One of the great things about summer is the fruits and vegetables that can be found in such abundant fresh supply. I love stopping by my local farm stand on the way home to get dinner ingredients to be used that night, or walking out to the garden and getting what I can eat right away. There’s nothing like it and nothing better for you. The next best thing is to take that produce and preserve it for consumption later. Typically this is done by canning that fresh produce (ironic since you CAN into a JAR – why isn’t it called jarring?).
I grew up eating my family’s own applesauce year round, as well as stewed tomatoes and preserved beans. One year we preserved whole grapes and grape jam after dad and the kids came home with about 20 pounds of grapes from a trip in the woods. Wow, that was good stuff!
More recently, I’ve canned massive amounts of applesauce on my own. Our family went through so much, we canned into all half gallon jars – about 15 bushels one year. So, to speed production, I used 3 propane fired turkey fryer burners (available at Koopman Rentals) to process the whole project. I also hooked up a drill to the processor crank to make separating the skins and seed from the sauce after cooking way faster.
Safety is very important when preserving food. That is something my mom taught me. She was obsessive about food safety, and grandma always made this a priority too. Grandma REALLY knew how to can! We had the best canned apricots from her stash! The biggest part of preservation safety is cleanliness. We would only use jars hot out of the dishwasher, or only put food in that was boiling. Heat kills the bad bacteria that can grow in preserved food for months. If this bad bacteria isn’t killed, it can make you very sick or worse.
There are a ton of excellent resources out there to provide safe processing tips on food preservation. So for our purposes, we simply assembled some of them here. BALL® canning site is one of the best. We linked some of their resources below and provided a link direct to the BALL® site. You can also check out some government food safety sites. With a little research here, you should be good to capture a bit of that summer sun to enjoy all winter long!
Canning Safety Resources