Can your own food

Can your own food. Here are six reasons why.

1) Famous people did it.

It started with Napoleon. During the Napoleonic Wars, the need for food was so great that the French government offered a reward to the person that found a way to preserve foods. In 1909, a man by the name of M. Nicholas Appert discovered the secret. He heated the foods and quickly placed them in jars, then corked it. At the same time in England, Peter Durant obtained a patent for preserving foods. And in the 1860's Louis Pasteur discovered why this was a good way to preserve foods. He proved that the living micro-organisms -the molds, yeast and bacteria that are present in the air, water and soil- caused the spoilage when it came into contact with foods, unless rendered inactive by properly sterilizing.

2) Enjoy your favorite summer foods in the winter

Because of the high water content of most fresh foods, they a very perishable. They will spoil because of the growth of undesirable micro-organisms -as Pasteur discovered. Proper canning means that you can enjoy summer squash in the middle of a blizzard.

3) Canned food is good for you

Once the cans have been sealed, the food keeps its high eating quality for more that two years. As long as the container is not damage, it is safe to eat. Canning your garden veggies, are meats yourself means you know what is going into your food, no preservatives, sugar or sugar free, salt or no salt, and fat free. Canned fruits and vegetables are high in Vitamins A and other phytochemicals. If you are canning tomatoes, research has shown that canned tomatoes are higher in lycopene than the fresh counterparts, and lypcopene may be more effective when consumed after the tomatoes are canned or cooked, helping reduce the risk of cancer. Carotenes -antioxidants the provide protection to your cells- can be found in canned apricots, carrots, peaches, pumpkin, spinach and sweet potatoes.

Canned fish and poultry are comparable to their fresh-cooked counterparts in nutritional value. Protein is not lost during the canning process. And some canned fish can have higher calcium levels than their freshly cooked counterparts.

4) Save money

No longer will you rely on the supermarkets for your canned goods. There are many types of stews, soups and chilies that you can make at home. Can the fruit and vegetables you have grown at home, visit your local farmers market, or wait until there is a good sale at your local grocery store; buy more than you need and create a canned food isle in your pantry.

5) A good step in helping the environment

Less demand at the supermarket means that there is less demand on  intensely farming only one type of crop, there by not exhausting the land.

6) A good family tradition

Canning food teaches science and environmentalism. Making it a family event can encourage pride in children and they; they will be more likely to taste their fruits of their labor, also, and explore new foods; and it's fun!

Erin M. Phelan combines cooking, writing and talking about food with her love for the countryside. She has been a modern homesteader and raised her own organic food when Erin was living in a lovely farm in Kansas, with her husband and young children. You can read about her adventures in her blog, A Homesteading Neophyte; her recipes have been published regularly at All Foods Natural and World Food and Wine, among others.