People ask me why I can. Well first of all my mother did not can. I was not exposed to it until I moved to Florida and my mother-in-law canned sweet pickles. About 10 years ago, we had access to guavas and my mother-in-law asked if we could try canning some jam and jelly. I was at the time, also a member of the local Ruskin Woman’s Club and they also canned strawberry jam and watermelon pickles. I decided… well why not, let’s try it. I loved it, thought it was just very cool to see your jars filled with such yumminess. So I was hooked! I hope I can get some of my friends hooked also.
You CAN do it too!
People have been preserving food since our very first days. Early techniques included drying, smoking, fermentation and packing in fat (a method we know these days as confit). Later came vinegar pickles, jams (often sealed with wax or more fat) and suspension in alcohol. Still, none of these approaches led to reliably preserved foods. There was always some risk of spoilage.
In the late 1700s, Napoleon Bonaparte was looking for a way to dependably preserve food for his troops and so offered a cash prize to anyone who could produce a better method. After much experimentation, a French cook named Nicolas Appert discovered the packing, heating and sealing technique that essentially what we use today.
Home canning has been popular in the U.S. since the late 1850s, when John L. Mason invented the first reusable jar with a screw-on lid. Canning technology gradually improved and in 1915, Alexander H. Kerr developed the two-part canning lid that we still use today.
Tell us what you’re canning in the comments below.