With wedding season over and wildfires keeping us out of the mountains I finally had some time to get some canning done this summer! Our family has done pickles for forever and I made a huge batch in August with my mom. Most recently (pictured above) my sister and did 20lbs of both tomatoes and peaches. Next week’s plans include some relishes, pickles and more from eggplants, beans, beets and whatever else my local farmers have for us! Aside from the deliciousness and social aspect, here is why I love canning.
BENEFITS OF HOME CANNING
- Preserves abundant produce from CSA’s or home gardens
- Supports local farmers markets
- Creates delicious and nutritious winter food supply (see below for more on nutrition)
- Decreases carbon emissions – by buying local produce and canning at home you are decreasing the amount of greenhouse/out of country foods you will purchase during the winter as well as pre packaged/canned foods that are shipped to your grocery store
- No chemicals – BPA is commonly found in the liners of commercially canned foods and is linked to hormone, brain and behavioural disorders .
- Quality control of ingredients – can go as organic as possible, choose natural sweeteners and sea salts, adjust sugar levels, avoid chemical colorants and stabilizers etc
- Economical, especially when produce is purchased in bulk and processed with friends!
NUTRITION OF CANNING
After a fairly large search of the internet and the library’s cookbook collection I have found very few studies on what happens to nutrients during the canning process. If you have any links to studies please comment below!
Here is what I could find:
Most people, especially raw foodists, know that cooking can decrease the amount of avialble nutrients we get from our food. While canning dose often involve boiling of the veggies from 10-35 minutes (depending on the produce and your altitude) the canning solution helps persevere nutrients. Vitamin C is one of the most studied nutrients in preserved foods. While your produce boils away in the canning jar the Vitamin and other nutrients are leeched into the water. By ingesting the syrup, sauce, juice etc that you have from your canned goods you can make sure to get the maximal nutritional benefit! Prime examples of this is canned sauerkraut used on sailing ships and rose hip syrup in during World War 1 – both contain very high amounts of Vitamin C and were used to prevent scurvy.
Here’s a quick scientific example – a study on canned cherries showed that antioxidants were well persevered in the syrup, far better then freezing.
Additionally we know that produce that is allowed to ripen naturally and in season, versus picked in Mexico in December and shipped to Canada, has much higher amounts of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients like antioxidants. By preserving your locally grown and naturally ripened produce you are able to enjoy local, delicious, and nutritious products all year round.
Please comment below with any of your favourite canning recipes!