Is Canning Worth It: Can You Really Save Money?

Is Canning Worth It: Can You Really Save Money?
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Introduction: Is Canning Worth It?

As a frugal-minded stay at home mom, managing the household budget is crucial to keeping you and your family on track. Finding ways to save money without sacrificing nutrition or taste can be a real challenge. A thorough look at the pros and cons of home canning will help you determine: Is canning worth it?

People often overlook the idea of canning food at home. In this blog post, I’ll investigate briefly how home preserving works. I’ll also briefly describe both Pressure and Water Bath Canning.

This post will discuss the potential cost savings associated with canning. Additionally, this guide includes troubleshooting solutions for issues that may arise and offers helpful home canning tips.

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Five home canned jars of food and a canning pot on a stove in preparation for home canning.

Canning Inventory List Printable

A Brief Explanation of Home Canning

Canning is an important preservation method that involves sealing the contents in an airtight container. This helps to protect it from bacteria and prevents it from spoiling.

Canning is a way to keep food for a long time. To can, you need to use heat. Boiling-water canning means putting jars in hot water for a few minutes. Pressure canning uses hot steam under pressure and makes sure the container is airtight so it will last longer.

During these times of economic uncertainty and supply-chain issues, it is prudent to have a pantry stocked with canned food. Home bottling allows for the ability to produce high-quality canned products. It also gives the ability to store food safely for long periods.

The Importance of Saving Money

The importance of saving money cannot be overstated. Today’s economy often stretches incomes thin and contributes to the high cost of living.

As we all know, groceries are a significant expense for any household. Finding ways to reduce this cost is crucial. This is where home canning comes in. If done correctly, home canning can be a cost-effective way to save money on groceries.

The Cost of Groceries

The cost of groceries is a significant expense for most households, and it continues to rise with each passing year. With the current economic climate, many households are looking for ways to reduce their expenses. The cost of groceries is a significant area of concern.

bags of groceries in the back of a vehicle - is canning worth it

Home canning allows households to have more control over the quality and ingredients of the food they consume. This can lead to savings on healthcare costs in the long run.

Understanding the Costs of Home Canning to Determine: is Canning Worth it?

DIY canning is a great way to save money and ensure that you have the exact types of food you want to store for future use. Although the equipment and cost of the jars can seem costly upfront, it’s not much money considering you can use everything over and over. Canning pays for itself in more ways than one over time.

Jars, rims, and the supplies necessary may seem expensive. Reusing these items year after year justifies the cost.

There are two main canning jar sizes, quarts and pints. Also, the jars come in wide-mouth and regular mouth which means how large the opening is. The canning lids and rings come in corresponding sizes to fit either the wide-mouth or regular mouth jars. I usually use the wide-mouth quart size jars for my canning.

Growing your own food in a garden is a great way to save money. You can also use the food you grow to make canned foods that you can eat later.

If you don’t have a home garden then investing in fruits and vegetables from your local farmers market or grocery store will give you cheaper options for filling your jars with tasty goodness!

a canning pot, funnel, some banks, jar lifter, canning jars and home canned food - is canning worth it

Initial Costs for Home Canning Equipment and Supplies

The initial cost of supplies and equipment can vary depending on the type and quantity of items you purchase. Here are the necessary items with their approximate costs:

