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The Taste of Summer All Year Long

August 8, 2019

What’s better than the taste of fresh summer fruit and veggies? The taste of summer in the cold, wet winter. That’s where the art of canning and preserving is welcomed craft.

Canning 101

Canning, it’s not just happening in Gramma’s kitchen, everyone is getting into the game! One of the main reasons canning is making a comeback is the popularity of farm to table and supporting local.

What is canning? It is a method of preserving food in airtight containers that can be stored at room temperature.

Let’s do this! There are two ways to can your produce: the boiling-water method and the pressure-canning method.  Both methods work basically the same way. The ingredients are prepared and put into jars with special lids that allow steam to escape. The jars are heated and as they cool, the food contracts and creates an airtight seal that preserves the contents for up to a year.

The boiling-water method is easy for beginners as the equipment investment is low and is suitable for acidic foods such as jams and jellies, salsas, tomatoes, and vegetables that have been made more acidic with the addition of vinegar, lemon juice, or citric acid.

Pressure canning is for low-acid foods, which includes most vegetables and meats. This requires an investment in a special pressure-canning appliance that can be heated to a higher temperature to keep bacteria at bay.

What You’ll Need

  • Canning jars with two-part lids—a flat lid with a rubberized gasket and a ring to hold it in place.
  • A stock pot at least 3 inches taller than your jars
  • Canning tongs for lifting jars out of the boiling water
  • Canning rack to raise jars off the bottom of the pot
  • Wide-mouth funnel to make filling jars easy
  • Bubble tool to release trapped air in the jars- a plastic spoon or knife works perfectly!
  • Labels! Make sure you label each jar with the product, date and even the portion size. Labeling your jars also makes gift giving easy.

What To Can?

Think about all your summer faves. Succulent fruits like peaches and tomatoes or tasty veggies like cucumbers and green beans. Summer corn can be frozen and canned at a later date. Make sure to choose a recipe from a trusted, current source. For the best results, follow the recipe to the letter! Changing or tweaking can lead to bacteria growth. Here are some great options to get you started:

Peaches

Peaches are a great source of vitamins A and C.

You can buy two main varieties of peaches: clingstone and freestone. It is harder to remove the flesh from the pit on a clingstone peach.

The flesh of a peach should have a slight give, but use your whole hand vs. fingertips to check.

A large peach has fewer than 70 calories and contains 3 grams of fiber.

The peach is a member of the rose family and is a close relative of almonds.

Tomatoes

Technically tomatoes are a fruit, but they are most often eaten and prepared like a vegetable.

Tomatoes are the major dietary source of the antioxidant lycopene, which has been linked to many health benefits, including reduced risk of heart disease and cancer.

They are also a great source of vitamin C, potassium, folate, and vitamin K.

Usually red when mature, tomatoes can also come in a variety of colours, including yellow, orange, green, and purple.

Asparagus

Asparagus is a member of the lily family.

This popular vegetable comes in a variety of colors, including green, white and purple. It’s used in dishes around the world, including frittatas, pastas and stir-fries.

Asparagus is also low in calories and packed with essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

Peas and Carrots

One cup of raw peas has 117 calories, 1 cup of sliced, raw carrots has just 50 calories and both have barely a trace of fat. The carrots have 1 gram of protein, but peas provide 8 grams. Together they deliver 16 percent of the recommended daily intake of protein for men and 19 percent for women.

Berries

Berries contain antioxidants, which help keep free radicals under control.

Berries contain fiber, which may increase feelings of fullness, as well as reduce appetite and the number of calories your body absorbs from mixed meals.

Berries are low in calories yet rich in several vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin C and manganese.

You’ll love these summer peach recipes this winter!

Grilled Chicken with Peach Salsa & Basil Feta Rice

Peach, Prosciutto and Mozzarella Salad

Fresh Peach Crumb Bars