Most people forget that you can easily make some tasty concoctions right in your own kitchen thanks to canning and preserving foods in jars. There’s nothing better than cracking open a fresh jar of homemade strawberry jam or slicing pickles you pickled yourself. Canning can seem daunting at first, and you might be afraid to branch out into different foods, but worry not! Here are seven easy foods to can at home in your kitchen. If you need help canning, you should check out our guide on how to easily can food at home.
Pickled Red Onions
Pickled red onions are one of the best foods to can at home. They’re an easy way to spruce up any sort of burger, taco, or sandwich, and they can be done very easily with minimal ingredients. You’ll just need some thinly sliced red onion, white vinegar or cider vinegar, and some seasonings like sugar, pickling salt, and celery seed.
Combine the vinegar, some water, sugar, and pickling salt in a pan. Heat it until the sugar and salt have dissolved throughout. Bring it to a boil, and add your thinly sliced red onions until they’re soft. Cut the heat immediately and use tongs to add the onions to your jars.
Pour the vinegar mixture over top and sprinkle your seasonings in. Place the jars in a boiling water bath for ten minutes and then let them sit as described in our guide. You can either use them immediately or let them sit and marinate for a few weeks. They’ll keep for at least a year if stored properly.
Homemade tomato sauce is always a hit and is one of the easier foods to can at home. Most people either use store-bought jarred sauces or make their own in small batches to use right away, but you can also make it in bulk for use throughout the year. You’ll need a lot more tomatoes than your date night chicken parm recipe calls for, but by the end of it, you’ll have jars of high-quality homemade tomato sauce.
It’s a little harder to eyeball a bulk recipe like this, so we suggest following a recipe specifically for canning tomato sauce using the water bath method. Tomato sauce also does have the possibility of going bad if you don’t add the right amount of citric acid. Tomatoes are acidic but not acidic enough for the water bath canning method.
If you’re interested in making your own tomato sauce, we suggest checking out this recipe over here for a tasty, delectable tomato sauce.
Kimchi is the name of a Korean dish made up of fermented vegetables but is commonly made using a type of Asian cabbage. You can easily make this fermented side dish at home and eat it by itself, as a rice topping, or in soups. People often use napa cabbage to make kimchi, but you may know it as Chinese cabbage.
You can find Chinese cabbage at most stores, and it’s easy enough to make with spices in your cupboard. For a more authentic Chinese cabbage kimchi, you might want to head to your local Asian grocery store and pick up some Korean spices like gochugaru or add some Korean radishes to your kimchi recipe.
With spring around the corner, now is the time to start planning your garden if you have one. Strawberries don’t grow everywhere, but there is sure to be a berry you can plant and harvest to make homemade jam this year. Strawberry jam is an excellent way to spruce up your peanut butter sandwiches, English muffins, and other tasty snacks.
Strawberry jam canned and preserved using the boiling water bath method is stable enough to last for a year or more on your shelf. It’s a little more work-intensive than some of the other items on this list, but boy, is it worth it. Jams and jellies are some of the best foods to can at home and you’ve got to give it a try.
Crunchy Dill Pickles
Is it a list of foods to can at home if there aren’t pickles on it? With some pickling cucumbers, salt, and spices, you can have your very own crunchy dill pickles. Add some mustard seed, cloves of garlic, peppercorns, and dill seed to jars. Combine sugar, salt, and vinegar in a pot and bring it to a boil.
Once it’s boiling and everything has dissolved, add your pickles to their jars and cover them in the brine solution. Seal the jars and heat them in a water bath for about ten minutes. Let the jars rest overnight, and you’ve got yourself some dill pickles for your next sandwich or snack!
Sweet Canned Peaches
Instead of buying water-soaked peaches in those fruit cups from Dole, make your own sweet canned peaches at home. These go great in a peach cobbler with some vanilla ice cream— a perfect summer dessert to start prepping for now.
Like tomato sauce, this recipe requires some additional acid to avoid the peaches going bad, so we suggest following a recipe to the tee, like this one here. You can still use the water bath method to preserve your peaches, but you just have to be a little more careful about it to avoid getting sick.
How Long Do Water Bath Canned Foods Last?
This depends on a few different factors, but if stored properly, most home canned products can last anywhere from 1-2 years, but it’s not uncommon for items to still be good for up to five years. Your canned goods might change in color or taste different, but properly canned food is typically still good to eat years later.
You might also notice a loss in nutritional value and a dulled taste if your canned food sits on a shelf for too long. This is basically unavoidable, which is why you should eat your canned foods within a year if you want to taste the full flavor of your hard work.
How Should You Store Homemade Canned Foods?
Once you’ve jarred something up at home, you have to be careful about how you store it. It’s still food, and it can go bad if stored improperly. Avoid storing your jars in areas with lots of sunlight, humidity, or high temperatures. Places like a basement are perfect if they’re mostly dry and never dip below freezing.
Avoid using any canned food that has cracks on the exterior, a popped seal, or smells off. You should also look for any growths, as this is a sign that the jars weren’t heated high enough or long enough to kill bacteria.