Canned foods also guarantee tasty meals when it’s impossible to get to the grocery store. They are tasty and often use food that would probably go to waste.

“Just about anything that can be imagined can go in a jar,” said Cathy Bennett, who now teaches canning for a variety of groups. “Cake, pie filling, salsa, bacon, salt-preserved lemons, all are great out of a jar. Canning isn’t just for jams and jellies these days. If you can imagine a food, you can can it.”

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Pressure canners used properly are safe, but it is important to follow the instructions that come with the canner to prevent accidents.

  1. Sterilize jars and lids in a boiling water bath.
  2. For meat, put about 2 inches of raw meat in the bottom of each quart jar. The meat should have the silver skin removed and then be cut into 2-inch cubes. Fill to within 1 inch of the top.
  3. For vegetables, put harder vegetables like beets or turnips next to the meat, then use your imagination and what is available. Onions, celery, cabbage, carrots, peas, beans and squash all work well. Tap the vegetables down so they are tightly packed.
  4. Add broth or other liquid, and push a fork or canning tool down to the bottom of the jar to remove air bubbles and to get the liquid all the way to the bottom.
  5. Wipe the rim of the jar with a damp cloth. Put on the lids and rings, then put the jars in a pressure canner filled to the halfway point with water.
  6. Put on the lid, get the pressure canner to whistling temperature and cook for 1.5 hours, or the amount of time your pot’s instructions require.
  7. The meal will cook, the lids will ping and at the end of cooking time you will have a delicious meal that will last in its jar.

This article was originally published in the NEW PIONEER ™ Summer 2015 issue. Subscription is available in print and digital editions here.

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