Does anyone on here have any thoughts on canning fruits and vegetables for the winter? In my attempt to become more self sufficient and not rely on the grocery store, I would like to preserve as much of my own veggies that I have grown or bought bulk from local organic farms. Is there a large nutrient loss in the canning process? Does anyone have any books they might suggest for canning/preserving? I'm sorry if this isn't exactly a 'paleo' question - but it is related to my diet...
I can tomatoes (including salsa) because I think home-canned tomatoes taste better and I remove most of the risk of BPA contamination from store-bought canned tomatoes. With anything canned there will be nutrient loss, but I'd rather have canned tomatoes available from a local organic farm than buy fresh tomatoes from Florida or Mexico treated with chemicals. Sure, canned food isn't ideal. It does, however, make me feel better to have preserved food for the winter and have available calories in case of natural disaster. And also, chili just hits the spot in winter. Anyhow. Bottom line--you will have nutrient loss, but it won't be 100%. I believe Vit C is reduced significantly over time, but if you make sure you store everything in a cool dark place you should keep things better for longer.
I don't can other vegetables except as pickles, mostly because I don't have a pressure canner. I also think other veggies don't taste very good canned, so I just don't bother.
As for books:
I like "Canning for a New Generation," "Tart and Sweet," and "Put 'em Up" (the last of which goes into more than just canning--also freezing and drying). Of those, the last two are my favorites.
I am starting canning this year as well, but fortunately I am getting a lot of good advice from my grandmother. I am not sure about how much nutrients are lost when you can, but I was told that it is best to add a bit of ascorbic acid vitamin C) to foods you can to prevent them from turning brown. One thing to consider when you can is that you have to heat the produce up to seal the jar, that is the only way I can think that nutrients would be lost.
I used to do a lot of canning when I had a big garden and it is really easy. There are loads o online resources for free, or even from your local county extension agent (they may have a website). I recently canned about 16 jars of plums. Someone gave me all those plums and I just knew I couldn't eat them all before they went bad! I used unsweetened apple juice for the liquid. I use the water bath method of canning.
I'll do some preservation of produce, though I don't eat fruit and I don't eat anything but kale out of season (I'm one of those seasonal freaks) so I do it in small batches I know I'll get through fairly quickly. I would probably do more veggie canning and freezing if I grew my own.
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