Today, I am happy to introduce to you Jenny from The Domestic Wildflower. I know that as a busy mom, I am always looking for ways to save time and money. Here are her tips on how to start canning to save time and money.
If you want to learn more about canning, grab the Canning Jump Start Guide!
How to Start Canning to Save Time and Money
Hi, I’m Jenny and I teach beginners about canning on my blog, The Domestic Wildflower. I’m here to toss everything you think you know about the canning process out the window. Canning can be fast, easy, simple, time and money-saving, healthy, and FUN.
Canning is preserving food in glass jars to be stored on a shelf and eaten later. This process happens when food is put in jars and then the jars are submerged in heat. The heat drives the oxygen out, creating an airtight seal and kills spoilers. The recipes we use for canning are high in acid, which creates an environment inside the jars that prevent the growth of spoilers as well. It’s this trifecta -heat, no oxygen, and high acid- that creates a preserved jar of food.
Here’s how you can take the canning process that you might remember Granny doing and modernize it for your busy life.
Instead of using the big, black speckled single-use canning pot, use a pasta or stock pot you already have but get a silicone trivet (Amazon has them for about 10 bucks!) for the bottom. That will prevent the glass canning jars from rattling around and breaking on the bottom, and that way you won’t have to buy a huge pot. Win-win!
If you want to learn to can the fastest way possible, get a steam canner. They are ready in 5 minutes and a traditional water bath is ready in 25+ minutes. That adds up because you need them to come to a boil for each batch so, over the course of 3 batches, a steam canner saves over an hour. I use a steam canner exclusively because they save so much time. They are also much lighter because they use far less water. You can read more about steam canners here.
Granny used to can huge batches because long ago, there wasn’t the cold storage available nor was the affordable fresh produce in stores year-round. Also, many canners preserved a whole orchard harvest into jars because that was what their farm produced. Now, we use canning a little differently. We can score a flat of in-season, fresh peaches from a big box store when they are the best price of the year and can them into an additive-free preserve to give as gifts, enjoy in the winter when the peaches are tasteless and expensive, and feed to guests with pride. You can head to a U-Pick with kids and pick a few cups of raspberries and make the fastest jam EVER and feel like an utter domestic goddess when you’re done.
Here’s the equipment you need to start canning:
A large pot for processing your jars with a silicone trivet
A steam canner
Medium-sized heavy-bottomed pot for cooking the preserve (the applesauce or salsa or jam or pickles)
A jar lifter for lifting hot jars from the hot water bath or steam canner rack (probably the one thing don’t have in your kitchen already)
A funnel for pouring the preserve into the canning jar and not spilling on the edge (spills prevent the seal from forming)
NEW canning lids– used lids will not form a safe seal
Canning jars– used are fine
Rings– also known as bands- used are ok as long as rust-free
Canning recipe– high in acid and from a trusted source
Here’s a recipe for Easy Tomato Sauce with complete canning instructions. It’s a versatile pantry staple that you’ll reach for over and over- and you don’t have to peel the tomatoes!
Easy Tomato Sauce
- 12 pounds tomatoes
halved or quartered, cores removed
- 1/2 medium onion diced
- 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
jarred type is fine
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon citric acid
added to each pint jar upon lid application
- Prepare your water bath canning pot or your steam canner. Fill the water bath canning pot with water, add 7-pint jars, and bring to a boil OR fill the steam canner to fill line and turn on low with the 7-pint jars nearby on a towel-covered countertop.
- Blend the tomatoes. Start on the "food chop" setting, and then move to a medium blend setting, for up to two minutes or until the visible skin pieces in the blender are smaller than half an inch.
- Combine olive oil, garlic, and onion in the bottom of a preserving pan at medium-low heat and cook till onion is soft. Add salt and pepper.
- Pour the blended tomato smoothie on top of the cooked garlic & onion mixture and stir to combine. Repeat the blending process until all tomatoes are blended and added.
- Cook on medium heat until sauce is reduced, darker red in color, about 1 hour.
- Ladle into jars one at a time, maintain 1/2 inch headspace, add 1/2 teaspoon citric acid to each jar, apply lids and rings, and either submerge into the boiling water of the boiling water bath with a jar lifter OR set gently on the rack of the steam canner.
- Process for 25 minutes PLUS 5 minutes for every 1000 ft above sea level. Remove from heat, rest jars carefully on towel covered countertop. Label cooled jars and store for up to 1 year. Yields 8-10 pints.
If you want to learn more about canning, grab the Canning Jump Start Guide! It’s a visual guide that shares canning equipment checklists for traditional water bath and steam canning, a canning season planner, recipes to get you started, an elevation adjustment guide, a stovetop guide (what pot goes where!), and more. You’ll be canning with confidence in a modern way!
Click on the above image for a PDF printable copy of a checklist for the equipment.