I have been canning my garden produce for many years now. But I don't stop there. Canning meat or produce that I didn't grow myself is something I do often too. Canning for me is essential to the life of being a "modern homesteader." Do not limit it to only the food you produce on your homestead. Canning opens up a whole new world of food to a homesteader or anyone else. Even if you are not interested in being a homesteader, canning is a frugal activity.
Now when I plan my garden I make a list of what I need to replace in my pantry of canned foods. Grow what you can and then shop at local farms and farmers' markets to increase your food supplies. If you have a good source of farm raised meats, by all means can it. Canning it will be the best way to store it for longer periods. Freezers do not store the food for as long of a period as canning does. Not only that, but you will be able to store what we refer to around here as, "fast food." Heat and eat meals are great when they come from your garden and local food sources.
Here are some ideas for you based on our heat and eat meals:
1. Chili - I like to can about 3 different varieties, no beans, with beans and one with sausage.
2. Stew - Try making beef, venison and turkey stews.
3. Broth - I always keep a variety of broths canned so I have them handy for whatever I am making.
4. Soups - Canned soup is awesome for a quick lunch in the cold winter! Can a variety of it too.
5. Sauces - Any kind of sauce you use, can a good supply for future meals.
6.Meat & Poultry - Canned meat can be turned into a million different meals. I can cubes and ground, of a variety of meats and poultry.
7. Desserts - Canned fruits is an easy dessert to have on hand. But don't forget to can some "pie fillings" that can be used for pies, cobblers, crisps, etc.
8. Side Dishes - Canning vegetables, including dried beans, makes it easy to make a side dish to go with your meals. Try combining a few to make mixed vegetable dishes. I don't usually can them that way, but mix them when I am preparing them for the meal.
9. Fish - Now this is something I have not done yet. I hope to get to canning seafood in the future. Here is an idea of Canning Salmon and how easy it can be.
10. Dairy Products - Milk can be canned quite easily. So if you have a milk supply, can it up for the times when your dairy animals are dry. I have, and still do, can butter and cheese, as well. That is a fairly new thing to can so make sure you research it online and find a reputable instructor for your recipe. I use Jackie Clay's information on it.
Canned meat, poultry and broths!
What are some of your favorite quick and eat meals? What would you like to learn to can that you have never canned before?
For anyone that has never canned meats before, here is a book that I have used myself. There are many others available too, including the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving (this is a link to the 2013 book. It is good to have the newest version when canning.). The book below is the current one on Amazon.
Copyright © 2013 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2013 Kathleen G. Lupole
Updated July 2016