Last Updated on October 8, 2022 by Real Men Sow
Canning and conserving food is one of the best aspects of homesteading. There is nothing more satisfying than feeling when my pantry is full of homemade canned food. Here are some time-saving canning tips to preserve your harvest even if you have a tight schedule.
8 Time-Saving Canning Tips
You probably don’t want to waste your time canning food you won’t eat. It is a good idea to take note of these time-saving canning tips and of what your family enjoys so that you can save some time and still enjoy the harvest!
1. What can you actually EAT?
My number one tip for canning food you love to eat is my number one tip. You’re probably just wasting your time if you don’t want to eat the food you can put in a can. It can sometimes be difficult to find out what your family loves if you have never made it. (For example, I once canned 40 pounds of sauerkraut and had my family try it. Then again, it was hard to tell what they liked.
You can focus your limited time on canning items that you know your family loves or uses, such as pickles, salsa, tomato sauce, strawberry jam or tomato sauce. While you may not be able to eat all the items you love, you will have enough food for your family!
2. Stages of Work
The most time-consuming part of canning is the preparation work. It is possible to manage it all by breaking it down and working in stages to prepare and preserve your food. Because I rarely have enough time to focus on preparing and processing batches of food from start-to-finish, this is what I do the majority of the time.
For the preservation of apples and pears, you should place them in a solution made of water and lemon juice. Add one tablespoon of lemon juice to every cup of water. This will prevent them from turning brown.
After preparing your food, make sure it is preserved as soon as possible. It’s okay to let your food sit for a while or even overnight. I have almost never had to throw out food and have always worked in stages.
3. Ask for help
You know that your family eats the same food as you do, so they can also eat it. They can also help to preserve it! Preserving food used to be a family activity back in those days. As grandma prepared the green beans for canning, you would sit alongside her and snap green beans. This is why it’s so important to do this today.
Canning can be much more enjoyable and fun when done in a group effort. You can also get the job done far faster than if you are preserving a whole batch by yourself. It’s a great way to teach your kids about canning and preserving food. They will be able to take it with them all their lives.
4. Are small quantities possible?
It is possible that you don’t have the time or energy to can a 50-lb. Pickles. You can make a batch of pickles that weighs five to ten pounds. When we think about canning or preserving food, our minds often think of large quantities that would fill a bomb shelter. These food items could last us through the winter. There’s nothing wrong in making small batches of food that you enjoy or would like to try.
We humans are often all-or-nothing creatures. It seems that if we don’t have the ability to do everything (and it’s not done to the Nth degree), then it’s pointless doing it. You can make jam if you have only a few hours to spare. It’s better to do a little than nothing!
5. Double or triple your batch
If you have the time and resources to make more of something you love, you should. You’ll get more than you need, and you might even be able to make enough to last you another year.
6. Keep canning supplies on hand and ingredients readily available
Preparing ahead will save you time and reduce stress. You can save time by having special ingredients, jars, labels, and new lids on hand. Keep the following ingredients in your pantry for canning sessions:
- White vinegar
- Apple cider vinegar
- Salt pickling
- Pickling spice
- Clear Jel (for thickening or canning pie fillings)
7. You can multitask by using the waiting time
Waiting for the pot to boil or your processing time to finish is a lot of time in canning. You can use this time to accomplish other tasks. Tidy your kitchen. Do some laundry. Do some computer work. But Don’t forget to finish your canning project. You don’t want to let it go unattended. This means that you shouldn’t be running errands or weeding the garden at this point.
Keep your eyes open, but don’t forget to wait. You’ll soon have a pantry filled with home-canned food as well as a to-do list in no time.
8. Accept the fact that other things may be overlooked
This means that during the canning season when vegetables and fruits are in season and must be preserved quickly, canning and preservation should be a top priority. They won’t last any other way. You should expect that some things will have to be sacrificed in order to preserve and can everything. The end of the matter is that the canning season really is just that: a period.
Pickling cucumbers, tomatoes, apples, or other fruits and vegetables can be exhausting. But this is only for one season. Soon, this season will end and you’ll be ready for the next. When it happens, you will open up your pantry and gaze at the gleaming cans of home-canned foods as you plan your winter meals.
If you have a limited amount of time canning, focus on items that save you money, have a long shelf life, or are highly nutritious. The farther your food is from the ground, the longer it will last. There are many other delicious recipes you can try once you get over the basics. And in my opinion, freezer foods are just as healthy and far more convenient than canned items! That was my list of time-saving canning tips. What are your top tips for preserving your harvest? Share with us.