Convenience Canning

Clockwise from top left: Ham, black beans and split pea soup,
beef stew, beef cubes, plum jam, turkey, Alberta peaches,
home grown pears, corn relish;
Center: beef burgundy and beef strogonoff
I have started to look at canning as something of a hobby, not just a “get-out-of-my-way, I’m going to make a mess” sort of big project, under pressure because we have too much ready in the garden. I now can all year round – especially in the spring, after the holidays, but before it gets too hot. That’s when I can most of my “convenience” foods. If you are going to have a hobby, why not let it be one that saves money and is good for you.
Some of the convenience items we can are potatoes for frying, mashed, etc., canned turkey, ham, chicken, beef stroganoff, beef burgundy, beef stew, meatballs, split pea soup, navy bean soup, black beans (with onions, peppers and some kind of tomato base), canned soup vegetables (onion, carrot and celery and sometimes green beans), spaghetti sauce, extra broth, corn relish, bean salad, fruits, etc., etc.
To use my canned convenience items, I can combine a jar of meat, soup veggies, some extra broth and heat together with frozen homemade noodles, quick barley, or brown rice,  and have a variety of soups quickly. I can thicken the broth on meatballs, stew, chicken, beef burgundy or stroganoff and serve them with potatoes, noodles, rice, biscuits or cornbread, etc. etc. Beef and pork can be served with BBQ sauce in sandwiches. I heat the bean soups and serve with cornbread, biscuits, or  homemade bread. Chicken, turkey, ham, beef and beans can be used in many casserole recipes, pot pies, even cold salads or sandwich fillings too, any recipe that calls for cooked meat or beans. If I don't use the broth from the jar, I save it and add it to the next soup or gravy.
Canned fruit can be quickly made into crisps, cobblers, etc., besides serving with just a cookie for dessert. Keep a few jars in the refrigerator, always cold and ready to serve.  We love Elberta peaches for canning, you can only rarely buy these commercially canned; they are so flavorful compared to cling peaches. We wait for them to “come in” at our local grocery. Of course, canned vegetables are always easy to use, I especially like mixed combinations.
For summer canning, Myrna cans pickles, and we both put up relishes, jams, marmalades and jellies – the items that help ‘fill out’ a meal. We never turn down produce from folks who have too much – neither of us have big gardens anymore – but it’s surprising how much I still can.  We can any vegetables we grow or are given, like green beans, carrots, potatoes, and all kinds of tomato products.
The best thing about canned products is I don't need to thaw them to have a meal in minutes. My grown son calls me the "twenty-minute cook". When I was a kid I admired some farm wife friends of ours who could seem to wander into their kitchens and produce a meal for drop-in guests without much fuss, I just didn't realize then how much they relied on their canned goods to fill out a meal - including pickles, jams and jellies, and fruit "sauce".
We have a few examples of recipes to try using home-canned foods HERE.

9 comments:

  1. A friend of mine gave me a huge basket full of bean soups, vegetable soups, and peaches as a Christmas gift one year. I was so amazed but could never get with her to learn how to do it myself. My sister and I were looking for a recipe and came across your wonderful blog. We are going to be making your recipe for bean soup and are excited to do vegetable, tomato and just about everything else. Thank you for the great inspiration you are to us. We love your blog so much!

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  2. Perfect, this is exactly what I was wondering, how to make a meal with mostly cans. I do sometimes salads with corn, beans, tuna and a couple fresh ingredients, but i have a hard time figuring an entire menu from cans. Your recipes and ideas on how to actually serve it in a meal are really useful!
    I hope one day we can harvest enough to actually have something to can! :-D (right now it's all eaten fresh and in season, except cucumbers for pickles)

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  3. Great post! It is so easy to think about putting food in the freezer as more convenient, and that is what we usually do. But while you save a little time on the day you do it, then the thawing times makes it less convenient all year. I'm going to try more canning and less freezing.

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  4. Thanks for sharing! I'm in the process of learning to can convience foods. We canned alot of venison this winter - which was a first for me. Every year we try to make enough spaghetti sauce, salsa, jelly and jams to last the year. I can't wait to look around your blog some more.

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  5. Great ideas. I'll have to surf around your blog some more. I've been limited to things I could water bath can up 'til now, but my mom gave me a pressure canner for Christmas, and now that I'm past my daughter's wedding, I'll have to try canning some of the convenience items as soon as I'm done with what's currently in season.

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  6. Awesome! I am really looking forward to canning more this yrsar.....

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  7. Great Post. I have been trying to can for a few years now. This first year since my daughter was born having things canned has been a life saver. On those days when we just don't feel like doing dinner up big we can grab something in cans and still have a good dinner. A friend and I canned up some moose this fall and that has been my favorite thing to have so far.

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  8. nice blog. its nice to know with all the convience foods out there, that there are still people like me who like to save money. i have canned tomato's and want to learn more so that i can have foods on hand. next summer i plan on canning more. thank you for the really good recipes. i also like your tips too.

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  9. I want to move in with you.

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