  1. Jar Lids: The cost of metal lids is usually between $0.15 and $0.50 per lid.
  2. Canning Jars: Glass jars, sometimes called mason jars, are necessary in canning. The cost per jar can range from $0.50 to $2.00. Quart and pint jars are the most commonly used sizes. The jars come with two-piece lids, a round rubberized lid, along with a ring that screws on over the lid.
  3. Rings: The cost of jar rims (screw bands) is around $0.15 per ring. The rings are reusable.
  4. Water Bath Canner: A boiling water canner is the least expensive type of canner you can purchase. Prices range from $50 to $200, depending on size and quality.
  5. Pressure Canner: Pressure canners can vary in cost depending on the brand, size, and features. A basic pressure canner costs anywhere from $50 to $150.
  6. Stockpot: A stockpot with a lid will usually cost around $30.
  7. Utensils: You will need a few tools including a jar lifter, lid lifter, bubble popper, and funnel. You can purchase these tools as a set or individually. A set of canning utensils can cost around $20.
  8. Ingredients: The cost of ingredients will vary. You may need to buy sugar, vinegar, fruit pectin or citric acid, canning salt, and other ingredients for your recipes.
  9. Optional Ball Canning Book: The cost of an optional Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving will depend on the edition and type you purchase. Generally, they range from around $10 to $30. A home canning book is an essential resource for any home canner. It provides step-by-step instructions and research-tested home canning recipes for successful canning projects. It’s not a requirement, but a really good idea to have one. I refer to mine often.

Benefits of Home Canning

Jarring your own food is the best way to enjoy all the flavor, nutrition, and freshness of the summer harvest at any time of year. This method of food preservation has many benefits. One benefit is you have total control over the ingredients that go into your homemade creations.

Another benefit is cutting down grocery store costs by buying in bulk and making cheaper pantry-stored items. When you can fruits and vegetables at home, you get to choose what goes into your food. That way, you can make sure that the food is healthy and tastes how you want it to.

Control Over Ingredients and Quality

When you jar your own food, you get to decide what ingredients you use. This means you can choose the best fruits, vegetables, and meats to put into your quart jars and avoid any chemicals that are often added to store-bought foods like preservatives, artificial colors, and flavors. By learning how to do this, you can be sure you’re storing high-quality food for later use.

Beyond controlling quality, self-canning also gives you complete control over the level of sweetness, saltiness, spiciness, and other flavor profiles in all of your canned products.

You get to decide the kind of flavors that make it onto your pantry shelves without having to settle for whatever’s out there in stores. With home canning, you get a greater level of security when it comes to the quality, flavor, and composition of your canned goods!

Ability to Preserve Seasonal Produce

Preserving seasonal produce is a great way to get the most out of your harvest. Jarring your own fresh produce and meat is a great way to enjoy the delicious flavors, nutrition, and freshness of the summer harvest all year round. I’ve been raising meat chickens for years and I can broth, soup, and meat.

Home canning enables you to preserve fruits and vegetables at their peak ripeness, which helps to cut food waste by preserving any surplus produce that might have otherwise spoiled.

Canning your own jam is worth it, especially if you use fruit that you grew yourself. From making jam and jelly with summer berries to jarred tomatoes in autumn, preserving seasonal produce ensures you will always have healthy and delicious ingredients on hand no matter what season it may be.

baskets of green beans from a recent harvest - is canning worth it

Your canned food should be stored in a dry, cool dark place. The jars should be closely examined before use to make sure that the seals are still good. If any lid easily comes off or if the contents are bad-smelling, or have an off-color, the food should be promptly discarded.

A frequently asked question is, how long does a jar of home-canned food last? According to Mrs. Wages, “It can last for at least 2 to 5 years easily without compromising on the taste or nutritional value.”

Personal Satisfaction and Sense of Accomplishment

Canning your own food is a great way to get a sense of accomplishment, as well as a source of personal satisfaction. It’s a relatively quick process that encompasses both the art and science of preserving food in cans or jars for long-term storage.

After you complete the process and see the end product, there’s an undeniable sense of pride that comes from watching whatever you made fill sealed cans so perfectly.

Two Canning Methods

When it comes to canning, there are two different methods available: water bath canning and pressure canning. Water bath canning involves submerging the filled jars in boiling water to achieve a seal. This method is ideal for high-acid foods such as jams and pickles but should not be used on vegetables or meats as they require higher temperatures achieved during pressure canning.

Pressure canning requires a pressure canner (not a pressure cooker, which is a different piece of equipment) used to increase the heat while processing. This eliminates any potential bacteria, such as Botulinum, found in low-acid foods making them safe for long-term storage.

