To me as a child, pioneering were the TV shows The Rifleman with Chuck Connors and Wagon Train with Ward Bond. (Yes, I am that old.) Little House On the Prairie was too sappy. My sisters watched that.
Those TV characters were seeking new western homesteads to build homes and families.
Using common, everyday skills for those times, they hunted game, grew fruits and vegetables, preserved extra food, and tended to injuries and ailments. They were pioneers.
When it comes to the food preservation of your garden successes, canning is the skill to master. Edible shelf-life of properly canned food ranges from one to five years. Canned product that’s freeze dried (think canned lentils) may last up to twenty-five, maybe thirty years.
If you’re a “canning beginner”, remember to use modern canning recipes only … and to follow the recipe exactly.
There are probably 12 to 15 must-follow canning rules. Here are five of the most important:
Safety Rules Of Canning
1. Don’t use jars larger than a quart. Home canning technology cannot guarantee that larger quantities will be sufficiently heated through for enough time. Rather, the food on the outside will overcook, while that on the inside won’t get hot enough for food safety.
2. A water-bath canner may only be used for high acid foods such as tomatoes, fruits, rhubarb, sauerkraut, pickles, and jams/jellies. A pressure canner MUST be used for low acid foods including vegetables, meats, and stews.
3. [Again] Use only modern canning recipes from reliable sources (especially when first starting out).
4. Never reuse jar lids. Used lids aren’t reliable for sealing correctly. If a screw-on band is rusty or bent, it won’t work right and should be discarded and replaced. That said, you might consider purpose-designed reusable Tattler lids.
5. Don’t use antique or ‘French’ -type canning jars. They aren’t as safe as the modern, regular ‘Ball, Kerr’ type.
Source: Another excellent post by Ken Jorgustin. Read the comments after his article for additional canning insights.
Image: Gerd Altmann