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Everyday Cheapskate: Got a Big Harvest? Can It!

Mary Hunt on

So you planted a garden, lucked out when you bought a property that had fruit trees, stumbled upon a produce sale or joined a Community Supported Agriculture program. Good for you!

Now what? What will you do with all that bounty?

Your choices are: quickly consume your harvest before it spoils, give it away or preserve it to enjoy in the future.

Preserving is making a big comeback. One of the best ways to preserve is canning.

Canning is not difficult, but it is a procedure that should be followed precisely.

To get started, you need basic equipment, a good teacher and beautifully ripe produce. Your investment now will pay off in spades come winter, when you'll be able to enjoy summer all over again. If you're new at this, start with fruit, jams, pickles and tomatoes because these items are highly acidic and do not require a pressure canner.

 

BASIC EQUIPMENT

Canning jars. These are specially made tempered jars with lids designed for canning. The jars can be reused for many years. They come in various sizes and are usually sold in boxes of 12. Each jar includes a two-piece lid. Look for canning jars online and in supermarkets, hardware stores and discount department stores like Walmart and Target.

Large covered water bath canner. A water bath canner must be deep enough to completely immerse the jars with 1 to 2 inches of water covering the top of the lid. Canners have a rack to keep the jars off the bottom of the pot. You can improvise with any large stockpot and a wire cooling rack placed in the bottom.

Jar lifter. A jar lifter is a very handy tool for removing freshly processed jars from the boiling water. It looks like wide tongs.

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