Canning, an art from the past

In the old days, food was not as readily available as today. We’ve come a long way with grocery stores seemingly on every corner. It’s hard to imagine how our great-grandparents and those that came before them survived without such conveniences. Imagine having to hunt or gather your food daily just to keep a healthy supply. We have come a long way in a short time.

I remember my Dad telling me about his childhood and the icebox they had. Refrigerators without electricity were common and required a large block of ice to keep food cold. Of course, a ride to town to pick up the ice was required unless delivery was offered.  For those living in rural areas that type of convenience was not always available.  The freon-cooled refrigerator was introduced in the 1920s but it would be the 40s before they were commonplace in households. Just 100 years ago life was very different.

In the early 1800s, a Frenchman named Nicholas Appert came up with the idea of sealing food in jars with a cork and heating it to high temperatures. He found that food could be stored for long periods to use later. It wasn’t long before others came up with the idea of using sealed tin cans and an industry was formed. I’m guessing the term canning comes from the practice of preserving food in tin cans. Of course, today food canned in metal is common on grocer’s shelves, and a good way to purchase food for long periods. While convenient, canning foods yourself gives you control over the ingredients and quality of your food. It also gives you the opportunity to eliminate certain food preservatives.

A young women admires a full pantry of canned goods. Photo source: Smather’s Archives. from IFAS Communications

The homeowner doesn’t usually have the means to seal food in cans so the jar is the tool of choice. The process, though easily done in your kitchen, must be done the proper way. A mistake could be costly and getting it right, is of the utmost importance. At UF/IFAS Extension in Highlands County, we are offering a class on canning and preserving that will do just that. We have a Certified expert coming on February 11th for a two-hour introduction to home canning. You’ll only need to bring yourself and something to write with and we’ll do the rest. Class registration should be done in advance by clicking here

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david austin
Posted: February 2, 2023

Category: Events, Food Safety, Fruits & Vegetables, Horticulture, UF/IFAS Extension, UF/IFAS Teaching,
Tags: Agriculture, Gardening, Highlands County, Highlands Horticulture Digest, Hometown Gardener, Master Gardener Volunteers, Tomatoes, UF/IFAS Extension, Vegetables

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