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I want to admit I’m a ‘new canner’ I have only been home canning food for about 4 years. My family didn’t can food growing up, so I’ve learned from other people and reading books and online. It was daunting let me tell you! But I have found that you can save some real money once you get going and it has kept me going.
Home Canning Recipes That Save You Money!
Don’t get me wrong I have had some flops (the first time I tried to make pie filling) but in general, I’ve done pretty well! Now I want to share with you the savings you can have from canning.
Start Up Costs, Are They Worth It?
Many people say canning doesn’t save money after you buy all the supplies and the canner and jars and pectin if needed. Well, jars can be reused. Yes, you will buy lids each time, but I get mine at my store for $4 for 12 lids. You can find many of the jars in thrift stores take them home wash them buy lids, and you can save even more that way.
Can you save money without growing a garden?
Another common excuse I hear is that unless you are growing you own garden canning simply isn’t worth it. The cost of fruit and veggies is just too high to add in canning. Before I started canning, I made batches of freezer jam every spring. There is no significant difference other than the jars go in the freezer instead of being proceeded then to the pantry. I took the time one year to see if I was saving any money. Here are my results with 2 different batches.
First I made blueberry jam. I bought the blueberries on sale at the lowest point for my area, which was a BOGO deal I got 2 pints for $3.99. I used about $2.25 in pectin for the jam. My total cost was $6.24, and I got the equivalent to 3 – 12oz jars. Since this is a specialty jam in my local stores, the store cost for blueberry jam is about $3.39 a jar so it would have cost me $10.17 for 3 jars at the store over my $6.24, a savings of $3.93. Now at this time I had only made 3 jars had I done more my saving would be more. Being we eat a lot of jam on toast, English Muffins and such it’s a decent savings.
Then I made a batch of Strawberry freezer jam. We picked the strawberries at a local farm we paid $7.50 for the strawberries and used about $4.50 of pectin for a cost of $12 since I reuse the jars. I got 6 jars, and since the average jar is about $3.39 I saved $9 on this batch.
This is a total savings of $12.93 for the 2 batches that took me a little over an hour to do. So it's like I was making $12.93 an hour not bad in my book!
What other items can you can then the usual jams?
We can tomato sauce. It costs me about $9.15 for 12 quarts to can. At the store, I get the jars that are not quite a quart for $1 on sale. So we save an average of $3 per batch I make. More if I can get the tomatoes free from friends, family, and neighbors like I do a few times a year.
Canning applesauce. My kids go through it like crazy, and we use it in many recipes throughout the year. It costs me just under $1 a quart to can apple sauce when I pick apples with my family in the fall. It will cost me $1.50 for the same size in stores so when I sit down in the fall and can 24 quarts or more I save $12 or more!
Canning BBQ Sauce. I have started making my own BBQ sauce and canning it as well. I have found I have saved about $9 a batch with this.
So far my savings just on those 5 items is $36.93 for just one batch of each. We normally do 2 batches of each jam for a savings of $25.86. We then will make at least 4 batches of applesauce. I wasn’t joking about using a lot of it! We will also end up doing 5 batches or more of tomato sauce a year. I will make 4-5 batches of BBQ sauce each year as well.
That’s a savings of $124.86 a year just on those 5 items. Each year I add in more, I am working on doing pie fillings and pumpkin and apple pie jam Apple butter, salsa and more veggies! You can also can meat, veggies, fruits and more!
So for our family, the savings is worth it. The way I look at it, that is just shy of one of our car payments each year. If I can get the tomatoes free to can with then, the savings WILL make that car payment.
How do you get started?
Have I convinced you to start home canning now? My Canning 101 post will have the info you need to get started.
The basics you need to get canning are as follows.
The next thing you need is the most obvious, Mason Jars and Mason Jar Lids! These can be found everywhere and during ‘Canning Season' (spring and summer) even at your local grocery store! Watch for coupons too. You can also fine the jars at thrift stores and just buy lids new.
The last thing you need (besides the food to can!) is Pectin. Now the type of Pectin you need will vary based on what you’re canning and how your canning it. Jam takes a certain type of pectin but then there is pectin for low or no sugar jams too. Also not everything you can will need pectin. But the things I make most do so I keep some on hand.
It's also great to have a few home canning books on hand for recipes and how to's! Here are a few of my favorites:
- Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving – My Mother in Law gave me this one, and it's been a HUGE help!
- Canning and Preserving For Dummies
- Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year-Round
- Better Homes and Gardens Can It!