So you’ve grown your garden and raised your chickens or cattle. Your herbs are ready to dry as are your beans and peppers. The question now is what are you going to do with it all? You have a ton of work ahead of you and having the proper tools is imperative.
If you want to build your stockpile and preserve all of the food that you’ve worked so hard on, you’re going to need some basic items for prepping your food at home.
One of the best ways to preserve food long-term is to can it. If you’re planning to can low-acid foods such as meat, dairy and most vegetables except for tomatoes, you need to do one of two things.
You need to either pickle these foods with vinegar or some other high-acid product or use a pressure canner to kill the botulinum bacteria in the food. Here is a list of items that you’ll need to can all of your foods:
Pressure canner – we recommend buying one of these because you can use it for both pressure canning and water-bath canning. It’s just a matter of using the lid or not.
Jar lifter – You absolutely must have these if you’re going to can your foods safely. You’ll use them to remove the jars from the hot water.
Jars – These come in a variety of sizes including half-pint, pint, quart and gallon. Using gallon jars is pretty rare though. Typically half-pint jars are used for jams, jellies, butter and preserves while pints and quarts are used for canning meats, fruits and vegetables. You can find these at most super stores or farm supply stores and they don’t cost very much.
Yard sales are another great place to find jars. Just make sure that if you buy them used, they have no chips or cracks.
Lids – Until recently, the only option that was available in canning lids was the single-use lids that had the rubber seal. Now there are a few different brands of reusable lids that can be used over and over again.
If you’re used to canning with standard disposable lids, you need to know that the reusable ones aren’t used in quite the same way. Just follow the instructions. The reusable ones are the ones that we recommend because if SHTF, you don’t want to run out of lids. (continue reading)