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Canning to Save Money

This may sound outdated, but I am so glad I learned to can! It costs a bit the first year to get set, but you could just get a boiling water bath the first year and use next year's savings to buy a pressure canner. It's a way of investing to save money, and that's the same as earning in my book. The Ball Blue Book is accepted as safe recipe guidelines by our county Extension Service.


It lets me enter my relish, fruit, salsa, etc. in the fair, and I make a modest check from that every year. I bought jars from people who were quitting their canning for a dollar or two per dozen. Lids are cheap, but for fair entries, Ball lids are required now.

We found an old ice vending building (remember when you bought a block for the ice box?) that had been gutted, and we buried it part way to keep it cool, and my husband made shelves for it. We got the shelving very cheaply from a small grocery store that was closing. I keep it full. We could live out of it for the next year or two without a qualm, if necessary.

Some of the other things I put up are marinara sauce, our favorite pickles, all kinds of veggies, juice, fish, chicken and beef. It's the main reason our grocery bill is so low.

One year I found a box of bananas that had gotten frozen accidentally, and the grocery store manager gave it to me. I mashed them up with a bit of lemon juice and froze them. We now have banana bread whenever we want it. Pesto is next on my list. The basil is doing great this year!

When we have extra milk, it goes into a jar and is pressure canned. My husband and I agree that if we have a lot of something, we need to put it by for later. If we can't eat it, we give it to the chickens or calves.

This year I'm really looking forward to doing salsa verde with our crop of tomatillos! It's heavenly on chicken enchiladas! I have done 35 pints of sweet pickle sticks easy as pie and the cucumbers are still producing by the bushel (about a 10 foot row). But next year the cucumbers may fail, so we'll be all set. And no, it doesn't take your whole day! I hope some of you will give it a try. You will see your menus get better as your food budget shrinks!

By Coreen from Rupert, ID

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August 28, 20060 found this helpful

Coreen I would like your help. I've tried tomatillos three years in a row. First year I got some husks, no tomatillos. Second year I got hundreds of baby tomatillos falling on the ground. This year I got three or four perfect tomatillos and hundreds of husks with no tomato inside. I live nearby - Spokane - so our weather can't be that much different. Can you get ahold of me and give me some tips? Can't find much information on growing these things. I'd sure appreciate it! You can e-mail me at jrsladytoo AT Thanks so much, Linda

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August 28, 20060 found this helpful

I can too--I've done it for years while working full time, and now while I go to school. I live in the city, so my garden isn't too big, but it still gives me enough to really help our food bill. Isn't it amazing what you can find to put up and how convenient it makes the rest of the year? I sometimes wish that we had more land, so I could plant a huge garden. My pantry space is limited too -- I'm really envious of your space.

Just this summer, someone was cleaning out a house to fix up and sell, and they put out boxes of old home canned goods. While I didn't trust the food inside (it was pretty old), I got several boxes of free jars. I could hardly contain my myself. I had those jars emptied, scrubbed and sterilized so fast!

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August 28, 20060 found this helpful

So glad to hear someone is still canning! I never had much of a garden, but I had friends with them-- and neighbors with fruit trees in my younger years-- learned that red delicious apples when picked fairly green would can very well and make great pies....( I was told they wouldn't!)... and the cost was the lid for the jar. I also found a great buy in dry pintos-- I actually cooked them and put them up for winter-- lots of chili for a very cold winter-- again, the cost was a lid per jar, the dirt cheap beans and some chili powder. Of all the homemaker arts, I got the most satisfaction out of canning and jelly making. When I had my own apple tree I would start early culling apples. The tree was very prolific, and needed culling to grow the remaining apples bigger. Those culled apples made apple jelly, apple sauce, apple butter AND compost!-- again with the cost of lids, spices and SureJell. I learned to buy SureJell, lids and other needed ingredients through out the year especially kept the eye on sales-- making the cost even less. I also learned how to make the pectin that SureJell is made from-- and decreased THAT cost.


