Staying Sane During Canning Season

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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, and boxes and buckets full of produce in stacks on the kitchen floor.

Staying Sane During Canning Season

Staying Sane During Canning Season

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.

Staying Sane During Canning Season

Make sure you have all your supplies in advance.

Nothing stresses me out more 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.)

With all of the chaos in the past couple of years about getting lids and jars, it’s smart to start stocking up early on what you think you might need. If you end up with a few extras you can always use them next year.

Here’s an article of mine that you might want to check out on Preparing for Canning Season to make sure you get what you need.

Canned Goods

Make space for all the new canned goods.

If you didn’t do an “Eat from the Pantry” challenge earlier this year, now is the time! Eat what you can to clean up your shelves a bit and make room for more.

Also, make sure that your shelves are clean and secure once you’ve got them a little more cleaned off. It’s good to check those things while you can and when they aren’t so loaded with stuff.

I like to move canned goods from my storage area under the stairs into the main working pantry. Check out my latest video below and see what this part of my pantry looks like!

Homestead Management

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.

Before you canning, sit down and sketch a rough estimate of what you think you will need. If you canned last year, you could 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.

Homestead Management

Put together the recipes you want to use.

If you have several bookmarked recipes 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. 🙂

Canned Foods

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 certain times or days of the week will work best for you and make sure others in your household know about your “schedule”.

This will help ensure that you are able actually to 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 can 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 if you are planning on preserving food for your family for the entire winter, it’s always good to head into canning season with some 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?

Me and KadyMerissa has been blogging about and living the simple life since 2009 and has internationally published 2 books on the topic. You can read about Merissa’s journey from penniless to the 100-acre farm and ministry on the About Page. You can send her a message any time from the Contact Page.

This blog post on Staying Sane During Canning Season was first published on Little House Living in July 2014. It has been updated as of May 2023.

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  1. I generally try to can early in the day. It seems that canning season has a mind of it’s own,tho’,so I just try to adjust! My best tip(and I have been canning for 40 yrs.) is to try to have a dinner plan. There is nothing worse than having the kitchen a mess,the stove covered by canners,and noticing (or being reminded by hungry hubby or kids) that it is supper time. I try to make a one-pot dinner, be it in the crockpot or oven, The kitchen is already HOT,so who cares? We don’t have a/c, so everyone knows when the canners are out,we sweat! I love is so satisfying..and we eat good!! Other tip…Have fun!!!

    1. THANK YOU for this reminder!!!

      I only cook dinner on SUN, TUE, THU, & SAT, with their leftovers on the next day. I’m going to try canning on MON & FRI mornings this year, which means we will be harvesting & prepping (snapping beans, quartering apples) on my cooking days. Since I will be doing most of the actual canning by myself in the morning, it’s only fair that my family would be doing that prepping while I’m cooking dinner the night before 🙂

      We also can outside on turkey fryers. Like Mary Mc says below, they cook a lot faster than my stove. I’m planning to hang lots of laundry outside on those days too. We homeschool a little during the summer, so I’m hoping to get a few read alouds done while I’m waiting in between batches.

  2. I’m happy to know that my kitchen isn’t the only one with the counters full of canning stuff! Today for the first time we are going to try canning tomato soup (with your recipe). In the past we have only done salsa, spaghetti sauce, tomato juice and and course tomatoes. I’m excited to try soup!

  3. Love your site, Merissa!! I am gearing up for big canning year and need to stock up on lids. I have been looking on eBay, would you mind sharing your per lid stock up price?

    On an unrelated note, my husband continually requests your zucchini brownies! They are the best!!

    1. Hi Pam, I try and look for lids that are $0.15 or less each. I hope that helps! And it’s good to hear you love the brownies! I need to make more of those this week 🙂

  4. Even though we have central air conditioning, after several years of canning strawberry preserves in the heat of June/July in Chicago, and putting all that unwanted humidity from boiling pots of water into my home, my husband suggested purchasing a heavy-duty camp stove and canning outside. So I did that this year. What a blessing! The stove hooks up to our gas grill tank, and the pots of boiling water actually heated up faster than they do on my regular stove! The stove has 2 extra large burners on it and also sturdy legs, so I can set it up anywhere I want (that is, in the shade or in the garage if it’s raining!)

    1. I’m hoping to try this method of canning on our camp stove tomorrow! Glad to see it went well for you!

  5. Great tips! I’m gearing up for canning season myself as I wait for all my tomatoes to turn red for salsa. I know it happens seemingly overnight. Thanks for your tips to get ready!

