I Can Can!

IMG_4593My preserves so far. Or part of them anyway. They fill the cupboard

Last year was the first year I attempted to preserve food for my family. I don’t have any sort of talent in that area but I purchased the Ball Blue Book of Preserving off eBay and have had great success. If I can can, you can can too! All you need is a simple recipe and the desire to give it a try.

Last year I successfully froze strawberries, raspberries and canned peaches. I also made dill pickles and sweet gherkin pickles which were a hit with the littles as well as friends, family and neighbors. Of all of that, four jars of pickles, one of peaches and a bag of strawberries is all that is left.

Last week I turned 50 pounds of baby cucumbers into sweet gherkin pickles and yesterday I turned a bushel of beets into borsht and canned pickled beets. This week we have another bushel of cucumbers to be turned into dill pickles and, Gram’s favorite, bread and butter pickles. I love pickles because they add a fast, easy veggie to lunches and the littles love them. They also make such a nice snack!

One of the biggest things I can do to make make my home sing is to spend time in the kitchen.  Canning, baking, and cooking are ways that I can meet our family’s needs, bless my family and show my love for them. The littles love to help; we make memories and strengthen that family bond.

IMG_4437 {As I was packing the pickles into jars, I found this one. I’m guessing John had a little snack while “helping” but it could have been Chloe. It made my husband and I laugh. They’re so precious!}

I find it incredibly rewarding and satisfying when I master a new recipe, skill or task. How about you?


  1. I really love that picture of your son reaching in one direction and your daughter reaching in another, and the bite out of the pickle is sooo precious!

    Every Fall I get an urge to try canning but never have. A post like yours lets me know that I CAN can (lol!). Do you find that it’s cheaper that way? If it’s not cheaper, it at least probably tastes better, right?

    Anyway, thanks for linking up to Making Your Home Sing Monday and encouraging us to try it!

  2. Congratulations! Great work! This year I tried “water bath” canning for the first time and I used dozens of tomatoes from our garden to make salsa. I have also used dozens of green tomatoes for green tomato salsa.

    • Oh, I haven’t tried tomatoes yet though I really do like salsa so maybe I’ll try that next. Do you have a good (easy!) recipe?

  3. Last year was my first year experimenting with canning. I loved it! What a great way to make your home sing, by spending time in the kitchen~ Loved your post and pictures.

  4. I bought the same book, but I haven’t actually taken the plunge. Maybe if I actually get a ton of tomatoes this year I will.

  5. […] beets so this year when I saw a whole bushel for $8.00 how could I resist buying them? I’m in the canning zone and though I’d never made beets before, I was up for the challenge! A fast way to add veggies to […]

    • Oh, we did our first garden this year too. I was so proud and it was so rewarding! Most of our canning is from our local farmers market though. My garden isn’t that big 🙂
      Good luck and please come back and share if you do…

  6. Boy, I ‘ve been thinking about canning. I don’t know how to do it and it sounds like its time consuming and looks like its got some up front cost. My two reasons to do it would be to SAVE money and eat HEALTHIER.

    How would you say those two measure up regarding canning? Could you email me? I found you on Raising Homemaker. Thx!

    • I will send you an email but thought I’d post the short answer here:
      I would definitely say it is healthier just in that you control everything you put into your products; including the amount of sugar and salt. As for cheaper; I guess it depends on where you live, what you pay for your items, if you buy in bulk etc. For us, it does work out cheaper. We live in Southern Ontario Canada.
      It is most definitely TIME CONSUMING but for me (and our family) the payoff rewards outweigh the time invested. As well, my little “helpers” get to learn a lot 🙂
      From my {limited!} experience in canning, there isn’t a lot of cost. Buying jars is the biggest cost for us. If you can find them on sale, they aren’t too bad. You can collect them at thrift shops or garage sales. You can reuse jars and screw tops but it is best to have new flat lids which are a few pennies a piece. Most of our jar investment was made the first year and now we reuse them. The other cost is of course what you put in them. Vinegar is a big item for pickling; but pretty cheap when buying in bulk size. We buy our peaches, cukes, onions etc. direct from the farm which means we can usually get a pretty good deal. We’ve also bought “seconds” and older produce which is even further marked down and it of course was even cheaper.
      Hmm. Maybe this comment deserves it’s own post! LOL.

      Thanks for coming by!

  7. I’m a bit late commenting but I loved this post and soon after tried my hand at making peach jam. It took me to the fourth batch to get everything correct but that fourth batch is going to be Christmas presents and the rest will be “preserves!” 😀 Thanks for the encouragement to give it a try!

    • You know in responding to an email regarding canning, I realized something I should have mentioned in the post: you can start small! I did two HUGE batches of cukes and along with a huge batch of beets etc but you can buy one little basket and just do enough to try out a recipe, to understand the process, to see if your family will eat it etc.

      I also wholeheartedly believe that homemade canned items are a fabulous gift idea!

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