I know this is a year old thread, but it's that time of year again, and I figured it'd be better to bump an old thread than to make a new one. I just
did my first canning. I did a batch of grape jelly in the water canner method. For a few weeks now I have been itching to take the plunge, and I
figured I'd work my way up to pressure canning. Water bath seemed like a good place to start, especially since I already had grape jelly on my
shopping list. I did take the easy route and use grape juice, but plan on doing it with "real" grapes once the wild ones I'm watching ripen. I found
some peaches for 98 cents a pound today, and some mangos for 50 cents each. So I got 5 pounds of peaches and 10 mangos, which I plan on doing
tomorrow. Here's a couple of things I learned today, that might help anyone who's thinking about starting canning.
If you are thinking about canning, and are not sure, start with water bath canning. And start with jelly. The steps were simple enough that aside
from rechecking quantities of sugar and pectin, I didn't have to keep looking at instructions. That helped a lot. Also, if you are anything like me,
you might become frantic and feel like you need to rush, rush, rush. DON'T. Just take your time and enjoy what you're doing. I used too small of a
pan and my temp was too high (gonna have to find that sweet spot), so my jelly ended up boiling over. This can be quite scary! If it happens, pick the
pan up immediately! Set it off the stove even if you have to ruin the nice neat spot you had set aside for cooling the jars.
Assess your pot sizes to burner sizes before you start. I had used the smaller pan because it was the one for my next largest burner. The largest
burner had the canner warming up. I think that next time, I will fill the jars and set them in the crockpot with water to stay warm (this is how I
kept them warm pre-filling). Then I can put the canner to warm. I don't know if that will help or not, but it will allow me to use the larger pot for
mixing the jelly. I also learned that when jelly boils over onto your glass top stove with the burner on high, it will SMOKE. A LOT. And hot jelly
splashing onto your arm as you try to remove it from the heat hurts (quite a bit).
I also learned that it won't kill the jelly to sit for minute while you run around opening windows and turning on fans. Watch lots of youtube
videos so you can have an image of each step in the process in your head. It will help lesson the anxiety and rush-y feeling. Lastly, if you are not
sure about if canning is more economical or not, I am pretty sure it is, if you do it smart. For example, I figured up the cost to make my jelly
excluding my initial start up costs (canner, jars, tools). This number just included the cost of the grape juice, pectin, and sugar. Then I divided by
the number of jars I ended up with. Final calculation, approximately 60 cents a jar (I used half pints). This is, in my opinion, a significant savings
when compared to the prices at the grocery store (about $2 for 18oz jar). I ended up with ten jars and won't have to buy jelly for a very long time
since we don't actually eat that much of it, lol.
I am anxious to see what I end up with after doing the peaches and mangos tomorrow, and if the savings are present for them as well. I think the
key to canning, if you can't grow your own food, is to shop the sales. Go to different farm stands and buy from the one with the better prices. And,
if you're like me and need to see financial savings to feel justified, write down the prices of the grocery equivalent of whatever you're canning, so
in the end you can compare and see what you're saving. Not to mention the added perks: convenience, preparedness, knowing what's in your food, and a
sense of accomplishment.
I hope that sharing my first experience might help some people! Also, check out bexarprepper
on youtube, she's very inspiring and has several helpful canning videos.
edit on 19-7-2012 by MojaveBurning because: (no reason
edit on 19-7-2012 by MojaveBurning because: (no reason given)