Saturday, August 23, 2008

Canning- Is it worth it?

--- I ended up taking off on Friday! I finished up 4 work in progresses and I am finishing the 5th one today. Good stuff. ---

I mentioned that I am keeping a food preservation journal this year and one of my objectives is to determine if canning/freezing is worth it? Thursday evening my neighbor came over to help can the 60lbs of peaches sitting in my garage. Before she came over I washed all the peaches, starting the large pot for the hot water bath and all the jars were freshly washed (using the highest temp available) in the dishwasher and hanging out in the hot dry cycle to keep them warm. The lids and rings were sitting in their pot ready to be sterilized and the pot of water was simmering to take the peach skins off.

I used the Ball Blue Book of Preservation as a guide. I bought my copy from the grocery store and I believe it was cheaper than what Amazon has it as. The book was located right next to the canning supplies they sell.

Variety: Bounty (freestone peach)

60 lbs of peaches (a little over a bushel by volume) cost $32.00 or $.53/lb. It yielded 31 quarts of canned peaches (halves in the wide mouth jars and quarters in the regular jars) and 4 10'' peach pie filling portions which I froze in ziplock bags. So that's a total of 35 food units (this is an official LeeAnn household measurement, in case you are wondering). I used prit-near a whole 5# bag of sugar at $2.25 and $5 in rings and lids. (You can't reuse lids from year to year.) I did not factor in the cost of the jars since most were given to me and they are reusable year after year.

So $32 + $2.25 + $5= $39.25/35 food units= $1.12 per food unit.

Also consider the labor involved. A good 3 1/2 hours (with 2 people) Thursday night and another 1 1/2 hours Friday night for the pie filling. This time includes clean up (and even a floor mopping!).

One of the quarts of peaches didn't seal. Carefully inspect your canning jars before you use them. Make sure there are no nicks or chips along the lips edge. You won't get a safe seal for storage. The quality of the peaches is not diminished as long as you place the jar in the fridge soon after canning. I am kinda glad one didn't seal because I got to have a preview of what I can look forward to in January. The peaches were still firm and oh so tasty!

TIP 1: If you are planning to try canning peaches for the first time make sure you ask for a "freestone" variety. This is a variety where the stones (pits) are easily removed from ripe peaches. Saves a ton of headaches!

TIP 2: For even cheaper peaches ask if you can get 'seconds'. These are the imperfect peaches, sometimes on the brink of being over ripe, but they are incredible cheap. Just make sure you can them within 24 hours to get the most yield.

Just as I was finished typing this blog post I looked over to my right and found Critter sound asleep by my feet in my sewing room. You can see the progress of yesterdays sewing on the floor by her head. We joke about needing a fireplace so we can put our kitty fur rug on display. She is one seriously fluffy kitty. Good thing she likes being brush- a lot.


  1. Sounds like canning peaches was a success. They look delicious. I've never tried canning, though I sometimes helped my grandma when I was a kid. I would love to have canned tomatoes to use in stews and sauces.

  2. It's worth it! Oh baby is it ever worth it come winter. Especially after you have kids. Though my husband and I love the peaches, tomatoes and pickles we do just as much as the kids. They don't taste like grocery store canned food, plus you're supporting local growers and minimizing your footprint on our oil hungry nation.

    This year I'm doing applesauce too. I'm excited.

    Thanks for sharing your math!! My peaches were a little tiny bit less , but otherwise our cost was about the same.

  3. Haha - I love Critter. :)

  4. I'm glad peaches were a success...and you took friday off! Canned peaches are the best. I do the canning math as well and even when on paper it doesn't look like it is worth it tastes soooo much better!

  5. I'm so cheap that I only can what I grow myself. I would love to can peaches(Oh how I love them) but I have always cheaped out when I find out how expensive they are to purchase.Yours look great...sigh.


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