As we start working our way through spring and into summer, we need to start thinking about the best ways to preserve our harvests. There are many different ways to preserve your harvest and they are all great. If you follow the FDA and USDA guides, you’ll find that preserving your harvest may not be possible and freezing is your best bet. If you are a rebel, like myself, you may find that pressure canning is the saving grace to all that hard work. Regardless the question will eventually arise “should I can or freeze?” While the answer is totally up to you, I will give you my reasons why I choose to pressure can the majority of my garden harvest.
To Freeze or Pressure Can
Again, I am a rebel so I will can pretty much anything. There are certain things that I will absolutely pressure can vs waterbath. There are also things that I will freeze over can. The big one is meat. Canned meat just doesn’t suit our tastebuds. I have some and let’s just say, it’s not pretty. The ground beef taste like cat food looks. The chicken looks nasty and to be honest, I don’t know if I can bring myself to try it.
When it comes to why I don’t freeze a lot of vegetables or fruit comes down to texture and space. When you freeze a tomato, it becomes mush when you thaw it. Same way with peas, green beans, and most fruits.
Also while I do have two deep freezes, I would rather not keep the things that are can-able in there. When we buy a half or whole cow/hog, it takes up almost all that space. Same thing when we butcher our meat chickens. So wasting that space on things that are can-able just doesn’t make sense to me.
The other problem with freezing is that if your power goes out, your freezer will start to defrost. If your freezer fails, you will lose all that food. I would prefer to have it on my shelves, in a shelf stable form then to risk a freezer failure.
To Pressure Can Or Not To Pressure Can
The US is the only country that pressure cans, this includes Europe and other major countries. However, to make sure that your food is safely processed you should waterbath can for three hours at a rolling boil. That’s a long time, especially for something that takes 20 minutes in a pressure canner. So even if I could waterbath can something, doesn’t mean that I always will. Let’s not mention that after three hours, even the most stout veggie is mush.
I love my pressure canners. I have two and come summer, I am cranking out hundreds of cans a month. Everything from green beans and corn to beef stew and chicken noodle base. I could make batches and put it in the freezer, but like I said, that space is too valuable to “waste” with beef stew.
I have some wonderful shelves that Jared built me and they give me space to put up all my jars. Again, this allows me to get everything put up without sacrificing space in the freezer. I also take a ton of pride in looking at my shelves of canned goods and seeing all that hard work. It’s an amazing feeling to know that I can feed my family food that I made six months to eighteen months after canning.
You have to make the decision on whether canning is worth the effort for you. I love canning. Yes, it is more work. There’s prepping, cooking, packing, and processing. But it is also therapeutic and settles the stress of not knowing what is going with our supply chains.
Let me know which you prefer.
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