Home Canning – Is It Worth It or Will I Just Blow Up My Kitchen?

This is a guest post by Phoebe at Cents to Get Debt Free.  I’ve never done any canning and I asked Phoebe if she would give us an introduction to the topic.  She has a fantastic blog, so don’t forget to pop over and visit her.

canning  Photo credit Renoir Girl

Phoebe and her husband decided 5 years ago that it was time for her to stay at home and raise their children. Through a lot of sacrifices and a lot of learning, they are embracing the frugal life and realizing that the simple life, is the life. Phoebe blogs daily at Cents to Get Debt Free where she shares her family’s journey at cutting costs, living the simple life and getting freedom from lender.

Gardening season is in full force, and this year many stores have seen a 40-60% increase in seed sales.  Being more self reliant is becoming the new normal. In addition to new gardens, many people will be canning and preserving their harvest for the first time this year.

While some will argue that canning is not cost efficient, I beg to differ.  When you are starting out you will have to buy your jars and equipment, but many times you will be able to score these at Garage Sales or other second hand stores.  The only thing you need to pay attention to here is that there are no nicks or cracks in the jars.  Once you have accumulated your jars and supplies, you will have them for a lifetime.   This leaves you at only having to buy new lids every year.  In my book that is better than buying canned goods all year, every year.

Not only is canning easy on my budget, but being able to control what ingredients are in my family’s food is invaluable to me.  Since we embarked on a low (lower) cholesterol diet, I’ve had to watch our sodium/salt intake.  When canning my own food, I can choose to omit the salt all together.  Anymore when the store labels say “Lower Sodium” the product still has a relatively high content.  I am in full control this way, and I’m not paying any extra for these special products.

I’m also able to can a wider variety of food than what is found in my local grocery store.  For instance, last year we had an over abundance of cucumbers and I had to start getting creative with how I preserved them.  We love bread and butter pickles and all, but we can only eat so much in a year, so I did a Sweet Pickle recipe.  The Sweet Pickles are like none that you can find in the store, and are not only a new family favorite—but an everyone favorite!  I’ve gotten many requests for these already this year.  We were also able to take full advantage of the wild fruit that grows in our area.  I canned Blackberry Jam, Wild Cherry Jelly and Wild Grape Jelly all from wild fruit found on our land.  These made for frugal gifts for our family and friends.

Also, since all of our home canned goods come from either my own garden, or a family members, I also know exactly how they have been handled.   This year, I have been able to completely avoid the use of chemicals (although we almost had to use them on some pesky aphids and cucumber beetles), and I have only used organic fertilizer (such as grass clippings and fish emulsion).  If I were to buy all organic canned goods at the store, I would break the bank for sure.

Looking over a full pantry of home canned goods in the dead of winter is very rewarding and it offers my family a lot of peace of mind.  I know that the food is those jars comes from my hands and in a tough time, we have a back up plan.  Plus, home canned goods taste so much better than their commercial counterparts!

I encourage everyone to dabble in home canning, even if you only do jams/jellies.  It is every bit worth the time and effort.  If you are new to home canning, you can follow my Canning series on my blog, Cents to Get Debt Free.

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  1. This is a great article! I can at home but have only done jams. This is great inspiration for me to branch out and take on some veggies!

  2. Great info! I’m going to make jam soon. Can’t wait!

  3. My absolute favorite thing to can is salsa – my fresh Glamour tomatoes (a variety) are so naturally sweet and the spicy-ness of the jalapenos and the zing of the lime juice. I love it. My husband loves it. And there is nothing like it in winter, spring and early summer when you are dying for that first tomato to ripen 🙂

  4. I somehow missed your transition to the new site, and am so glad to have found you again! Now I need to go catch up!

  5. @Maggi- Thank you and I wish you great success in your adventures!

    @theungourmet Thank you! Jam is a good starter, and so much better than store bought. Have fun!

    @Suzee I love home canned salsa, and you’re right in the winter nothing beats it. The tomatoes still taste fresh. I’ve never heard of Glamour tomatoes–I’ll have to check those out. I’m dying for mine to ripen, as we’ve already used up ALL of our salsa (2 cases worth!). 🙂

    Thank you all for commenting!

  6. Wow! These look great! Happy SITS Day!

  7. I do a LOT of canning! Two years ago I nearly wiped myself out with all my canning efforts- jams, jellies, anything tomato, salsas, various condiments and applesauce. I still do a TON of canning and I feel it pays off as I love going to my pantry and getting a jar of tomatoes that I put up rather than buying them at the store. Plus- I know where the food came from!

  8. I should have eaten breakfast before reading your blog, I’m hungry now… (the sound of feet running) vrrruuummmmm!

    From SITS congrats on being featured.

  9. i was just wondering if anyone knew on some of the canning recipes if you can leave out certain ingredients like my family doesnt care to much for cauliflower…this is my first year of canning and i am enjoying it but im learning the ins and outs…. thank you for any help… also can you can cabbage and cucumbers together i know its a strange combination..

  10. This is my second year gardening and I have enough to start canning… Over abundance of cucs and purple green beans… I bought the jars and ingredients to pickle them…. I have a pressure cooker… A little afraid to use it… So I’m planning on just putting them in the fridge for the first batch… Just found your site today while I am sick at home… Very excited to try some of the recipes and read more of your blog…


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