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Home Canning is Hot

Home Canning is Hot

Home canning is getting its close-up, a revival that was bound to happen eventually. It’s funny how trends sneak up. I began to think about canning as I gravitated more and more toward a local diet. I would eye the mountains of August heirloom tomatoes on my counter and wonder how possibly will I ever live without tomatoes in the winter? “Put some up” I’d hear myself saying, although I know nothing about canning. Slowly friends would start telling me about their adventures in canning, and soon I realized, yes, this is becoming a trend.

And I’d venture to say that the trend became official a few weeks ago with the publication of the article, “Fresh Vegetables, by the Jarful,” in the New York Times. According to the story, home food preservation is enjoying a renaissance due to “increasing food costs, concerns about food safety, green sensibilities and a new appreciation of all things natural. Numbers are hard to come by, but Elizabeth L. Andress, project director of the National Center for Home Food Preservation in Athens, Ga., has noticed a definite surge in interest. She estimated that calls to the center had risen 25 percent in recent months.” So there you go, canning’s hot.

Now I have to admit, I am deeply attracted to the idea of canning. But with no farm mom to have shown me the ropes, terms like Clostridium botulinum leave me a little wary. That said, I have a friend who is a canning expert of sorts, and she assures me it is easy as pie. Essentially, you just sterilize the jars, fill them up, wipe them down, and boil them for a certain amount of time. Sounds good to me. Poking around a bit, I ended up at Ball (jar producer) Web site–where I stumbled upon this step-by-step tutorial on home canning. So with that in hand, wish me luck. I am going to buy as many heirloom tomatoes as my totes will tote this weekend and the greenmarket, and hop on this trend before it’s too late (meaning when tomato season is over and I’m crying in my kale and potatoes).

Do any of you have experience in preserving food? I’d love to hear about you adventures in canning–leave your comments below.

For detailed information on canning, including methods and recipes, visit National Center for Food Preservation. The site also has comprehensive information about how to preserve food by freezing, drying, curing and smoking, fermenting, and pickling.

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Melissa Breyer

Melissa Breyer is a writer and editor with a background in sustainable living, specializing in food, science and design. She is the co-author of True Food (National Geographic) and has edited and written for regional and international books and periodicals, including The New York Times Magazine. Melissa lives in Brooklyn, NY.


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9:39AM PDT on Jul 22, 2012

Great stuff - therapeutic and they make great gifts, too.

8:56AM PDT on Jul 22, 2012

Thank you

8:06AM PDT on Jul 22, 2012

Thank you for sharing.

10:00AM PDT on Mar 24, 2012

Loved my mom's canned food. Too bad it's a very time consuming process with a substantial start-up cost.

9:13PM PDT on Oct 13, 2011

Would like to do this food preservation some year when I am in position to do it. Thank you for the link, and may this food preservation work.

9:11PM PDT on Oct 13, 2011

Would like to do this food preservation some year when I am in position to do it. Thank you for the link, and may this food preservation work.

6:50PM PDT on Aug 23, 2010

Yes, there is some nutritional loss. But then there always was and humanity survived many long cold winters on canned meats and veggies. We are fortunate to have produce year round in stores, even though they aren't perfect and who knows if they lose nutrition as well, with transporting, storage, etc. If you have a cellar, you can root cellar some stuff like potatoes, turnips, carrots, onions, apples, etc.

A wonderful source of help is your local extension office. Sometimes they have demonstrations at schools, libraries, and senior centers. Enjoy your put by harvest.

3:51AM PDT on Jun 26, 2010

Canned for the first time last year with mounds of tomatoes from my local CSA. Another way with tomatoes is to cook down and using a hand food mill make sauce. You can also freeze the sauce. I just make sure I add a bit of acid(lemon, vinegar, or citric) when storing items of bulk food particularly in the refrigerator.

3:49PM PST on Nov 18, 2009

I have been canning for most of my life. When I was little, I used to help my grandmother can her summer harvest, and when I grew up I began to can my own spaghetti sauce. I now can not only that but jams and jellies. I have not yet tried pickles, but I plan to this year. I have been collecting canning recipes for many years, and I have recently written an ebook with 120 home canning recipes. You can view it here:

3:19PM PDT on Sep 17, 2009

One more comment from Janie.....!!! If anyone lives in the Oxford, Michigan area, I teach 2 classes on canning (Canning 101 and Gourmet Dinner Canning). If you're interested, email me at and I'll send you the latest newsletter with the class schedule....

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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people are talking

Thank you

Hope...awesome! Thanks

who on earth has enough time to spend slaving over a stove for hours to make all their own food?


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