By Renata Finch

In this society of convenience that we live in, we seem to have lost the necessity of preserving food ourselves. Canned goods are available year-round to us on every shelf of every store. So why should we continue to utilize this old fashioned skill? Why should people preserve produce and meats themselves?

People choose to preserve for a large variety of reasons. Sometimes it is out of necessity. Canning produce is certainly a way to save money. If you can grow your own food, or have kind neighbors that bless you with their excess, then there is very little expenditure to preserve it for later. Even if you are unable to grow it yourself, often you are able to access boxes of produce much cheaper in its growing season. You may even be able to forage from fruit trees along roadsides and laneways. It will certainly save you money for later if you choose to can it yourself.

Preserving our food in season allows us to ensure we are feeding our family the very best quality of produce available. There is certainly a lot of contention over the origins and processing of the foods we purchase in the store. Knowing where our food comes from and what has happened to it at every step of the process definitely brings peace of mind.

Being able to choose the very best of our fruit and vegetables to feed our precious families is a blessing. Knowing that our canned meats haven’t been contaminated with antibiotics and growth hormones is very satisfying. Being able to refine the canning recipes to the exact taste your own family enjoys means they will always appreciate Mom’s home cooking.

Canning also brings the family together. It is so much fun to include your children in the canning process. They will grow up with a true appreciation of their food. Children are able to pick, clean, slice, peel, chop produce, and then pack the jars. Once the children are a little older, they are able to complete the majority of the process themselves. This will give them a lifelong skill that they will hopefully utilize as adults. This may also become a fun family tradition.

Canning produce is one of my favorite homesteading chores. Turning a bucket of produce into a row of colorful jars is such fun and it’s certainly something well appreciated throughout the year. There are times, however, when I consider the boxes of cucumbers awaiting my attention, the tomatoes still needing to be picked and processed and the jars of peaches lined up waiting for a position on a shelf that I tend to feel overwhelmed (and that’s just today!). However, this is when I need to remember why I choose to can our food and how much we will enjoy this wonderful blessing of a prepared pantry in the winter months to come.

Renata Finch is a happy wife and homeschooling mama to four precious children (including identical twins) and two foster children. She spends her days surrounded by beauty on their small farm in Australia. She journals her homesteading, homeschooling, and homemaking adventures at Sunnyside Farm Fun.

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