Food & Fitness

Canning at home

My contract with Fruit Share is almost up (just about a week left!), and I’d like to take some of the skills I’ve learned through Fruit Share and apply them to everyday life. Specifically, preserving and canning fruits and vegetables at home.

canning apples

A jar of apple butter from one of our workshops - it's delicious!

I had never canned anything before I started working with Fruit Share this summer. Then we held several canning workshops, at which I learned how to make and can applesauce, apple butter, and apple chutney. It was so much fun! I was amazed at how easy it is, too. So I decided that I’d like to start canning by myself at home.

The mother dear kindly bought me a book on preserving a few weeks ago, and in it they have some great recipes for the basics like canned corn and canning crushed tomatoes. Those are the types of things I’m most interested in. I don’t want to buy canned corn from the store, with all of its weird additives. It seems that when you buy canned goods at the store, you’re either stuck with buying a ridiculously expensive can for a healthier item, or else you’re stuck with something a little cheaper that has unhealthy ingredients. By making these things at home, I’d be able to save money and get healthier ingredients. Win win!

Of course, the saving money part comes after you purchase all of the equipment necessary to preserve. Jars are fairly inexpensive, and I already have access to all of the equipment I need (provided Fruit Share lets me hold onto the canning starter kit over the winter… pretty please??)… except for a pressure canner.

You don’t need a pressure canner for everything you preserve (such as jams), but you do need it for basics such as canned corn and crushed tomatoes. Therefore, I’m going to need one.

This is where you come in! I need advice. I’ve taken a quick look at pressure canners online, and it seems they range anywhere from $75 (which seems reasonable to me), to $400 (eek way too expensive!). Have you used a pressure canner? Is there a specific one that you would recommend? Are the cheaper ones still a good enough quality or is it better to splurge for something more mid-range? Please share your suggestions in the comments section below! I would greatly appreciate it.


  1. the Bag Lady

    I have never used a pressure canner, so can’t give you any advice, except to start with a fairly inexpensive one. I do, however, have a few tips for you…..

    You CAN preserve tomatoes without a pressure canner, but you need to add lemon juice (or vinegar) to increase the acidity, then boil them for the recommended length of time in a hot water bath.

    Tip #2 – don’t put your labels on the jars themselves. It’s hard to get them off, and you re-use the jars over and over. You must NOT re-use the lids, so write on the lids. (Save yourself the trouble of trying to get all that sticky glue off the jars!) I actually make labels on my computer to stick on the lids, but I’m kind of a freak (and always smear the ink if I try to write on the lids!)

    I probably have more tips, but those are the ones that came to mind while reading your post…. if you have any questions, email me and I’ll try to help!

  2. Yum Yucky

    I’ve only ever canned strawberries. Never even came to mind to can corn or tomatoes (which I loooove). The thing I would do is read a lot of online reviews for the few you have in mind and then go from there with your decision. The most expensive one isn’t always necessary, nor always the best.

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