21 Canning Resources For Preserving Your Garden's Harvest
There are plenty of good reasons to make canned preserves.
Preserving fresh produce saves you money at the grocery store, it helps you build a healthy diet, and it’s eco-friendly. But perhaps even more importantly, canning leaves you with the indescribably delicious taste of garden-fresh, sun-kissed veggies in the middle of winter. And with a garage wall storage system freeing up plenty of floor space, you should have no problem finding a place for your new goodies! Even garage cabinets could be a great place to keep your bulk preserved produce.
And anyone can make preserves. Even if you don’t have a garden of your own, your local farmer’s market is a great source of just-picked produce.
We’ve gathered 21 of the best online resources for canning and preserving your garden’s harvest (or your farmer’s market finds) to get you started.
Sharon Peterson, the gardening and food preservation expert behind Simply Canning, says “canning vegetables is easy once you have learned to use a pressure canner.” Sharon says pressure canning is really the only option for vegetables, which is why you should check out her post on how to use a pressure canner.
Recapturing the lost art of self-sufficient living is Angela England’s goal, and she’s got plenty of company with a score of active contributors on her site. One of these lost arts is the preservation of food in all its forms: Canned, frozen and dehydrated. Her Food Preservation Ultimate Recipe Guide has a tutorial on each of those processes.
The University of Missouri Extension offers practical education on almost anything, including how to can fresh vegetables [PDF]. That guide walks you through the canning process one vegetable at a time, which is helpful. There’s a related page, too, called Steps to Success in Home Canning, that gets a little more granular in demonstrating how to can your produce, which is great for first-timers.
Sean Timberlake started Punk Domestics in 2010 for the “hardcore DIY food community.” His site enables enthusiasts by presenting the best material he can find on canning, preserving, pickling, home brewing and other related skills. As the community has grown, members have contributed their own experiences in home food preservation. A good starting point is the 12 Ways to Put Up Tomatoes post.
The Primal Desire
This site was created by a couple of friends, Raj and Holley, who say they share a passion for delicious, healthy food. You’ll find many paleo and gluten-free recipes here, plus a couple of posts about preserving. One killer article is called Canning Peaches Like a Caveman, and it’s worth a read just because of the great headline.
Food in Jars
One of the earliest blogs devoted to canning, cooking and pantry staples made from scratch, Food in Jars was started by Marisa McClellan way back in 2009. “Most of us don’t live in a rural setting,” Marisa told Beth D’Addono of The Philadelphia Daily News in a 2010 interview.
“We don’t need to can to survive the winter. But there’s been a perfect storm — an appreciation for sustainable local ingredients and wanting to eat high-quality food. People are concerned that what they’re eating, and what they’re feeding their families, is natural, chemical-free. The best way to be really sure is to make it yourself.”
Joel and Dana at Well Preserved have spent the last seven years covering everything food: Canning, curing, pickling, recipes, fermenting, dehydrating, hooch, cooking, homesteading, hunting, sustainability and food security.
Take your time; there’s lots of good stuff here. Just under Curing, for instance, you’ll find out how to make smoked garlic powder, wild leek “Herbes Salees,” cured green olives, wine salt and pickled hot pepper salt.
Ball Canning, a spinoff of the company that began making those iconic screw-top glass jars 130 years ago, created a great site all about fresh preserving. You’ll find useful how-to articles, tips and step-by-step guides useful to everyone in the kitchen, whether new to canning or an old hand at it.
Chickens in the Road
Suzanne McMinn writes this blog from her West Virginia farm and often shares the skills she’s learned by living in rural America. One of her posts is a tutorial on home canning using a hot water bath. Others include how to make wildflower jelly, how to can chicken, how to can dried beans and how to make a homemade meat smoker.
DG is is an informational website where an international community of gardeners can learn from each other and find useful resources. One of the features of interest to those who can and preserve their garden’s harvest is the Cooking and Preserving forum, where you can connect, answer questions and get some of your own questions answered.
Featuring homemade living and homesteading insights, Capper’s Farmer updates tried-and-true methods of gardening and preserving food. There’s a comprehensive article on Preserving and Canning Recipes for Garden Produce, which (in addition to the recipes) has lots of how-to tips and advice.
The magazine Grit celebrates the country lifestyle, which includes “putting up” fresh produce. Its Canning Made Easy section starts out with a brief history of food preservation, and then takes a look at canning methods and recipes. If you’re interested in home meat curing, there’s a similarly comprehensive section on that.
A website and podcast, Canning Season was started by John Gavin to pass on information and create a sense of community for those who enjoy making home canned goods. He says there are six reasons why canning is awesome:
- It feels good (especially if you have an intense day job).
- There’s a spiritual element to home canning.
- You control the ingredients that go into your food.
- There is a social element to home canning.
- It’s part of a wonderful tradition.
- There’s a sense of community to home canning.
Annalise loves to cook and enjoy fresh produce year round by preserving fresh good. She admits that canning can be a little intimidating at first, so she created a Home Canning Tips and Resources page to help beginners. It starts off with a list of canning tools you’ll need, and then sets out the step-by-step canning process, complete with helpful images.
The online home of Peaceful Valley Farm and Garden Supply, Grow Organic has blog posts and videos galore on canning and food preservation. You can learn about steam juicing, canning green beans and how to make dill pickles or sauerkraut.
Gardener’s Supply Company
With a blog, a learning center and a collection of how-to articles on its site, this garden tool and supplies company has information on just about everything an avid canner needs to know. From keeper crops and preservation to a tutorial on freezing and drying herbs, this is a resource to bookmark.
Mother Earth Living
The authority on green lifestyle, Mother Earth Living features advice that includes gardening and how to preserve the harvest. One article, 6 Simple Food Preservation Methods, explains lays out the processes of fermentation, acidification, drying, root cellaring, home canning and freezing. At the end of the article, you’ll find a resource list with links to a number of websites and books.
Iowa State University Extension
ISU Extension has a great food preservation page, with links to resources as well as a series of publications that are free to download. These include:
- Canning: Fruits
- Canning: Vegetables
- Canning: Fruit Spreads
- Canning: Pickles
- Canning: Salsa
- Canning: Meat, Poultry, Wild Game and Fish
- Canning and Freezing: Tomatoes
- Freezing: Fruits and Vegetables
Growing a Greener World
On this PBS show’s website, you’ll find full episodes with lots of gardening, canning and preserving information. Articles on Growing a Greener World cover the basics of canning, canning safety, and several recipes and jam cocktails. When you get tired of reading, relax and watch some canning videos.
Urban homesteader and author of the cookbook Brown Eggs and Jam Jars, Aimée Wimbush-Bourque is the editor of Simple Bites. The blog, which focuses on family-friendly food, contains simple preserving tutorials. One is Canning 101: The Basics, a guest post from Shaina Olmanson, who blogs at Food for My Family. The guide starts off by explaining why she cans: It saves money, it’s eco-friendly, it cuts down on waste, it’s fresher and tastes better, and it’s free of BPA or additives.
Christine Manning owns Manning Canning, a Toronto-based business that makes small batches for jams, jellies, preserves and pickles from locally sourced produce. If you live in the area, you can join a workshop to learn the craft of preserving. If you don’t, at least check out Christine’s tips for great preserves post to help you get started.
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