I canned some more pears today. I did some several days ago and one more batch today. They're not my favorite fruit to can because they turn brown so easily and are very time consuming to peel and core. Besides, these pears are a small variety so it took 10 or so to fill a quart jar, but my uncle asked us to please pick and take what was left after the deer and bear had already been pilfering his tress. They're really sweet and juicy and I didn't want them to go to waste. I didn't have any citric acid or anything to keep them from browning so I worked fast. Also, I decided to add cinnamon and cloves to this batch. The ones on the left have the spices. The ones on the right are just canned with a light honey syrup. They're going to be really good this winter when the fresh fruit is gone.
Canning is a great way to be more self-reliant, and save money. When the food is available you can it. Then you've got something good to eat when there might not be anything available later, or when money is tight. If you live in a rural area where there are fruit trees and gardens, there is almost always someone with more of something than they can use. Neighborhoods often have homes with fruit trees hiding in the backyards and fruit falling to the ground. You may be surprised at what you'll find if you start asking around. My sister has noticed fruit falling off trees in someone's yard and stopped to inquire. The homeowners have been thrilled and asked her to PLEASE come and get the fruit. They feel terrible about it going to waste and are unable to take care of it themselves, or have more than they can use. Putting a $5 ad in the classifieds asking if anyone has more fruit or garden produce than they can use, could put a lot of jars of good food in your pantry to eat throughout the next year.
Water bath canning is not difficult, it just takes some time, but a skill well worth having. The canners are not real expensive and if you like garage saleing, just keep an eye out and you'll probably come across one sooner or later. I save all our jars that can be used to can in. If the lid and ring fit it, you can probably can in it. Fruit jars from the store, Mayonnaise and Miracle Whip jars, some salsa jars, and whatever will work. It's pretty easy to stay stocked up since the jars can be used indefinately - as long as they don't get any chips on the rim. The rings can be used over and over and kept from rusting if you clean them right when you are done and dry them off. The only thing you have to replace is the lids. They go on sale at the grocery stores every fall and you can stock up with extras. They're usually between $2 - $4 a dozen and come in both narrow mouth and wide mouth. It's also a great help to pick up a Canning Kit in the fall when the stores are carrying canning supplies. It has a jar lifter, a funnel, a magnetic lid grabber and a couple of other handy items. Get yourself a basic canning book, and you're on your way!