sabato 22 marzo 2008

Canning Vegetables, Part I

You may wonder whether it is worth the trouble to can or preserve your own vegetables. After all, in our modern society we can pretty much get reasonably fresh vegetables at the supermarket or grocery store, year round, at approximately the same prices all year. So why bother, when you can just hop in your car and drive to the supermarket for what you need?

One good reason may be that prices are being pushed upwards by the gas prices. Higher gas prices = higher transportation costs to ship the veggies from where they are grown to your local town = higher priced food! Another reason, for me probably the predominant one, is that I plant an outdoor vegetable garden every spring, and inevitably, I end up with an overabundance of something. I also usually end up with an underabundance of something else! One year I may have tomatoes coming out my ears, and not enough peppers, another it can be the total opposite. No rhyme or reason, it seems, but it works this way each year.

So, to solve my dilemma, and not waste any of the wonderful fresh veggies I worked so very hard to cultivate in my own yard, I can the remaining vegetables at the end of the season. That way none of my precious vegetables are wasted and I can benefit from using them through the winter, without having to go to the supermarket to buy some overly priced “fresh” vegetables that may or may not have been grown using chemicals in a greenhouse somewhere. I give some of my jars away to friends and family and add some to gift baskets through the year. And, next summer, when my pepper plants have seen better days and I can’t get an edible pepper from it despite my best efforts, I simply raid my handy stash of last year’s canned peppers!

If I have convinced you that canning your own vegetables is worth a try, check back with us later this week for some tips on how to perfect the process on your very first try. Also don’t forget to pick up your copy of The Italian Kitchen, which will be available here or at, very soon!

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