Can you can? Tips for vegetable longevity.

As we head toward the end of summer and the hot weather garden crops arrive, roll up your sleeves and get canning! Canning is a process recommended to preserve the longevity of your garden vegetables and fruits, so they may be used during the cold winter months. It also fosters a sense of americana self-sufficiency, and acts as an industrious hobby with an end-product you may eat for months to come.

Canning is a food preservation process that’s over two centuries old. The art of preserving all kinds of animal and vegetable substances for several years , written by M.Appert in 1812 as part of a Napoleonic campaign to feed French troops, is considered the first comprehensive canning manual. In the United States, canning began to boom as a household practice in the twentieth century. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) particularly encouraged canning as a form of family economy and nutrition. During World War I and World War II, the USDA promoted canning as part of the war effort campaign. It was promoted as the patriotic duty of citizens in order to stave off food shortages, and to enable factory production and usage of large-scale resources to be directed toward the Wars.

If you’d like to read some advice about different canning processes, and observe how they changed overtime, please peruse June-September issues located in the Illinois Digital Newspaper Collection’s Farm Field and Fireside collection. The 1897 issue of the Farmers’ Review provides insight of jelly making and provides recipes you may peruse in how to use preserved fruits. Yum! Consult the Banker Farmer for in-depth instruction on the “cold pack” canning process, which was considered a safer, healthier preservation method at that time. Should these articles pique your interest and inspire you to can your own vegetables and fruits, please consult the up-to-date information provided by the Illinois Extension Office in the links below.

Modern Canning Safety Practices:

Illinois Cottage Food Operation Information

UIUC Extension Office Food Preservation and Canning Resources

UIUC Extension Office Canning Recommendations

UI Extension Food Preservation Resources