Read a few pages of any canning book or magazine and there’s a good chance you’ll be pretty afraid of giving your family botulism. While that is definitely possible, the chances of that occurring are pretty slim…if you have the following skills…
1. Being able to follow a recipe’s direction
There is a science behind the preservation of food and canning recipes from reputable sources have been developed & formulated that follow specific rules for safety. So as long as you can follow directions, you will be able to pull this off. I promise! If you are just starting into the world of canning, I highly recommend Ball’s Blue Book. This is your staple, go to book for the mechanics behind canning. From there, the number of books and resources for canning is limitless. You just want to make sure that your recipes are from a reliable entity and align with what you’d find in a Ball Blue Book.
For example, when you have someone telling you that tomatoes don’t need to be processed (meaning no water bath, no pressure canning)…then I’d highly recommend avoiding that recipe. But if you follow the standard rules of sterilizing your jars, preparing your produce the correct way, and processing for the recommended time…then you should feel that you can do this! Which leads me to…
If you didn’t grow up watching your mom & grandma ‘put-up’ then I understand how you’d be a bit worried if you can pull off preserving your own food. There are plenty of horror stories out there…even for experienced canners, things sometimes go wrong. But it’s just like riding a bike, or the train chugging up the mountain…the mantra of “I think I can, I think I can” …goes a long way. Believe in yourself & your abilities, believe in your desire to feed your family nutritious food, believe in wanting to use up the figs from your in-law’s overflowing tree, believe in wanting to save your family money… There are so many different reasons for wanting to ‘put-up’, and you just have to take the first step.
Start simple, read your recipe numerous times before you begin, and believe in yourself!