An old-fashioned skill perfect for modern life
Canning summer’s harvest might seem complicated. But preserving fruits and vegetables is actually fairly easy, and a cost-effective, healthy way to enjoy the best of summer’s produce in the worst of winter’s weather.
If you’re new to canning, start with acidic foods, because acid is a natural preservative. Good options include:
Canning involves just a few simple steps. You’ll need to clean the jars and equipment, prepare a recipe, then boil the filled, sealed jars for prescribed lengths of time.
The heat kills microorganisms that would cause spoilage and helps drive oxygen out of the jars, creating a vacuum seal.
“It’s totally safe as long as you clean diligently and know what you’re doing,” say Geisinger dietitian Emily Newhard, RDN. “If you’re new to the process, look for a good resource to learn the basics.”
Ms. Newhard recommends turning to the Penn State Extension — extension. psu.edu — for reliable information, including webinars on food preservation.
“If you have a reliable source, it’s easier to get started than you think,” she says. “It’s rewarding, too — and canned goods make great gifts."