Stocking up for canning and preserving

I would consider myself a novice when it comes to canning.  Although I have dabbled with it for a couple years, serious preservation didn't start taking place until last year after I received a pressure cooker for my birthday.

As many of you know, canning initially can be expensive.  From the pressure cooker, canning utensils, jars and lids, it can take a bite out of your pocket book.  Once you have those supplies, the cost goes down significantly.  The only reoccurring expenses are the jar lids, spices and vinegar needed for the recipes.  That and replacements for jars should you give any away.

Last year I found that during the canning season, the supplies for canning can be limited as EVERYONE seems to be buying the spices or herbs, salts to vinegar as soon as the land on the shelf.  So as the year progressed, I decided to stock up with the things I knew I would use.  This also helped me spread the cost of summer canning over an entire year.  By the time summer rolls around, I am set and have all of my ingredients handy when I need them.  No waiting next to the grocers shelf or late night visits to the store the day their delivery truck arrives.  Yes I have had to do that.

The main things that I stocked up on were

1. Canning Lids
2. Mustard Seed
3. Turmeric
4. Red Pepper flakes
5. Vinegar, both white and apple cider
6. Celery seed

I also bake a lot of breads and muffins out of the produce from my garden that I will freeze for later in the year. I will stock up on flour, sugar and other baking supplies for that purpose.  These items tend to be a permanent fixture on my counter tops during the summer.

Spreading this over a year allows me to watch ads and when items went on sale, I would pick them up at that time to save a little here and there.  Most of my recipes call for the above so that is what I would stock up on.  Once you can or preserve for a while, you will start to notice a trend in the herbs and other supplies your favorite recipes call for. 
5 Responses
  1. I have to stock up on canning lids and pectin or I wouldn't get any once canning season hits this town. Like you, I don't want to have to search for stuff for a recipe. Retailers here seem to think people don't can any more.

  2. Pectin, that is a good one as well. You would think that the retailers would realize that preserving is coming back full force and capitolize on it. They will learn eventually, I'm sure.

    Do you do a lot of jams? I haven't tried my hand a jam or jelly yet but would like to try. I am hoping to go berry picking this weekend so maybe instead of freezing I will try a couple recipes. Do you have any tried and true recipes?

  3. Laura Says:

    Its smart to buy that way. We tend to have regular 'stock' of bread flour, sugar ect at our house. I also try to pick them up during holiday times when they usually are marked down. Jam sounds lovely. I need to learn how to make it.

  4. meemsnyc Says:

    Question for you. Do you put your lids in the hot water bath during the sterilization phase? I've been doing that but... I read some people don't because it doesn't create a good seal.

  5. @Laura, the holiday time is a great time to stock up. They tend to have more sales.

    @meemsnyc I do have a seperate pot for the lids going during the sterilization phase. I only boil them for a few minutes. In all of my canning, I have only had a handful of jars that didn't seal. The only problem with that is that I had to enjoy the good stuff early. :) I would be interested to know though what does work best. I will have to investigate as well.

I would love to hear from you!