A great portion of my emergency food preparedness plans relies on my pressure canner. I can everything! Of course, I have to keep doing it because we also eat what I can . . . and that is because I hate to cook! I like the convenience of open and heat, but doing it the store-bought way is expensive and full of unhealthy preservatives. So I make my own convenience food, which also will come in handy should we be without power for any length of time.
I absolutely, without a doubt, recommend the All American Canner. I use it all year long~ If you have or are anticipating a very large family, I would get the really big one – it holds 2 layers of 7 quart jars! The regular size holds 7 quart jars, or stacks 15 pint jars. The canner is expensive, but it is a one-time purchase! It uses a metal-to-metal seal, so there is no rubber gasket to go bad or cause explosive accidents.
I have never, ever purchased a canning jar new. They are usually available at yard sales and auctions. Or better yet, just ask your elderly neighbor if they have any in their attic or basement. I betcha they do! If I had a choice, I would always choose wide mouth jars. They are simply easier to get stuff out of, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with small mouth jars. I certainly would not pass up a good deal on small mouth in order to pay full price for wide mouth! Check for nicks or chips on the edge of the jar before you buy it.
You will want quart jars for things like main entrees, vegetables and fruits. You will want pint jars for jams and jellies, smaller lunch portions of an entree and ground meat. A pint jar holds approximately one pound of ground meat. You will want half-pint jars for jams and jellies, gifts, ground meat and candles. A half-pint jar of ground meat is perfect for one pizza!
Rings and Lids
Rings will be used over and over. Again, I have never bought any new. Look at yard sales, auctions and grandma’s basement. Lids can only be used one time, unless you invest in reusable lids, which is on my list of things to do when I get extra money! LOL!! (By the way – you DO NOT have to cook meat before you can it!)
Think ahead about where to put your jars after canning. The optimal storage environment is in a conditioned air space – inside the house, or in a cool spot like a basement or cellar. A hot garage or storage shed, or an attic, will work, but will significantly shorten the shelf life.
Build or buy shelves, or get creative by stacking cases into an end table. Stack two cases of filled quart jars and cover with a table cloth. Place cases of canned food under beds or in cupboards that are not currently being used for anything else. Be creative. You will be glad you went to the effort if you encounter a week-long power outage!
See other canning resources that might be helpful for you.