This month's notes: May 2016: Strawberries have a very brief season; and the start in early April in the South, don't miss them: See your state's crop availability calendar for more specific dates of upcoming crops. And see our guide to local fruit and vegetable festivals, such as strawberry festivals and blueberry festivals. Organic farms are identified in green! Also make your own ice cream - see How to make ice cream and ice cream making equipment and manuals. Have fun, eat healthier and better tasting, and save money by picking your own locally grown fruit and vegetables, and then using our easy canning and freezing directions
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Canning and Food Preservation for Preppers
Preppers looking to lay in a safe, healthy, and tasty supply of home-preserved canned and dried foods will find this page a one-stop guide with how-to pages, completely illustrated and easy to follow with time and lab-tested recipes. Many of these recipes date back to our great-grandmother's generation, but all have been lab-tested in recent years and improved for safety, reliability and quality.
Preppers needs differ from most home canners in two respects:
- Preppers often need to preserve much larger quantities than the average home canner/hobbyist and
- Preppers often desire to have the longest shelf-life possible, to reduce the cost in dollars and time to discard and
Rather than following untested and often unsafe recipes on websites put up by self-proclaimed experts, these recipes are based on the Ball Blue Book recipes, and have been re-written with more complete, easy-to-follow directions and practical tips that make canning large quantities of food easier and faster. With photos for each step, a first-time canner can easily follow them and fill a shelter pantry with tasty foods that will be good for years.
Properly prepared, most home-canned foods are both safe and tasty for years. See the bottom of this page for a quality guide for longevity in storage of home canned foods.
Prepper canning considerations
Acidic foods, that is fruits and vegetables that are naturally high in acidity, maintain their quality the longest and tend to be the safest. Examples of these are
- apples and apple products (applesauce, apple butter),
- berries (blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, figs)
- fruit juices (apple, grape, peach, etc.)
- sauces of most types, but especially fruit sauces.
Concentrated tomato and other vegetable products, like tomato paste, tomato sauce; etc. hold up much better than canned tomatoes
Less acidic vegetables, like canned corn, beans, etc. remain safe in storage for years under the proper conditions (cool, dark, low humidity), but their taste declines within a year.
Some foods (most vegetables and other low acid foods like meats) absolutely require the use of a pressure canner to reduce the level of pathogens (especially botulism) to safe levels. A water bath canner is only safe for acidic foods (most fruit, jams, and pickles). See this page about why you should use a canner and how to choose one for more information.
Drying foods and food dehydrating is a safe method for a shelter, but humidity both in the foods and in the shelter is key to safety and longevity.
Prepper's Food Preservation Resources
General information - process and equipment
- General know how and fruit/vegetable picking tips
- Why you should use a canner and how to choose one.
- Canning equipment and supplies
- Overview and step by step guide to water bath canning (for acidic foods; jams, jellies, applesauce, fruits)
- Overview and Step by step guide to pressure canning (for low acid foods: beans, corn, meats, etc.)
- Summary of safe & reliable home food preserving methods
- Canning methods that are considered to be unsafe: steam, microwave, dishwasher, oven, or just sealing the jars without further processing?
- If you are new to home canning - see these do's, don'ts and tips
- Why shouldn't I just can my own recipe or alter these recipes?
- Making baby food at home
Preserving Recipes and Directions
- Sauces, Salsas, Syrups, Fruit Butters and Chutneys
- Soups - canning vegetable and meat soups at home (see this page for tomato soup)
- Meats - how to can poultry, venison, beef, chili, fish, crabs, clams, rabbit, turkey, etc.
- Jam and jelly directions and recipes
- Juices: Canning fruit and vegetable juices
- Pie fillings
- Pickling - more than just cucumbers
- Canning - anything that can be safely canned at home!
- Drying / food dehydrating
- Freezing directions
- Frequently asked questions about canning
- Frequently asked questions about freezing
- Jam and jelly questions and answers
- Using honey in place of sugar
- Nutritional Content of Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Compared with Canned
- Food safety - what is botulism?
Other recipes for homemade foods
- Ice cream, gelato and sorbets
- Other recipes - roasted peppers, basil pesto, pies, cakes and much more
- Using Agave Nectar in place of sugar
- Table of the pH and/or acidity of common fruits, vegetables, grains, breads and common food products
- This page provide basic facts regarding food poisoning and pathogenic microorganisms and natural toxins related to home food preservation (canning, bottling, drying, jams, salsas, pickling, sauces, etc.). Look up any pathogen (botulism, salmonella, Staph, etc.) and find out what it does and how to prevent it.
- Label Templates! Click here for labels your can download, edit and customize in Microsoft Word and print on standard Avery label paper for your own jars
- PrepperZone - Prepare for disasters both man-made and natural with tips and tricks from our site while saving money doing so.
- 37 Foods to Hoard - Essential foods to stock in your Prepper's pantry - happypreppers.com
- The Great Northern Prepper
[General picking tips and a guide to each fruit and vegetable] [How much do I need to pick? (Yields - how much raw makes how much cooked or frozen)] [Selecting the right varieties to pick] [All about apple varieties - which to pick and why!] [Picking tips for Vegetables] [ Strawberry picking tips] [ Blueberries picking tips]
Illustrated Canning, Freezing, Jam Instructions and Recipes
[ All About Home Canning, Freezing and Making Jams, Pickles, Sauces, etc. ] [FAQs - Answers to common questions and problems] [Recommended books about home canning, jam making, drying and preserving!] [Free canning publications to download and print]