You spent all that time working on your garden and you have too much. You have given some out to neighbors and family, but what to do with the leftover food? It would be a shame to let to go to waste. Home canning is an excellent way to make use of your garden abundance or the delicious fresh Famer’s Market offerings around the Chesapeake.

Don’t think of it as only something your mom or grandma did to save money. The possibilities are endless, and the results delicious. From jams to salsas, to pickles and spaghetti sauce, the hardest part is deciding what to make! So, grab a couple of your best friends, gather your ingredients, pick up the supplies, and start cooking. Also, makes a great family activity or ladies’ night!

Home Canning Basics

1. Buy the Supplies

First things first, you need to the tools to get started. You may or may not be surprised to know that your Cape Ace has the home canning supplies you need to get started.

  • Plastic or stainless steel canning funnel
  • Stainless steel ladle
  • Canning jar lifter with rubber grips
  • Pair of kitchen tongs
  • Magnetic lid lifter and bubble remover
  • Large pot with a canning rack or a Canner
  • Sturdy kitchen towels
  • Food Strainer or Food Mill

You also want to pick up mason jars. Since these are very trendy again, they are easy to find and relatively cheap.

2. Gather the Ingredients

If you have specific foods in your garden, we recommend looking up recipes from the following site, Fresh PreservingAll RecipesSimply, and The Food Network to get started. They have step by step instructions. Go through and gather ideas for what you would like to cook first.

If you don’t have a garden or not all the ingredients you need, scope out your local Farmer’s Markets and produce stands. You can stop by The Amish Market in the Harbour Center or Diehl’s Produce in Eastport Shopping Center. You may be surprised by the abundance and the superior quality of what you find. Buying right from the grower is a special treat, and they take pride in their product. Therefore, they have extensive knowledge about the subtleties of their goods. Pick their brains they love sharing!

3. Delegate the Duties

Like we said before, this is a great group activity. Grab some friends or family and assign everyone in the group a particular duty; it will make the task not only more fun but super efficient. Find out who will:

  • wash and peel the produce
  • prepare and chop
  • cook the recipe
  • fill the jars

There are plenty of jobs for everyone, even taste testing! To find more information on food preservation and the different processes, click here! You will find step by step directions and answers to all you questions about home canning. If you are ready to start, come into Cape Ace Hardware and pick up your home canning tools. We have plenty of jars in stock, plus other tools you need. Another reason why your Cape Ace is The Place!