Why I can instead of freeze

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.

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5 thoughts on “Why I can instead of freeze

  1. I am with you on this, and can add my own reasons. There is nothing as pleasing to the eye in looking at a pantry lined with filled canning jars…looking at hte food instead of the label. And then, there is the reality that I tend to lose lots of stuff in the freezer under the meat and such, only to end up being thrown out half a year later !

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  2. Actually, I do both. I’ve put by 23 quarts of tomato sauce, 10 pints of juice (with more to come!), and if I remember right, I had 7 pints of bread and butter pickles, plus three quarts of peaches all canned (the peaches were supposed to be 6 quarts, but I had a “blowout” and 6 quarts raw pack turns into 3 quarts cooked). Inversely, I put in the freezer as quarts 20+ green beans, 20+ blueberries, about a dozen sugar pack peaches, a dozen or so bags of cleaned corn (I never liked the way my canned corn turned out) and soon to be cooked carrots (they are waiting in the sink to be done). Also, 1/4 steer is getting picked up on Monday. Next spring I’m going to raise meat birds again. I bought a second deep freezer to help make more space… meat in one, veg/fruit in the smaller one. I am unable to can at home presently, so I have to haul everything in town to my Dad’s (only about 7 minutes away). My stove is a glass top, and the canner would crack it. I did purchase (but it won’t be assembled until next year) a 12X16 screen house that we’re going to make into an outdoor canning kitchen (can’t wait, it’s going to be so good!) I usually freeze what is easy to throw into soups or stews, except the blueberries, which I’ve done as jam, and I don’t like much. I make a nice strawberry jam that I like so much more, so the blueberries are kept for pies and pancakes. I’ve had on 2 occasions peaches blow out when I can them, which was sooo frustrating, hence they are now in the freezer as well. I have several posts related to my canning/gardening adventures if you want to read more, come on over! đŸ™‚ lifeonfive.homeschooljournal.net
    I agree, I love to hear what others are putting by. I really enjoy being less dependent on the local grocery, not to mention everything just tastes so much better!

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  3. Interesting discussion! I find canning difficult given the size of our kitchen. As we don’t eat much meat, we have plenty of freezer space (in the big basement freezer) but very little counter space, which makes canning a dreadful chore.

    I have done it, of course, and I like the sense of accomplishment and the site of gleaming glass jars full of something yummy. Your comments make me want to try it more often!

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  4. I can and freeze somewhat equally. My theory is that I like having those lines of gleaming glass jars, as Shaun said, but I also worry about power outages and losing the bulk of my harvest to an unexpected thaw.

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  5. Hey, it took me 3 or 4 readings of the title to get that you meant can as in pickling things in a jar. We are just about to can 10 pounds of concord grapes this week. My first time. Wish me luck and patience. And er, tips.

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