The USDA’s Complete Guide to Home Canning is a comprehensive guide that gives detailed instructions on the process of home food preserving, pressure canning methods, and the water bath canning method. It also gives you an abundance of research-based recipes for specific foods.

In addition, the USDA guide to home canning gives you plenty of helpful charts and graphs so you’ll know the correct processing times, correct pressure amounts for your elevation above sea level, safety information, disease control, as well as what all the terms mean.

You can also get information on canning at your local Cooperative Extension.

Here are some ideas for water bath canning:

  • Pickled vegetables – cucumber pickles, dill pickles, pickled beets, and pickled green beans.
  • Jams and jellies – strawberry, raspberry, blackberry, and grape.
  • Tomato products – whole, crushed, diced, and tomato sauce.
  • Salsa – tomato salsa, peach salsa, and corn salsa.
  • Fruit – canned peaches, pears, and applesauce.

Here are some ideas for pressure canned foods:

  • Meat – chicken, beef, pork, and venison.
  • Soups – vegetable soup, chili, and chicken noodle soup.
  • Beans – pinto beans, black beans, and kidney beans.
  • Vegetables – carrots, green beans, and corn.
  • Fish – salmon and tuna.

Tips for Maximizing Savings

Home food preservation is a great way to save money and ensure you always have delicious, fresh home-cooked meals available. To get the most out of your home canning process, make sure to plan ahead.

Research recipes and ingredients so you know exactly what supplies to buy in advance. When it comes to selecting food, opt for locally grown fruits and vegetables. They tend to be more flavorful, cost less than pre-packaged produce, and are usually harvested at the peak of ripeness.

Another idea for maximizing your savings on food is home canning the fish you catch and the venison you hunt. Not only does this save you money on the cost of canned meats, but it also ensures that you have a reliable and nutritious source of protein throughout the year.

Canning jars of food with the Title, "Did you Know..." and the words, "Canning was invented by Nicholas Appert of France in 1809 because the government request a means of preserving food for military use.

Invest in high-quality equipment that does not have any cracks or dents; these flaws could cause spoilage later on. Finally, organize your pantry shelves so that labeled jars are easy to locate and access when needed.

Take Advantage of Sales and In-Season Produce

Home canning is an economical way of preserving food and reducing waste. With careful budgeting, it is possible to take advantage of the sales at the grocery store while also purchasing in-season produce. For example, if hamburger is on sale for a good price, you can buy in bulk and can the excess. You can take advantage of buying produce at local farms and farmers markets.

By stocking up on items when they are inexpensive or plentiful, savings can be maximized while ensuring access to a wide variety of seasonal fruits and veggies throughout the year. Canning in season also guarantees fresher, more natural-tasting meals for your family.

Back yard garden with raised beds of carrots, green beans, kale and lettuce - is canning worth it

Grow Your Own Ingredients

The ultimate way to save money when home canning is to grow your own ingredients. Not only is homegrown produce usually tastier than store-bought options, but having a garden can be a great way to relax, stay productive, and enjoy the beautiful outdoors. I always grow tomatoes, onions, garlic, and all the herbs to make my own salsa and spaghetti sauce every year. The sauces are great for food storage and also make great gifts for friends and family members.

With proper planning, preparation, and maintenance you could potentially save hundreds of dollars on food costs each year by growing your own ingredients for home canning!

Reuse Canning Supplies and Equipment

Canning jars, lids, and other supplies can be reused multiple times if they are taken care of properly. Invest in a few good pieces and they will last for years. To further maximize savings, reuse your canning equipment and supplies as much as possible by annually checking jars and lids for cracks, as well as bands for rust or a failure to hold the lid tightly in place.

It is essential to check your pressure canner’s parts yearly to ensure that they are in good working condition and that the canner is operating safely and efficiently. By putting in just a small amount of effort, you can make sure your existing supplies last another year.

You can pick up canning jars and canners at thrift stores and garage sales. 

Large-Batch Canning

Large-batch canning allows you to save time and money by preserving larger quantities at once. The greatest benefit of large-batch canning is not having to repeat the prepping, sterilizing, and timing involved with every batch throughout the season.

