“I EAT LOCAL BECAUSE I CAN”
Written by LeAnn Glessner, Guilford County Extension Master Gardener
I recently came across a FACEBOOK posting that showed a poster with the words “I EAT LOCAL BECAUSE I CAN” alongside a mason jar. Those words were a perfect description for what I, as well as many of my friends and family, spend hours of our summer doing. We are eager in the spring to till the soil to begin the garden season. We till. We plant. We weed. We water. We harvest. Ultimately, we often end up with more produce that we can immediately eat. Many of us plant with that in mind. We want to preserve our extra. It allows many gardeners the option to continue to EAT LOCAL throughout the winter months.
For many of us that have never preserved our extra produce before, we often fear just getting started. The best advice is to start small. Preserve what you know you will use. Don’t try to preserve what grandma used to preserve. In fact, DO NOT even use grandma’s recipes. Many of those are unsafe and could cause illnesses. Use only recipes tested by our many extension offices, or the USDA.
WHAT I WILL NEED?
The BASICS OF HOME CANNING EQUIMENT
- 1. Canning Jars
- 2. Freezer Boxes and Bags
- 3. Freezer Jars…specially designed for use in your home freezer
- 4. New Lids and Bands
- 5. Hot Water Bath Canner
- 6. Pressure Canner
- 7. Ball Utensil Set for Preserving with jar lifter, magnetic lid lifter, funnel, and bubble remover, headspace tool
You can view a video showing these basic tools at GuideToHomeCanning.com
THE FRILLS OF HOME CANNING EQUIPMENT
- 1. Counter Top Apple Peeler
- 2. Large Roasters
- 3. Food dehydrator
- 4. Foley Food Mill or Strainer
- 5. Vacuum Sealer
All recipes used in home canning should be tested recipes to avoid spoilage and disease. The two best resources I have found is the Ball Blue Book of Preserving, available at most big box stores, and So Easy to Preserve. This book can be ordered through the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension by calling 706-542-2657.
There is a wealth of information available through your local extension office. These publications can be obtained at the website: www.guilfordgardenanswers.org. Click on: Food Safety and Processing. Scroll to: Food Safety and Processing Publications.
Classes are offered on a regular basis at many extension offices throughout the state. Contact your local extension office for a current schedule of these events.
Enjoy your summer gardening season. Remember to start out small at your first attempts of food preservation.