5 Reasons to Preserve Your Own Healthy Food

    5 Reasons to Preserve Your Own Healthy Food

    Nutritional Facts are on canned goods for a reason…to help shoppers make healthy choices! Although there are tons of healthier choices in the grocery store now than in the past, we still have ‘a long way to go’ when it comes to choosing the food that will benefit our bodies the most. For instance, if I buy low-fat salad dressing, most of the time it has more salt and sugar than regular salad dressing to make it taste better (without the fat). Your body needs some fat, so I just use the regular dressing and measure it, so I control the calories (or I try to).

    I also strive to make my own broth for soups from chicken, beef or vegetables, but occasionally I will buy broth from the store. The ‘fat-free’ vegetable broth from the store that I purchased recently has 570 mg of sodium and 2 grams of sugar per cup…yes, per cup! Our daily allowance for salt should be 2300 mg per day or 1 tsp of salt. I’ll eat at least 2 cups of broth in a soup bowl at one sitting and that would make 1140 mg or 1/2 of my daily intake…eye opener for sure! I am particularly concerned with salt intake, because it causes my blood pressure to rise and retention of fluid. My family has a history of high blood pressure/heart disease and my sweet mother passed away in 1984 at only 47 years of age with an unexpected heart attack. So you can see the reason for my concern in this area.

    Many years ago, I chose to preserve a lot of my own food from our garden, in order to control the sodium and sugar, and eliminate the preservatives. I’ve always made pickles and jellies (with water bath canning), but had not ventured into pressure canning for green beans, soups, meat, and broth. Once I got the hang of pressure canning, the whole world seemed to open up on my options to preserve my own healthy food. I also freeze a lot of items that don’t seem to do as well with canning like squash, zucchini, peas and corn.

    So here are Five of the Reasons that I Preserve Food, but you may think of more:

    1. Flavor – the taste is tremendously better when you preserve it yourself
    2. No metal cans – I am concerned specifically about tomatoes or other acidic items in a metal can and the possibility of it leaching into the ingredients
    3. Controlling sodium and sugar – when you preserve it, you control the ingredients
    4. Eliminating preservatives and pesticides – msg, sulfites and nitrates – if I don’t grow it myself, I make sure the grower doesn’t use pesticides
    5. Controlling the serving size and calories – I control what size and amount I preserve

    Do you wonder which foods need to be processed through a water bath canner and which ones through a pressure canner? The easy way to remember is:
    food with acid, sugar, or vinegar can be water bath canned
    all other food must be pressure canned or frozen

    Examples for water bath canning: tomatoes, pickles, jams, jellies, fruit, and hot peppers with vinegar
    Examples for pressure canning: green beans, peas, corn, cabbage, potatoes, soups, meats, and broth

    If you have any questions about canning or preserving your own healthy food, please send me an e-mail at stoneycreekfarmtennessee@gmail.com.

    Check out our two Canning 101 Classes, June 2 and 30th, on this link:  http://stoneycreekfarmtennessee.com/events/996/