Oct 21, 2011

Canning without "Canning Season"

Summer is when everyone talks about canning. It's also the season most people do all their canning. But canning needn't end when autumn arrives. In fact, I really like canning when it's not "canning season." I find it more leisurely; I don't have to rush to get all that seasonal produce in jars before it goes bad. And whereas a water bath canner makes the kitchen hot in the summer, canning in the cool seasons is much more comfortable.

So with this in mind, let me offer some ideas on what to can in the fall and winter:

* Jams. I know, I know. Everyone cans jam like crazy in the spring and summer. But jam made with frozen produce turns out just as well, so I usually end up making what little bit of jam I can during the "off season." Bumbleberry Jam is one great choice; another is Apple Pie Jam. Rose Hip Jam and Orange Jelly are other possibilities.

* Soups. I cannot tell you what a blessing homemade, canned soup is in our house during the winter months. Our favorite is chicken soup, but there are a myriad of soups that are can-able. Pick up one of the Ball recipe books for plenty of recipes.

* Meats, Fish, and Poultry. Whether you're canning game, like elk and deer, or you simply want to store fish, poultry, and meat long term without using up freezer space, canning meat is a super-convenient food! Can hamburger, beef stew meat, pork and chicken chunks, and even tuna for quick meals. You'll find easy instructions here and here. (Hint: Try canning chicken first. You just chop it and put it in a jar; there's no need to add liquid. Then put it in the canner and walk away! How easy is that?)

* Stock. If you're like me, you use stock in a lot of dishes. But store bought cannot begin to touch home made. You can certainly freeze home made stock, but when I have time, I can it because I find it much more convenient. (No thawing!) For directions on making stock, click here.

* Beans. Dry beans are much healthier than store bought canned. (For more info on that idea, click here.) But for real convenience, I like to can those dry beans.

* Potatoes. Again, this is about convenience - and having home grown or locally grown potatoes that are shelf stable. You'll find instructions here.

* Squash. Winter squash and pumpkins last a while if you keep them cool and dry, but canning makes it last years. Learn how here.

Do you like to can in the fall and winter? What are you favorite things to can in the cool season?


  1. Kristina, this is fabulous. I never thought to can squash or use frozen fruits for canning. I like to can apple butter but we go through it like crazy so I never seem to have enough! While my in-laws can and have sent us more jam than I can use in a year, you've got me thinking about some of the other things I can can...especially that apple pie jam...will have to look into that one! Maybe good for some teacher gifts :D

  2. I'm glad it gave you some new ideas, Jenn!

  3. I also love canning in the fall. Down here in Florida, the AC cannot keep the kitchen cool when I'm canning in the summer (outdoor kitchen is on my wish list!).
    We went to the farmer's market this week. So far, I've canned winter squash (for baby food - expecting in 1 month), tomatoes, and chicken stock. We use SO much chicken stock.
    Today is apple sauce day, and Monday and Tuesday will be sweet potato days! Some for baby food, and some to add to roast chicken with onions. Yummy!

  4. Lainie, we use a ton of chicken stock, too. Sounds like you are a busy canner. Good for you! And congrats on the baby!!