Furthermore, if you are using produce from your own home garden, it’s a great way to ensure that none of your harvest goes to waste. With the convenience of large-batch canning, maintaining your pantry with delectable canned veggies and fruit has never been easier!

Potential Problems with Home Canning

While home canning is an economical and sustainable way to preserve meat and produce, it does have potential risks if not done correctly. Improperly canned foods can cause botulism, a serious form of food poisoning that could result in a trip to the hospital or even death in extreme cases. Food spoilage can also occur if the jars are not properly processed and sealed, or if the food became contaminated before canning.

Additionally, using the incorrect method of canning – such as boiling water bath instead of pressure canning – could also lead to spoilage and health risks. Lastly, home canning is a labor-intensive and time-consuming process that requires attention to detail if you want your preserved goods to last throughout the year.

When canning, it is always best to stay informed and follow safety guidelines to ensure successful results. Overall, home canned foods can be a money-saving investment with great benefits if safely canned. With careful planning and preparation, you will have access to delicious and nutritious ingredients all year round!

Jars of canned food which are beautifully decorated - is canning worth it

Conclusion: Is Canning Worth It?

In conclusion, after your initial investment of purchasing equipment and supplies, you’ll have the ability to produce home-canned goods for your family for later use.

You can buy food when it’s on sale at the local grocery store, use your own produce from your garden, use the same supplies and equipment over and over, and make bigger batches of canned food. This enables you to save even more money.

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Canned jars of food with the Title, Home Canning Is It Worth It?

Canning is an attainable skill that anyone can learn, and money-saving satisfaction will come from knowing that your money has gone further by preserving seasonal ingredients and avoiding food waste. 

Home canning enables you to experience the self-satisfaction of being able to provide your family with nutritious ready-made meals that have a long shelf life. With the right preparation and resources, you can make this money-smart lifestyle a reality for yourself.

So, is canning worth it? Yes! Go ahead – give it a try!

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      1. Wonderfully detailed article, and great question, if it’s worth it. I like how you bring up buying when it’s on sale! Thank you for your inspiration!

      2. You do a fabulous job showcasing the benefits of canning. Although I’ve never canned my own food, it really seems like such a good way to save money and have a sense of accomplishment. Thank you for highlighting the process, too!

      3. Home canning is probably one of the most sustainable practices for saving money and the environment. I think the journey is worth it.

        1. Yes! Also, I love the fact that I know exactly what’s in that jar. No chemical concoctions, preservatives, fake colors, or flavors. Yup, the journey is so worth it, Kevin!

      4. This is really good information. We grow veggies and fruit and when it’s so much I want to be able to save and not waste. So thanks for the information canning.

      5. I love this article; it is very informative. My grandmother canned for years, yet I never knew there were two ways. She just did the water method, at least when I was around; maybe she thought it was easier and safer around us kids.

      6. Great ideas, and awesome information!
        I’ve thought about doing canning in the past. But unfortunately right now I don’t really have the space, the tools, or the opportunity to grow a garden.

        But, this is definitely on my plan for the future!

        Thanks so much for the advice!

      7. This is so helpful because I want to start canning but don’t know how and don’t have the equipment to seal it. Will check out that water bath method.

      8. I was brought up in a farming family where canning was routine. As an adult, I became spoiled to the convenience of store bought. Now, that I’m older. I’m wanting to get back to my roots and the naturalness of canning my own fresh food.

      9. I love the tips in this post for canning food. Groceries price rise is the biggest concern all around the globe and I guess it’s a good idea to effectively use canning food to save some money. Thanks for this awesome resource!

      10. My husband does some canning, onions, apple butter, and tomato sauce, but I’m not sure we plan to go any further. I don’t know if I’m ready to have lots of jars occupying my kitchen, lol. I’d like to try a few more in the future as the family grows.

        1. Yes, it makes it hard if you don’t have a lot of space, Tiffany. I have a basement and a large pantry where I keep my jarred foood.

