the jars with produce. When you add the liquid, fill the jars enough to submerge the produce. Make sure there are no bubbles or foam on top.
Boil the filled, sealed jars and then you’re ready to go. Let the jars cool.
Be sure to label your canned foods with a name and expiration date prior to putting them away for long-term storage. Canned foods will stay fresh for a long time.
I recommend buying a couple of books that will help guide you through the canning process (pick the illustrated ones) and offer recipes to help you add variety to your canned meals.
To your survival,
P.S. It’s best to purchase a well-built pressure canner and cooker, which is the safest and easiest way to can large batches of food quickly.