Staying Sane During Canning Season
Canning season is usually the busiest time of year at my house. There is constantly a pile of jars in the sink, canning utensils all over the counter top and boxes and buckets full of produce in stacks on the kitchen floor.
It’s a busy time of year but at the same time, when I reach the end of each batch of home canned foods I can’t help but feel a sense of pride and accomplishment that I’m able to do this great thing for my family.
Since canning season is just about ready to start (or already has started for you lucky southern states!), today I thought I would share some tips on how I stay sane during this time of year and come out the other side with my head still firmly in place.
Make sure you have all your supplies in advance.
Nothing stresses me out than having to make last minute trips to the store for canning lids when I’m ready to put a batch of produce in the pressure canner. Make sure to stock up on as many as you think you will need. (Count how many jars you did last year and add or subtract to that number what you should need for this year, and then buy a few extras just in case.) I started planning early this year making sure I knew where all my jars were stored and buying a few new cases I found on clearance since I plan on doing more this year and also stocking up on lids. I found a GREAT deal on a bulk pack of lids on Ebay.
Make space for all the new canned goods.
This was a big one for us this year since I simply didn’t have the space for anything else. We are working on building shelves in our dungeon basement. I’m not a fan of storing jars on somewhat unstable shelving though so for the last few years I’ve slowly been stocking up on my collection of JarBoxes. I LOVE them! They stack nicely and I don’t have to worry about jars hitting each other.
Start canning with a plan.
It doesn’t do much good to can jars upon jars of jelly if your family really doesn’t each much jelly. Sit down before you start canning and sketch a rough estimate of what you think you will need. If you canned last year you can go off of what you ran out of too quickly and what you had more than enough of. You don’t want to give yourself extra work if you don’t really need to do it! In your figuring don’t forget to include home canned goods that you may want to give as gifts later.
Put together the recipes you want to use.
If you have several recipes bookmarked that you plan on making or trying, print them off now and keep them all in a binder together so they are easy to find. Also, this will help you for next year so you can remember which recipes you made and whether or not you want to make them again. (Of course, you can find all the Little House Living canning recipes on our Canning and Preserving page to print. 🙂 )
Figure out when the best time to can will be.
For you, it might be on the weekends if you work outside the home all week, or maybe you are blessed with an air conditioner and staying at home so you can can any time of day! Either way, figure out if there are certain times or days of the week that will work best for you and make sure others in your household know about your “schedule”. This will just help ensure that you are able to actually do that canning that you want to do! Since we do not have air conditioning I personally plan on canning at night when the hubby is able to be home with the kids and it’s a bit cooler inside. 🙂
No matter if you plan to can up just a few batches of goods this year or you are planning on preserving food for your family for the entire winter, it’s always good to head into canning season with some kind of plan. Then at the end of the season you can look at your pantry shelves and feel accomplished instead of just feeling like you never want to see another canning jar again.
We are all in this together, you can do it!
What are your best tips for staying sane during canning season?