Learning To Can When You Don't Garden
The question came up recently from a friend, "Should I learn how to can food?"
Just to clarify, I do not can at this time. My mother and grand mother did. I can remember sitting in the kitchens of both, helping to prepare the vegetables or wiping down the jars. The skills to can are on my list, but I probably won't get to it til 2023 or later.
What do those of you who do can think?
On the one hand, its a great way to lower your cost and provide for a storable food supply. You don't even have to be someone with a large garden to can either. Local farmer's markets provide a wide range of plentiful veggies that you can buy and can. And if you learn when the harvest times are for your favorites, you can even get them cheaply in bulk. Or you can even buy from big grocery stores, though the taste might not be as great as what you can get fresh locally.
On the other hand, the initial start up costs are substantial. A pressure cooker for canning is not cheap. Nor are the number of jars you need.
What I told my friend was to learn dehydration techniques first, since you can often pick up a used dehydrator at thrift stores. Then if they like doing the prep and find they use the ingredients on a regular basis in their meals, to consider buying the equipment, but to wait until the off season to save money.