Lots of people wonder why I bother to can when freezing would be easier. My short answer is convenience, particularly in recognition of lack of planning. I do not own a microwave and have no intention of doing so. I really don’t know what we’d use it for. Defrosting things is the only time we’ve even thought it would be handy. It would take up a lot of counter-space (or space somewhere) and use a bunch of electricity. It doesn’t seem worth it.
Also, you can only put so much stuff in a freezer. We did buy a bigger freezer last year. But we prioritize stuff that is best preserved that way. A whole lamb, for example. And we’re going to get chickens from the same farmer. We really value buying meat from local farmers that treat the animals in ways consistent with our values.
Also, while canning uses a bunch of energy when you do it — gas and/or electricity and water to boil all that stuff — that’s it for energy input. Then it sits on a shelf. And it doesn’t need energy at the other end (apart from the superhuman strength sometimes required to get the lids off).
Also texture. I don’t usually bake with the canned fruit. We just eat it. The only fruit we freeze are gooseberries (which we pick green) and blackcurrants both of which will be stewed. We don’t eat jam. We make raspberry syrup and put it on ice-cream.
I know freezing works for lots of people and if it’s good for you, keep doing it. Similarly with jam. But we’ve been really trying to think about how we like to eat things and what works for us and doing things in the most sustainable ways for us personally. Which often means canning in smaller jars that other people might use. Mostly doing passata or crushed tomatoes instead of whole ones. Canning instead of freezing. And dehydrating strawberries instead of making jam.
That said, I always love to hear what other people are doing because sometimes I get ideas that way. I started canning beans in vinegar after reading a post by Wisteria (combined with a few other things like Mat making a bean salad with a vinaigratte). I don’t use her recipe (it has sugar and the beans are cooked for longer than I would ever imagine cooking a bean) but she got me thinking and I found a way that works for us.
BTW, the retreat was fun. And I have some interesting things to ponder. I’m glad I went. If nothing else there are now about 40 women in my church who know my name instead of knowing me as Tigger’s mom.