Canning and Preserving Produce From Your Garden: Is It Worth It?

Canning and preserving garden produce is worth it, providing self-sufficiency, especially in rural areas or during winter. It offers satisfaction and personalized food stocks, suitable for smaller families or as unique gifts. Despite the effort, it’s a rewarding way to utilize one’s garden fully.

It’s that time again. Planting the vegetable garden. 

Contents hide

And getting ready to do some canning and preserving. This time of year my husband gets the “fever” and cannot wait to get out there and get the garden worked up and planted.

And I love the idea that I can just run out to the garden and pick a mess of green beans and prepare them for the evening meal. Nothing like fresh green beans especially with new potatoes and bacon.

My mouth is watering at just the thought. My neighbor puts out a huge garden and does lots of canning and preserving.

But is canning and preserving the produce from your garden worth it? Let’s find out, shall we?

A Big Family

When my daughter was smaller and still at home I did do a lot of canning and preserving the produce from my garden. I live in a rural area and our local grocery store was a journey in itself.

Another disadvantage was the possibility of being snowed in during winter, so having the produce from the garden on my shelf or freezer was handy, to say the least. My mother-in-law also put out a huge garden and canned and froze everything out of the garden.

Of course, she had three kids to feed. She taught me most of what I know regarding the garden.

Before I was married I lived in the suburbs and knew nothing about gardening or canning. So yes in these instances it is worth it.

A Smaller Family

When my daughter grew up and moved out on her own, my garden became smaller so there were fewer vegetables to can and preserve. After all, it was just my husband and me.

Check out this post about our garden adventures. But there are a few things I like to have on hand.

Beets come to mind. Now my husband doesn’t like beets but I love pickled beets and I have to say I have not come across a jar of pickled beets as good as mine.:)

It is so handy to go to the cupboard and open up a jar of them when I have that craving. This year I am going to try and make bread and butter pickles.

It is a request from my daughter. Also by request, I am going to tackle tomato juice.

My husband loves tomato juice.  Myself, not so much.

I have made tomato juice but it’s been a while. I have been trying to get supplies in to do my canning and preserving.

I have plenty of jars and rings but I have found that the lids are hard to find.  My daughter also likes pickled beets and will come over for a jar or two.

I’m glad when I have them on hand. I also will make one mess of green beans just so that I will have them on the shelf if I need them.

So again yes I think it is worth it to can or preserve if not everything out of the garden but a select few for a rainy/snowy night.

Grocery Store Vs Canning and Preserving

Sure with Aldi’s and Save-a-lot you can buy canned goods pretty cheap. But if you are going to put out a garden you might as well save what you grow.

The vegetables I don’t can or preserve I give away to family and neighbors. Also, the produce you preserve would make excellent gifts.

Just fix up a basket with some of your home goods. You would be amazed at how appreciative the recipients are.

Also, you know what went into that jar of green beans or peas you preserved or canned. So yes it is worth it!

But It Is So Much Work!

Yes, it can be challenging and a lot of work to preserve your own vegetables, but it also depends on how much you preserve. If you are going “whole hog” and planting a huge garden and preserving it all, a good suggestion is having friends and family over and making it a party.

After all the work is done send them home with a couple of jars of the finished product. You are all having a good time visiting and everyone gets something out of the experience.

I can’t tell you how it makes me feel after I have “put away” several jars of pickled beets or a canner full of green beans. I give myself a pat on the back and tell myself “Good job”.

Books on Canning and Preserving

You can find all kinds of information regarding canning and freezing. Google it is one way, asking friends and neighbors is another, but I prefer to have a book or two on the subject also.

It is much easier for me to just reach into my book drawer pull out the book and the information is right there. You can find several books on the subject at Amazon. 

What You Need to Can/Preserve Your Produce

First, you need to decide if you are going to cold-pack (also known as a water bath) the vegetables or use a pressure canner. It is exactly as it sounds.

Uses pressure to can the vegetables. The pressure canner will come with instructions. 

I am not going to go into detail on how to can your vegetables. That would be another article/post by itself.

You will also need canning jars. They come in different sizes such as quart, pint, and jelly.

You will also need rings and lids. Usually, when you first buy jars, the lids and rings come with them.

You can reuse the rings and jars but you will need to buy lids each time you can anything, thereafter. There also many accessories for canning such as lifting tongs, funnels just to name a few.

My Final Thoughts

  • Canning and preserving garden produce can be cost-effective, similar to buying in bulk and freezing to save money over time.
  • It allows for year-round enjoyment of seasonal produce, like making tomato sauce in summer to use in winter recipes.
  • The process requires an initial investment in supplies and time, akin to starting a home vegetable garden.
  • Canning ensures control over ingredients and avoids additives found in store-bought preserved foods, much like making homemade bread versus buying it.
  • The effort and resources involved in canning should be weighed against the benefits of having home-preserved food, similar to considering the value of cooking meals at home versus dining out.

There are so many foods you can preserve for future use. I have blackberry bushes at the edge of my yard.

I have made blackberry jelly and have put several in the freezer for blackberry cobbler. In years past I have gone to our local orchard and bought peaches to put in the freezer and of course every year I can pickle beets and usually a few jars of green beans.

Although it might be cheaper to buy your canned goods at Aldi’s or Save-a-Lot you have the satisfaction of a job well done. And you know what you put in those jars.

They make great gifts for loved ones and friends. But  I will let you decide if it’s the right decision for you!

Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think. I am always interested in your comments and opinions.

FAQ about Canning and Preserving Produce

1. Is canning and preserving produce from your garden worth the effort?

  • Yes, it offers self-sufficiency, especially useful in rural areas or during winter months, providing satisfaction from using one’s own garden produce.
  • It can be particularly rewarding for larger families or as unique gifts, despite the effort involved.

2. What are the benefits of home canning and preserving compared to buying from the store?

  • Home canning allows you to know exactly what goes into your food, avoiding additives found in store-bought preserved foods.
  • It can be cost-effective and allows for year-round enjoyment of seasonal produce, creating a personalized stock of food.

3. What do you need to start canning and preserving your own produce?

  • Essential items include canning jars, rings, lids (which need to be bought new each time), and either a water bath or pressure canner.
  • Additional accessories like lifting tongs and funnels can also be helpful.

4. How can canning and preserving be made easier for beginners?

  • Starting with a good guide or book on canning and preserving can provide valuable information and confidence.
  • Engaging friends and family in the process can make it a more enjoyable and less daunting task.

2 thoughts on “Canning and Preserving Produce From Your Garden: Is It Worth It?”

  1. I had a nice stroll through your website, and I really learned a lot of information about a variety of topics. Infact, I reviewed your website before. I see you changed the color scheme and I like it more than the previous one.

    I especially like your section on canning and preserving. My sister is going to be gun ho about your web site. She loves to can and preserve.


Leave a Comment