  6. Thanks for the information, especially about buying lids in bulk! Gonna have to find a bunch of those for this year! We canned over 400 jars last year and we didn’t start until October. We’ve already canned about 300 jars already this year, so I need to find lids that are as inexpensive as possible! (Mind you we have reused quite a few jars already.)

    And the comment about making a one pot meal for sticking something in the oven for dinner is awesome! There have been more than a few times that I’ve gotten busy and forgotten about dinner and have canners covering the stove.

  7. Great tips. I am working on a spread sheet to organize all my items that I can with “Ingredients, Prep, Method and Recipes I use.” In hopes of keeping myself from constantly running back and forth to the computer. How do you calculate how many jars of food to do for your family to last until next canning season?

    1. I generally just keep track of what we ran out of too fast last year and make more the following year but this year I’m keeping track of specifically how much of each thing I’m making to see what we really need more/less of.

  8. Living in Texas, I just can’t imagine canning without ac… Thanks for the reminders of being prepared. I am bad about getting busy canning something and realizing I am missing an ingredient. I really, really enjoy reading your blog. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Boy do I ever need this! The craziness has begun and I am working on pacing myself. The problem is if you don’t keep up with it you are buried in a hurry. My mantra during this time is “one day at a time”.
    Thanks for sharing.

  10. I have four quick tips to share:

    1) During the heaviest times of the canning season, make dinners in the crockpot. Take whatever you need out of the freezer the night before to thaw and throw it in the crockpot before leaving for work in the morning. Plan B is to cook something that is quick and easy on the grill like Eckridge Sausage, Zuchini and Corn on the Cob. The world will not come to an end if dinner is served on paper plates either. Eating outside on the patio, or picnic table if it’s not too hot is also a good tip during canning season when the kitchen is a wreck.

    2) Whenever possible, I try to can in the evenings so I don’t spend all day Saturday in the kitchen. Since I can’t wander too far from the canner, it’s an ideal time to tidy kitchen drawers, clean the fridge a bit, think through meal planning, make a shopping list, sweep floors, damp mop, tidy cupboard, refold dish towels, unload the dishwasher or whatever else I can cram into 60-90 minutes.

    3) The evening prior, I pick the garden, wash and slice/chop my produce and place it in gallon size freezer bags in the fridge.I get out the canner and set it up, steralize jars. I set out the potholders, the jar lifter, the funnel, and I prep as much as possible the evening prior so it’s all ready as soon as I get home from work the next day. As soon as I get home from work and change clothes, I get to work, and I can have the canner started much sooner- and also reduce the amount of time I spend standing.

    4) When appropriate, I can certain things in in half pint jars, which lets me double stack, getting more jars done at one time. This not only saves hours of time, but it saves electricity as well.

    I hope these tips are helpful. Thank you for the opportunity to share ideas.

    1. I just now noticed this is an older post. But I could not move on without giving a shout out to you, Susan. I cannot imagine doing all this canning everyone is talking about here, especially while also working outside the home. I also worked outside the home and I know how exhausting it can be. I so admire that you come home from work and get to work canning. Wow. Kudos to you, and I wish you all the best. You are a powerhouse.

  11. I like to start the day before by washing jars and laying out everything I will need and then I get up early so I am done by noon. I often take a break for lunch and then clean up the kitchen. I have found if I lay everything out and go over my recipe the day or night before I feel much less overwhelmed than trying to do it all at once.

  12. My #1 tip… Make sure your house stays clean during canning season. I hate nothing more than being excited and ready to can and then I realize my kitchen is a mess! It totally kills the mood! 🙂

  13. Great tips! Happy Canning! Thanks for sharing at My Favorite Things party. Theresa @DearCreatives

  14. Great tips! Good luck with your canning! Thank you for linking at the In and Out of the Kitchen Link Party. Hope to see you again next week.

  15. I’m canning 2 bushels of tomatoes today! I am a go big or go home canner – big loads at one time. I have a three burner propane stove and an E-Z Up tent, so I do all of my canning outside. My kids play in the water and I get some fresh air and don’t heat up my house. Happy canning!

  16. Please stop photographing canned food stacked on top of each other. You know that it is a dangerous practice and your followers will think it’s “just fine” because they saw you do it.

    1. It’s fine to stack canned foods as long as you have something in between the jar lids like cardboard. I’m also a little confused because there are no images in this post showing jars stacked on top of each other.