I have been surprised recently by several people asking me if canned foods will last 20 years. I have read that some canned foods will last many years but, in my opinion, canned foods should be used within a year, maybe two at the most. I will admit that I did find a jar of taco soup within the past year that was canned in 2014. We ate it and I thought it was fine. Vince thought it was fine. But the foods I can, I plan for those to be used within about a year.
My grandma canned corn, green beans, butter beans, tomatoes . . things like that. Of course I can tomatoes but my preference is more like meals in a jar or the base for a meal.
One of my most favorite things to can is red beans with sausage.
Last year, in Spetember, I made Eggplant Salsa – 33 pints of it. The way we like that best is to brown chicken breasts, pour the salsa over them and bake them for 30 minutes or so, then add cheese and bake til the cheese melts. This is more of a fall/winter dish so we probably haven’t even used half of these jars. This year I keep looking at the eggplants still on the plants and thinking . . what am I going to do with all those? I’ll have to come up with something else.
I also love canning beef – roast and ground beef. The roasts are fork tender after they’ve gone through the canning process. It’s nice to open a jar of beef, heat it up, add whatever seasonings or other ingredients it needs and have a meal ready in minutes.
I think my favorite thing to can, at least recently, has been potatoes. I will take those out of the jar, wipe them dry with a paper towel, toss them with a bit of olive oil and seasonings and air fry them. They are so good!
I can a lot of soups for fall and winter. There’s never much going on outside during fall and winter so I can sit and knit or cross stitch almost the entire day. If I can open a jar of soup or chili and we’ll have that for dinner, then I get even more time for my hobbies. We both like soup and sandwiches or even soup and salad when it’s cold outside. We both love split pea soup. Vince likes Cincinnati Chili and I don’t. I like hot and spicy traditional chili and he doesn’t so I make both types and can them in pints – one for him and one for me. We like taco soup. We like sausage, potato and kale soup. I’ve always said I could live on soup and sandwiches through the winter.
Freeze drying, on the other hand, is supposed to last many years. I’m confident my freeze dried foods will be good for at least 10 years. I don’t freeze dry meals or already prepared food very often. I mostly freeze dry okra, eggs, elderberries, peppers, onions, strawberries, bananas – things like that.
I do love canning and freeze drying but even more, I love having those foods ready to eat.