How to Freeze and Can Your Food
Both of these methods work great for storing foods. Canning was used by many people for preserving food before they had fridges. Those that grew their fruit and vegetables also used it when they didn't have root cellars. Then, almost anywhere you looked, people were using these methods to keep their food. Many types of foods can be stored for a pretty long time this way.
Eventually, freezing fresh fruit and jam became popular. Companies even promoted freezing by making individual storage containers. Then came the freezer bags; Ziplock comes to mind. Now we have vacuum sealers for freezing food items. The reason I love the vacuum sealing method is that it takes up a lot less room in the freezer. It's by far my favorite. From my experience, it keeps freezer food the longest with the best taste result.
Now Pinterest seems to have revived the canning and freezing food movement once again. You can find a way to package and store almost any food. It isn't difficult to do, but it can be time-consuming. I have been canning and freezing my family's food for about 32 years now. It's so sweet to have a cold room in my home. My granddaughter is learning the process now. I'll pass all my knowledge down to her.
You will need these items for canning:
- Large canner
- Glass jars, rings, and lids
- Tea towel, Oven mitts
- Cooling rack
- Wooden spoon
- Measure cup and ladle or funnel
- Boiled eggs, whole, and veggies cleaned and cut up
- Vinegar, water, pickling spice and fresh dill
- For jams, use fruit and pectin and follow pkg directions. Instead of vinegar, spices, and water. Boil all ingredients on the stove in a saucepan. The same way you would, the liquid for pickling.
- For the peaches, you use a 1 to 4 ratio of sugar to water, boil on the stove. I make a light syrup. Add 1 tbsp of lemon juice to the mixture, it keeps the peaches from turning brown. If you want a heavier syrup, then add more sugar, to taste.
Be careful when canning with glass jars—they're really hot!
Make sure all your items are gathered and ready to go before you start. You won't have time to go looking for items once you start. All these items above can well and are my most common items to can.
The night before canning pickles, you need to soak them in water and pickling salt. This keeps the pickles crisp. Veggies for pickling go into the jars uncooked. If you are pickling eggs, they need to boil first. Then drop into cold water, peel, and put in jars. I boil a pickling vinegar and water mix an equal portion. For example, 4 cups vinegar to 4 cups water, if filling about 8 jars.
The amount of liquid I use depends on the numbers of jars I am filling. Make sure your liquid comes to a full rolling boil. After all, jars are filled with veggies and pickling spices, I then fill the jars with my liquid that was boiled on the stove. Remember not to fill past the first ring on the jars. Then set a lid and a ring on each jar. Screw on rings, but do not tighten.
You have to leave room for expansion during the sealing process in your canner. Place jars inside and put the lid on the canner and start the timer. It takes about 15 to 20 minutes for each batch. When using a canner, you need to add water to it first. About 4 to 5 inches in the bottom works for me. If you're doing a large batch, you will need to add more water to your canner partway through.
All your canning jars must be boiled or washed in the dishwasher to sterilize them, including the rings. Containers will be very hot! You will also need oven mitts and tongs for removing jars from the water bath. Place a towel on your counter or use a rack. As each batch is done, seal each jar tight and place it on the towel. Let them sit to cool. You will hear them snap down as they seal.
Do You Can Any Fruit or Veggies?
Crock Pot Chicken Soup
- 4 medium carrots, course chopped
- 1/2 large yellow onion, course chopped
- 1 cup peas or corn, whole
- 1-3 stocks celery, course chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, fine chopped
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 box chicken broth
- 1/2 cup wild rice, washed
- 1 tbsp 3 Italian Blend spice, dry
- 1/2 tbsp dried red onion
- 1/2 cup or 1 can mushrooms, optional, slices
- 1 to 2 chicken breast or leftovers, cooked course chopped
- 1 pkg cream of leek mix
- 1 tsp course salt and pepper
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 cup shredded cheese, add to each bowl
- Add olive oil to the pot first, turn on high. Add onion and garlic, All veggies, salt, and pepper. Blend till heated completely and veggies start to soften. Add broth and herbs. Mix and add 1 cup of water. Add chicken and rice.
