There's other reasons I love canning, though. One is that it ties me to my roots; every time I can, I'm reminded of the great canning parties the ladies in my family would have, and the stories my mom would tell me of when her 11 brothers and sisters would help grandma put up food for the winter. Another reason I love it is because it's pretty darn frugal. My jams, even though they're almost all fruit with very little sweetener, cost roughly $1 for an 8 oz jar. The salsa I made today cost around $1.35 for a 16 oz jar. The pears I'll be canning? They're completely free, because I'll be picking the pears from Chad's mom's yard as well as our elderly neighbor's yard.
But the reason I most love canning is because I know exactly what's going into my food. I know my strawberry jam is made with organically grown berries from my own back yard, lemon juice, pectin, and some sweetener. There's no funky ingredients with names so long and complicated that you can't pronounce them. I know the pears I'll be canning are pesticide free. That the peppers and onions I used in my salsa are locally grown. And that there's love in every single jar.
Chad and I started out this low carb journey over a year ago, and it kind of surprises me when I think back to those times and how much we've changed since then. We were still eating store bought condiments and salad dressing, eating vegetarian meats (like soy burgers and seitan), using soy flour to make low carb baked goods, using vegetable oils, eating canned soups, and using chemical laden seasoning packets.
It took us a while, but we gradually, little by little, converted our way of eating from a low-carb version of the SAD diet to a more primal lifestyle. And over that time, knowing exactly what's in my food has become more and more important. That's probably why I have a personal goal this year to fill up a metal cabinet where I keep my canned goods.
|This is without the salsa, which is cooling on the counter :)|
As you can see, I still have a ways to go! But with the salsa and pears, as well as some applesauce, taco sauce, and pickles I plan on making yet, I think I should be able to reach my goal.
If you're interested in canning salsa, the recipe I used was from this PDF (page 10, the recipe titled "Tomato/Tomato Paste Salsa II") from the University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension. I chose that one because it looked easy, it made a goodly quantity (I got 11 pints), and coming from a university, I knew it was a tested recipe. Also, I liked that in an earlier part of the PDF, it tells you that you can use any kind of pepper as long as you use the exact amount called for. So I substituted bell peppers for the hot peppers, being totally anti-spicy foods. It came out delicious, too, so I'll continue using this recipe!