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Monday, September 6, 2010

Is Canning Really Worth It?

Hi everyone!! I have been asked that question (Is canning really worth it?) so many times!! Even hubby has asked it at times when I've been stressed, burning the midnight oil to get some veggies put away! Maybe you've read my posts encouraging you to do some canning, and you've thought to yourself 'Is is worth it?' Well, my answer would be a definite "YES"!! Let me explain....

Like so many things we do, there is an initial monetary investment if you're going to start canning. Of course, if you're a patient, savvy shopper you can save yourself some of that money. The items that you will need to start canning are:

*water bath canner (can be large stock pot with towel on bottom)

*canning jars

*screw bands

*flat lids

*pressure canner (for veggies and meats--can also be used for fruits)

*stock pot

*jar lifter

Of course, beyond this list you could add any number of gadgets that are NOT necessary to a successful canning career.

When I first started canning about 15 or so years ago, I scoured garage sales, estate sales, and thrift stores for any canning equipment I could find. (Now think of craigslist and ebay.) I answered an ad in the classifieds in which someone was selling a few canners, lots of canning jars, and other various canning gadgets. I called that phone number as quick as I could and went to view the 'goods' that night! I was able to score a single pressure canner, double-stack pressure canner (love this!), water bath canner, half of his canning jars, and all his gadgets (things I would probably never pay full prices for!) for only $50!!! That was a steal!!! Then, my parents bought me another double-stack canner (score!), a great big stock pot, and a fabulously large ladle for my birthday one year. The biggest expenses in canning were given to me and purchased as cheaply as possible! Those are my recommendations for getting canning items as cheaply as possible! To this day, I continue to buy inexpensive canning jars at thrift stores and garage sales.(I've since been given another couples canners which I was able to pass on to my sister!)

So, what if you've been patient and just have NOT been able to score any cheap or free materials? What if you have to go out and buy brand new items? I would recommend that you buy only what is absolutely necessary for the moment and continue to keep looking for inexpensive used items.

The great thing about canning equipment is that it will last for years! There's been the occasional broken jar, but besides that all of the items I bought/was given years ago are still being used today! They've long ago paid for themselves.

This year I put in 4 rows of green beans, which used app. 2 packets of seeds ($1-2 per bag). So far this year, we have picked enough beans to can 160 pints of green beans, and we've also frozen and eaten a ton! Plus, the plants are still producing, so there are more canned beans to come! If I was to buy 160 pints of green beans in the store, I could possibly get them for 50 cents a piece on sale or at Aldi. Even so, at 50 cents I would have to spend $80 to get 160 pints, and I wouldn't know what kind of bean it was and if it had been raised organically! Of course, there is stove gas that is used, but it is so minimal I wouldn't even know how to calculate it! I could say almost the same thing for this year's tomatoes. I started all my plants from seeds indoors, only watered in the very beginning, and have 20 quarts of juice and over 32 pints of sauce so far. (Plus, all of the mouth watering tomatoes we've eaten raw!) I would say that in this year alone, I've gotten enough food to justify the expense of buying canning equipment, and that equipment has been earning it's keep in the same way for 15 years!! I think you'll agree that canning is indeed WORTH IT!!

The one expense in canning that is continual is the flat lid. This year, though, I've been hearing more and more about the reusable Tattler canning lid. I've not used them, but I think I'm going to give them a try. It's another investment but is one that could, like the rest of the canning equipment, earn it's keep in a very short time! And what a great preparedness item!

Prep On!!

Gen-IL Homesteader

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Josh said...

I love canning! Soo worth it! I just canned some beans, chili sauce, and spaghetti sauce this weekend. Well worth every minute.

Anonymous said...

Greetings all! I am new to this forum. Just wanted to greet you :)

Anonymous said...

Learning how to can food is probably one of my biggest accomplishments in the kitchen. I have saved so much money and knowing that healthy food is going into our bodies is reason enough to can. The initial investment can be a turnoff, but like you said, garage sales, etc... save lots of money. There are always coupons during the fall months too and the savings can add up.

Speaking of canning, I am up to my eyeballs with it, and can honestly say, I'm near exhaustion. lol This is the first year I've put up mountains in my pantry. lol

Gen-IL Homesteader said...

Josh, glad to hear of a man who likes to can. Actually, the person who I bought the boatload of canning items from was a man!! Isn't it so satisfying??? Chili is one thing I haven't canned yet, but I might get around to it this year.

Welcome Anonymous!! Glad you're here!!

Shelly, The healthy factor is one of the best things about canning. I'm glad you've been able to put up so much this year!! I'd have to say that this year I've done the most canning ever--and there are only 2 of us here to eat it!! :) I just can't stop, though! Glad it's going well for you! Thanks for stopping in!

upinak said...

Gen you are always an inspiration. I will be trying my first real canning adventure when my house is finally finished.

:) miss talking to you my friend.

Gen-IL Homesteader said...

Don't know if you'll see this, Upinak, but thanks!! I can't wait to hear how your experience goes!!

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