- In 1/2 an hour, turn down to low and cook till about 1/2 an hour before done. Mix milk and leek in a bowl, whisk together. Now add the milk, leek mixture to the pot and whisk together and finish cooking.
- I made this to freeze for meals later. If you are freezing, don't add the cheese. My family likes the cheese sprinkled on top of their bowls. Let cool completely before putting in sealer bags for freezing. Now use a ladle or measuring cup with a spout and add the soup to the bag in the portions you want to serve at a meal.
- Follow the directions for your vacuum sealer and stand each one up against something while you finish sealing each one or set in a plastic freezer bin. This makes it easier to take to your freezer. For larger families, you can use a bigger crock pot and double the recipe.
- You can also use ziplock type freezer bags if you don't have a vacuum sealer.
We Use a Vacuum Sealer
We use a vacuum sealer to freeze our foods in, because they keep the food fresh longer. The sealer allows you to remove the air, add the food and seal the goodness in. The foods frozen this way last 2x as long as regular packaging. I reccomend you use a sealer before freezing any food. They are quick and easy to use. The loss of freezer burnt food will be no more.
When making freezer jam, don't overcook it. You want it to be bumpy, not smooth.
Freezer Jam Fruit Topping
To make freezer jam, I follow almost all the same steps as above for canning jam.
- First, clean and rinse all the fruit. I always use less sugar, making it a perfect topping for ice cream instead of a jam or a cooked fruit dessert. Making jam this way also makes it ideal for use as a filling.
- I used two peaches to every 1/2 cup of strawberries or blackberries. I use what is ready to pick at the time of canning and freezing.
- Cut the fruit into large chunks; they will reduce with cooking. Mix with sugar and pectin. Follow the pectin directions but use 1 cup less of sugar. Change the amount of fruit according to the number of bags you will be filling. This time I used a total of 8 peaches and 2 cups of strawberries. It filled about five freezer bags.
- Heat on the stove and bring to a boil. Let cool slightly and fill your freezer bags. Then, let them cool before you seal them with the vacuum sealer. These can stack in the deep freeze without taking up a lot of room.
Do You Eat Canned or Freezer Sealed Food?
Would You Eat More Fruit and Veggies If You Could Store Them?
For freezing veggies in freezer bags or a vacuum sealer, you will need to blanch them first. Blanching is a process of cooking in water or steaming. Only cook for 3 to 5 minutes. The reason is you are just softening them, not cooking all the way through.
What Vegetables Can You Blanch and Freeze?
Here is a list of the veggies I blanch before freezing in bags or vacuum sealing:
Fresh Noodles or Dried
For the chicken soup recipe, you can also use noodles if you don't want rice. You can make your own noodles and freeze them using the vacuum sealer. Cook separate from the chicken soup. My family prefers fresh, homemade. We make a large batch then freeze the leftover for other meals. You can also make the noodles you like and then add it to a soup that you take from the freezer. Just add them to the soup when you heat it back up. This is a wonderful meal in the wintertime. Using a vacumm sealer also works for freezer jam and dividing bulk packages of food and resealing them in family portion sizes.
Enjoy, Prepared With Love
It's really true food connects us all. Some use food as a reward for behavior. Some use it as a way to bring the family together. Some even use it as a way to show their family how much they love them. Others use it to make sure they get to see their friends. No matter what your reason is, food really does bring us all together.
Whether it's trying something new or sitting down to our own traditional foods. There is always a memory tied to a food. I bet reading this has already made you think of yours. Now get out your cookware and try them yourself. Then come back and tell me what you think. From my house to yours, now let's eat!
Note: If you have any questions just ask. I am happy to help you. If there is a step you think I missed, please let me know.
© 2017 Terrie Lynn