Ya'll made my day!! Thank you!!!

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August 28, 20060 found this helpful


I am just learning to can. I did it one year and skipped the next. I am planning on having lots of

tomatoes next summer. I fell in love with homemade tomatoe juice and want to have it on

hand as it is so tasty.

Thank you for your tips and inspiration.

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By guest (Guest Post)
August 28, 20060 found this helpful

My grandmother canned for MANY years, but had many things go bad, nearly killed her family, could not use the pressure cooker properly, and finally just

froze everything. If Dehydrating were easier, I'd try that first, but it would take a special drying house with glass/and a/c to do it right, I think, or bugs would get into it all. I heard about drying your own

beef on a clothes line. Anyone know about this? I don't use MSG so, please don't suggest that to me.

I'd be interested in drying meats without smoking, if possible. However, I am still at Plan B for my Fall


Garden, hoping to catch the rainy season when dry

one weekend and remove all old spent things from the existing garden and expand it within the small

remaining back yard, if possible. May be dreaming

since I have a bad back, but the way I'm going to use the several second-hand Cartop Carriers I've accumulated I hope to have coverable raised "beds" for the winter, on cement blocks, if possible.

You are so industrious and talented. With

my pepper and corn food-sensitivities, I can only dream about being able to eat all those things you can. Good luck and God bless you.

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August 28, 20060 found this helpful

I am attempting freezer jam this year, but may switch to the hot water bath (at least the 1/2 pint jars!) I did make my own pectin, and tested out so may be promising! I have alot of fruit for my little yard, and we love pie! Next year, I'll attempt tomatoes in the container garden, because that's what I always buy (canned.) Thanks for the nice article!

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August 29, 20060 found this helpful

I am so glad that canning is making a comeback!For years people thought my husband and I were old fashion,but now they realize we are smart!We grow pumpkins,corn,beans,6 types of tomatoes,strawberries,green peppers,rhubarb,potatoes,carrots and some herbs,all on less than a 1/4 acre.We save so much money at the grochery store.We can everything we can,including venison when my husband has a good hunting season!We are young(Im 26)and I find it sad that people my age are so wasteful.We have 3 kids,and every penny counts!Im sure a lot of you feel the same

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August 31, 20060 found this helpful

I remember helping my Mamaw can homemade tomato juice, homemade grape juice, and homemade cherry jam & grape jelly. I've canned zucchini relish as well as canned tomatoes. I've not in several years as my health hasn't been that well. But those were the days and thanks for all the memories!! It's great reading about all of your successes! Congratulations on entering your home canned goods in the fair, earning money for it!! Keep up the good work, all!!

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September 2, 20060 found this helpful

Tomorrow my husband and I will have been married 30 years and in most of that time we've canned together. The last several years we didn't because either our garden didn't produce enough or we didn't plant one. Unfortunately the yard got too shady. Next year we hope to relocate the garden into a sunny spot. Anyway, we canned whole tomatoes, tomato sauce, sweet pickle relish, pickled beets and other things. I just loved the tomatoes and so many years I never bought store bought canned tomatoes. Once you invest in your canning supplies, you use them over and over. You just have to buy the new seals, but they are cheap and sometimes I've found new boxes at garage sales.

We did it together so it wasn't such a chore. I've done the process by myself too but is more fun to do with hubby.

My MaMaw and PaPaw also used to can. They used a pressure canner to do fresh green beans. We've always just done boiling bath method and never did buy a pressure canner....perhaps some day.

Gardening and canning are enjoyable hobbies!

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By guest (Guest Post)
September 4, 20060 found this helpful

I know nothing about Canning but after reading this I am eager to learn...are there any good books you would recommend??

thank you !


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By guest (Guest Post)
September 11, 20060 found this helpful

would you share with me what you are able to can using the boiling water bath?? I dont have a pressure canner yet and was told I have to can almost everything with a pressure canner. How did you can bananas?? You are inspiring me to can more things . Blessed!

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