Get Started with Canning Food

by Off Grid Blog Team

Many families who live off grid choose to freeze their vegetables to make sure that they are available through the seasons. Many of those families and others choose a sustainable way to cook their food, whether it involves an open fire, grilling, or thermal cooking. If possible, you should try to find books or tutorials that will teach you how to can food safely before canning food. There are different methods for canning food, and the acidity of the food is often used to decide on the canning food technique.

Another way to make sure that there is food available in the long-term is to consider storing off grid food through canning. Canning can help many families save a significant amount of money, whether they live off grid or not. Individuals and families should follow evidence-based research recipes when canning food.

If you want to can food, you should recognize that you should keep as many jars as you can available. If you cannot purchase any of these items, consider borrowing them from others (if possible). There is a chance that some canning jars will eventually explode, and you will want to have access to replacement jars of some kind. You will also need canning jars, lids, and canners. Some might also want to purchase tongs in order to retrieve the jars from hot water while you prepare the canned food.

About Canning

One of the most interesting things about canning off grid food is the way that it has always been a popular method of storing food. The French government, over a hundred years ago, offered a cash reward for an inventor that could find a way to preserve food safely. This is actually how canning food was invented!

A canner should be a metal container with a tight-fitting lid. It is integral to can food with the help of a canner, and mason jars are also commonly used as the primary vessel for canning food. It would help if you also inspected your jars for cracks or defects of any kind, and they should be cleaned consistently. The canner should be large enough for water to circulate around the jars. When canning food, the jars will be boiled to the point where any micro-organisms that would cause the food to spoil are completely destroyed.

Specifically, two inches of boiling water should be able to circulate around the jars in the canner. It is also crucial that you purchase high-quality glass jars if you are going to can food. A wire basket will be necessary with the water bath canning food method. This method is typically used for high-acidic foods. Some high-acidic foods include pickles, tomatoes, jellies, jams, and fish.

What happens if you don’t can food properly? The bad news is that it can actually lead to botulism. For those who are unaware, botulism can be fatal or require emergency medical care. The disease, which could also cause paralysis, is extremely rare. Symptoms can appear 12-36 hours after eating, and they can potentially disappear within 6-10 days.

If you are canning food on a regular basis, you can eventually move on to canning food like beef, chicken, tomatoes, and soups. These usually require more advanced canning food techniques. Families serious about canning food will not have to get new jars every time you want to start canning food – they can be used multiple times.

Canning Food Basics

First and foremost, you should not be filling food all the way to the lid if you want to begin canning food. There should be some “headspace” left for the food, and many argue that you should leave at least a ½ inch of headspace for fruits. If you are trying to can preserves, then only ¼ inch of headspace is needed. One of the best ways to begin canning food is to can food like pickles or fruits first.

If it’s possible, use a two-piece lid when canning food. Also, those who are canning food should have a plastic knife or spatula of some kind. There are air bubbles that can form when canning food, and you can use these tools to release any air bubbles. It will also take longer to boil food, and then can food, if you are living at a higher altitude.

It’s also a smart move to keep a wire basket to allow boiling water to circulate under the jars. You should also have some kind of tongs to lift the jars so that the individual removing the jars can remain safe when canning food.

It’s also important to have many towels, dishcloths, and pot holders if you want to begin canning food. There is a good chance that things can get a bit messy while canning off grid food, even if you have some experience. There’s something important to remember if you want to can food: you should not start by canning meat or fresh fish. While it is possible to do so, a novice at canning food should not start with any of these foods. After the food is canned, it should be stored at room temperature.

Why Start Canning Food?

Many individuals and families can food because it allows food to be stored without a refrigerator or freezer. If you have not purchased self-sealing jars, it might take a bit more time and effort to seal the jars.

Others can food because it can store nutrition. This is ideal for those concerned about the sugar or salt content of fruits or vegetables at the grocery store. If you decide to purchase food at a farmer’s market, canning food can make it so that your family can enjoy the food you purchased year-round. How long will your food last once you can food? You can enjoy the food for up to about five years.

Another great reason to begin canning food is to allow a family to build an emergency stockpile of off grid food. This means that your family will have access to food even in case of an emergency. For example, some families might begin canning food to keep a winter supply of food.

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