When most people think of canning, they vaguely remember it as something their grandmothers or great grandmothers did. But with the dawn of the convenience-food age came all sorts of jarred and canned foods available in abundance at the grocery store. Canning quickly fell out of fashion. Who had the time to make homemade preserves or can jars of pickles, veggies, fruits, and tomato sauces? More importantly, why bother with so many choices available?
However, in the past few years, more people are seeking out healthier alternatives to these so-called convenience foods. They’re running from the BPA in the linings of canned foods , and ingredients added to allow unnaturally long shelf lives. (If it can outlive you, you should you really be eating it?)
There is definitely a renewed interest in returning to old-school, healthy, home cooking. The problem, however, is time: this type of meal preparation can take hours, and it’s very difficult with most people’s modern-day schedules.
One appliance currently enjoying a surge in popularity can help: the pressure cooker. While normally used to put healthy meals on the table in a fraction of the time they would take in a slow cooker or stove, pressure cookers can also be used for canning!
That’s right: pressure cookers aren’t limited to roasts and chops. You can also make jams, spaghetti sauce, and a host of other items in a simple pressure cooker. It’s much easier than the boiling water method of yesteryear, and some of today’s devices, like the Power Pressure Cooker, even have canning settings to make the process even easier.
A quick search of “canning with pressure cookers” yields all kinds of information on what to look for in a pressure cooker and how to use one for canning. One recipe calls simply for fruit, a little bit of pectin, sugar and lemon juice. You simply place the fruit, pectin and sugar into a pressure cooker, let it boil, then pour it into your canning jars. Next, put the jars in the clean inner pot of your pressure cooker, select the “canning” setting and adjust the timer for 20 minutes. Fresh, homemade jam made in about half an hour - what could be simpler?
Next time you’re tempted to buy canned goods at the store, think about making your own, healthier versions at home in your pressure cooker instead. It will save you money and provide tastier versions of your favorite foods – without the chemicals and additives that you don’t need in your diet.
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