It’s easy to eat healthier in the summer. The variety and volume of fresh produce is everywhere, from your backyard or the farmer’s market to the sale display at the grocery store. But when you’re in a seasonal climate like Massachusetts, winter arrives with months of root veggies, hearty greens, and not much else. If you ever find yourself eyeing those $7 pints of berries from far away in February, just a little planning goes a long way. Canning and preserving is easy, and here are some tips that will have you eating tasty, healthy, and locally year round.
Learn from the experts. Get some info from a knowledgeable source. Canning is easy, but there’s basic safety you’ll need to pick up. Canning and preserving are enjoying a resurgence in popularity, and there’s a good chance you already know someone who dabbles in dilly beans. If not, the pros at Ball Canning have tons of recipes and safety guidelines.
Start small. Your first project shouldn’t take up your entire kitchen and use bushels and bushels of produce, or you’ll be overwhelmed. Start with small-batch canning recipes that only yield a few half-pint jars, like those in the Food in Jars cookbook. That way you can get the hang of processing before moving on to bigger things.
Attend a food swap. Once you start canning, you’ll be amassing lots of jars of delectable goodies, probably more than you want (or have room) to keep. The Boston Food Swap is a monthly event where people bring their extra homemade foods and swap with each other. So your 6 jars of extra jam can get you a loaf of bread, mustard, granola, pickles, or anything else people have brought to swap. Plus, many swappers are into canning and preserving, and are a wealth of tips and tricks on the subject. It’s a fun, informative, and delicious way to spend an afternoon.
Have you tried home canning? What’s your favorite thing to make?