6 Reasons To Preserve Food By Canning
Zero Waste Kitchen
February 3, 2017 | Kathryn Kellogg
Last Updated on December 2, 2022
In this guide, we will explain 6 reasons to preserve food by canning! Preserving food is an essential part of a zero waste lifestyle!
Saving food in jars is a great way to increase its shelf life, even when it’s out of season. You can preserve food easily and with minimal supplies. We will provide you with 6 canning for beginners tips to get you excited about preserving food.
canning for beginners
Spring canning season is right around the corner. I asked my friend Jenny, a canning pro from thedomesticwildflower.com, to chat about what makes canning a sustainable choice.
When you preserve food through canning, you reduce both food and packaging waste. Plus, it gives you control over your diet. Canning food frees you from reliance on commercially produced foods, and it is far more delicious than anything you could buy in a store.
Like, what is there not to love about that? While a lot of this is ideal for canning for beginners, you can be a novice and still gain helpful information here…so stick around!
reasons to preserve food by canning
Preserving food has been around a lot longer than any of us! We are taking the knowledge that has been learned through trial and error and going with it. Storing food in jars has many benefits, which we will go into detail with you about. Let’s take a look:
sustainably eat out of season:
Canning food in jars preserves the food so that it can be enjoyed when it’s out of season. Typically, eating out of season involves food grown many, many miles away, even in another hemisphere, which isn’t very sustainable.
Eating tomatoes in the winter or citrus in the summer is not in line with the natural growing season in most places. Canning food allows you to enjoy sweet-tasting strawberries even while it’s snowing without the guilt of flying them halfway around the world.
related: 15 ways to save money on real food
preserve food with these tools:
Mason jars are made from sturdy glass. They’re designed to be submerged over and over in boiling water without damaging the glass. So the are ideal when it comes to preserving food in jars.
Mason jars are either regular-mouthed or wide-mouthed. No matter your jar, one of those lids will fit.
My greatest complaint with plastic tupperware is the lack of interchangeable lids.
It bears mentioning that jars are infinitely useful beyond canning. I use them for drinking any and all beverages, in my lunch box, storing bulk goods like coffee beans and sugar, and household items like crayons.
So, one of my greatest tips for canning for beginners is to be on the lookout for glass mason jars with lids if you don’t already have them.
related: 13 unexpected uses for a mason jar.
developing a healthy relationship with food:
Canning food teaches you to save fresh produce for later. It brings you several steps closer to the farm where it was raised, if not to the very berry patch, farm stand, or orchard.
Many informed, conscious people have no idea what produce is in season. They don’t know when or where it was cultivated.
They don’t know how far away it was grown, how much fuel it took to get to the market, or the upwaste stream involved.
If you buy a can of peaches, even the politically correct “organic” kind, you don’t know the farming practices. How much of the peach was wasted when cut from the pit or peeled? Were the remains composted?
When you preserve food by canning, you have control over those answers.
Preserving your own food means it’s less likely to be wasted. Purchased jam could easily be tossed in the trash with a serving or two left inside. But homemade jam? That you made yourself? Never!
Not only are homemade products tastier, infinitely healthier, and endlessly customizable to your tastes and dietary preferences – it involves a personal investment.
Having that connection and spending quality time with your food brings more value to the product.
Food in jars is shelf-stable for up to a year. It doesn’t require any refrigeration, special vacuum-sealed bags, or freezer space. See why we love it so much?
related: My Five Rules for Personal Sustainability
Preserving food is a mindful activity. If you take the time to preserve a batch of tomato sauce, you will reflect upon the quantity of tomato sauce you ate and enjoyed the previous year.
You’ll think about where you got the tomatoes. In what ways would you like to improve upon the recipe?
What is the best jar size? What is the best technique to use? How often should you can?
Thinking and developing a real connection with your food is so utterly different from buying your food in the grocery store pre-made. Be mindful of how your food got to your plate.
BONUS – it makes a great gift:
No need to tie a jar of preserves up with unnecessary wrapping paper; it looks beautiful just as it is. Canning is a lost art that takes time and effort to execute. It tastes wonderful, is healthy, and is free from mystery ingredients.
Pro tip: a glug of white vinegar in the processing water makes the canning jars extra shiny for gifting.
Jenny’s blog has been a great resource for my canning experiments this year.
If you are interested in learning more about canning, she has a free beginners course available! And a great introductory blog post here.
frequently asked questions
what are the different types of canning?
There are three common types of canning. You can do a water bath to can, atmospheric canning with steam, or pressure canning. Check out Jenny’s blog for details on which method would work for you.
what kind of food can be canned?
- Homemade salsa
- Tomatoes and tomatoes juice
- Pie filling and fresh fruits
- Jelly & jam
- And much more!
I know that I’ve said this every year I’ve had this blog, but this year I’m going to plant a garden.
I’m going to do it in real life and not just in my mind. I do eventually dream of a day when I can live out my homesteading dreams. I’m going to can so much delicious food with all of these 100s of mason jars I have lying around.
Have you canned food before? Do you have homesteading goals for this year?
I really love canning my own food! Growing up my dad and i would have a garden full of veggies that we would can throughout the year. One year we canned over 500 jars of food! With one 8 quart pressure canner, that took a long time to do, but it was so worth it! I still can food now, just on a much smaller scale since it is just my husband and myself and we dont have a ton of kitchen space without a pantry. But i still do it every chance i get!