      11. I would love to grow my garden. Is that your garden in the pictures? Fresh, whole produce right from the garden is heartwarming because your family can eat all the food you have cultivated and nurtured. It’s exciting!

        1. Yes, Tiffany, growing your own food is very exciting. It’s also a great opportunity to spend time in the sunshine and get vitamin D. It is hard work and it has problems to overcome or deal with. For instance, the garden that we have now at this place we moved to has some kind of ground critters. I couldn’t seem to even find out what they are, but their holes are everywhere and they ate bites in lots of my potatoes, carrots and beets. I still love gardening, but this year’s goal is to figure out what to do with these little monsters. No, that particular picture is not of my garden.

      12. I am very intrigued by the whole canning process. It’s something I’d really love to try and it definitely seems worth the time and effort. Thanks for sharing these great tips!

      13. This brings back memories of long ago. My mom taught me how to can and I enjoyed it so much. To this day. I only eat black eyed peas fresh from the garden or home canned.

      14. I have a couple of friends who regularly can and love the results with regards to money saved and flavor 🙂

      15. I’ve really wanting to try canning some chillies so this post is very helpful for me. Thank you for such detailed information 🙂

      16. I would love to start canning!! This is such a great informative post, I actually had no idea that there were two different methods. Thanks for all
        the helpful tips!

        1. You’re welcome, Andrea! Canning can seem a little confusing at first, but once you do it a few times, it gets so much easier.

      17. We use to do canning all the time. Especially our peaches since we grew so many. It saved us a lot and we had enough for a year.

        1. I used to do much more than I do now, but I always do apple sauce and chicken broth. I used to do green beans, meat, beets, carrots, salsa. I don’t have an amazing garden anymore so I don’t do as much canning.

      18. I love that you highlighted the idea of growing our own food in a garden to later make canned foods to eat. It’s brilliant to really save some money on food while eating well.

      19. This post was just what I needed after attempting a home garden last year. We put $200 into building it and got about $2 worth of vegetables from it. But if we grew enough to can, it might be worth it. Thanks for all the tips!

        1. It’s always hard to start a brand new garden, Merideth. Not only is it a great learning curve, but it takes time and effort toward making the soil rich enough to produce a good harvest.

      20. I’m a big believer in canning. If you find the right vegetables on sale at the store, or if you grow your own, canning is a great way to stock up and save a ton of money.

      21. This is such a well thought out article on the benefits of canning. I remember my mom canning many items from our garden – and how delicious everything was. I must try canning not just for the financial benefit but also for the health benefits.

        1. It’s a great way to stock up on food that isn’t contaminated with chemicals and toxins, Stephanie.

      22. My husband’s aunt cans and we always enjoy receiving some during the holidays. I enjoyed reading your post and learning more about the canning process and it’s benefits.

      23. My mother used to do a lot of canning. I think it was more popular in the past. I think she got worried about disease so stopped.

      24. Your post on home canning adventures resonated with me deeply. As someone interested in preserving food but unsure if it’s worth the effort, your insights were invaluable. Your thorough exploration of the process and its rewards has inspired me to give home canning a try. Thank you for shedding light on this rewarding journey!

      25. Canning would save a lot of space in my kitchen cupboards. I had concerns about safety, though, and I’m not glad to read that its safe.

        1. Oh it’s definitely safe, Sonia, as long as you follow good canning procedure and the correct method.

      26. Canning is something my aunt uses as well and she mentioned it does help with saving money. Also, good thing that it is reuseable as well.

      27. My grandmother was an avid canner. I have never tried it but I think it could be fun and of course, anything that offers savings is okay in my book.

      28. This is such a great informational post! I’ve been wanting to start Canning just wasn’t sure how to begin. I’m glad to be able to read your post. You gave me a lot of insight on how to start. Thank you.

      29. We do this too and indeed it does help us with saving money and keep the food good for a long period of time.

      30. I can really say that canning is important in household because it is for organizing and saving money also.

      31. I just recently started canning and it’s definitely a game-changer. I have noticed my food is always fresh and I have been saving money. This is such a great post!

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