The way the world is today and the state of the economy are you really preparing or are you just going through the motions? Think about it, if something were to happen at this very second, could you make it? Could you keep your family warm and safe? Unless you live in the tropics or some place where it is warm this time of year winter is about to rear it's ugly head and hard. Picture this, January, the dead of winter, an infrastructure failure. This means, no lights, no heat and no water among other things. What are your going to do now? There will probably be little to no communication so if shelters are set up you will not know about them. How will you feed your family? Sure you might have your 72 hour kit ready to go, but what happens if it goes into days or weeks or heaven forbid longer than that. How will you provide food for your family?
Canning your own food has been around for a long time and in my opinion it is becoming a lost art. Personally our family cans as much as we can during the summer from tomatoes to corn (freeze) and most other vegetables. Home canned foods will last up to a couple of years. Home canned food provides safe nutrition, there are no additives or preservatives in any of it. Best of all it is not hard to do at all. I know that when people think of canning, they think they have to have all of the fancy pressure cookers and all the gadgets but you don't HAVE to have them.
Jars, rings and seals:
If you are just starting out usually a case of quart jars will run anywhere from 7-10.00 for a dozen. Your first set generally comes with the seals and rings. While they come made and look clean, to be sure, you should wash all of the things in HOT soapy water (as hot as you can stand), rinse them very well. Set them upside down up on a clean dry towel. They do not have to dry. In a very large pot fill with water and bring it to a boil. Once it is boiling, place a couple jars, seals and rings in the water for about a minute to sanitize them. You can use a long set of tongs, or a jar lifter to get them out of the water and set them back on the towel.
Preparing your veggies, is pretty common sense and easy, simply wash, cut to desired size and fill the jar to within an inch of the top: In a separate pot, bring to a boil 1/2 teaspoon of salt to each 1 qt of water. Using a funnel, fill the the jar with the water/salt until it covers the veggies or within a 1/2 inch of the top. Dip a clean cloth into the water that you used to sterilize the jars and wipe off the rim of the jar to make sure it is clean for a good proper seal.
Sealing your Jars: Place a seal on the jar and screw on the ring pretty tight. Use a towel to hold the jar in place as it will be very hot. Repeat this till all of your jars are full that you have veggies for. Once that is done, place 2-3 jars right side up into the sterilizing pot making sure that the water level is about 3/4 up the side of the jar. Bring the water to a boil and let it boil for 15 minutes. When the time is up, carefully remove the jars and set them in an area where you will not have to move them for 24 hours. Depending on the temperature of your home, it could take as long as 5-6 hours for them to seal. You may also hear them "pop" when sealing themselves. Once they are completely cooled and sealed, store them in a cool dark place like a basement or the bottom of a closet. If by chance, you have a couple that do not seal, put them in the fridge and use them up in a week or so.
Not only does canning food provide an emergency food source, it will also save you money in the long run as the rings and jars can be reused year after year. The only thing that you can not reuse is the seals.
I hope that my blog is giving people the insights to help themselves, not only in prepping but also other little tricks. As always, feel free to comment on anything that you might have a question on.