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Canning: Not just for Grandma

When I went to Walmart about a month ago to buy everything I ever needed for canning, I got a few crazy looks.spaghetti sauce
Why? Well probably because I’m not some old lady. Somewhere along the way, canning has become a thing of the past — a thing for Grandmas to subject their grandchildren to. Just ask anyone here in the south. Just about everyone has a story about Grandma making them string beans or help with the spring/summer canning.
The thing is, canning isn’t just for poor people or people who farm. Canning is a way of preserving thing. If you’re like me, the thought of making homemade spaghetti sauce every time you get the craving is crazy. I’d rather have the convenience of having it in a jar/can on hand. That’s why most people just buy store bought stuff.
The problem is that these days, you honestly have no clue what is in half the stuff you’re eating. Check some of your labels. Can you even pronounce the ingredients?
That’s why I decided to start canning.
Here’s a list of things that I bought for canning:
•    A pressure canner (very important)
•    One of those big black speckled pots (not a technical term obviously)
•    A kit in the canning section that has a funnel, jar grabber, and lots of other neat things you’ll need
•    Jars- I learned that the big quart jars are good for sauces that you’ll use a lot of and veggies, but other than that stick with the pint size otherwise stuff will spoil.
•    The Blue book of Canning (this is the BEST canning book ever)
One of the first things I canned (just to get my feet wet with the process) was spaghetti sauce. We eat a lot of it and it’s actually pretty simple to make.
Here’s what you need for the sauce:
•    2 tsp of garlic (or the equivalence in fresh garlic to ensure organicness)
•    3 cans of tomato sauce (or 9 fresh organic tomatoes or organic tomato sauce)
•    1 can of tomato paste (omit if using fresh tomatoes because they’ll be thick enough)
•    1 cup of beef broth (make sure it’s organic or you’ll end up with MSGs or “yeast extract” preservatives in your food)
•    2 TBS parsley
•    1 TBS brown sugar
•    1 tsp oregano
•    1 tsp basil
•    1 tsp sea salt
•    1 tsp pepper
To see how to prepare fresh tomatoes for the sauce, click here.
Mix all the ingredients. Everything is cooked so all you need to do is prep the jars for canning. Then all you do is follow the canning instructions for sauces. It’s pretty easy. Sounds intimidating, but it’s not and the sauce tastes delicious!
–Erica

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