Start Home Canning and Save Money

Home Canning is making a comeback these days, and is a great way to save money!

You may have memories of your grandmother’s pantry shelves lined with beautiful glass jars filled with dill pickles, jams, jellies, meats, tomato sauces, fruits, and vegetables. You can have those same delicious foods on your pantry shelves too if you learn how to start canning fresh foods. The process of home canning isn’t difficult once you have the right tools and techniques in place.

How To Start Canning

The best place to start canning to save money is to get educated about the process of canning. The Blue Book of Canning is an excellent resource for outlining the steps for processing fruits, vegetables, and meats. It’s packed with all the information you need to start home canning, as well as several recipes, so it’s a worthy investment. Although learning how to preserve food is somewhat time consuming, the money you save by canning fresh foods will far outweigh the time you’ve spent from start to finish.

Canning Equipment

To begin preserving your food, you’ll need the following canning equipment:

  • Canning jars (size will depend on what you’re canning)
  • Lids and rings for the jars
home canning
  • Water bath canner and lid
  • Canning rack
  • Jar wrench and lifter
  • Wide mouth funnel
  • Tongs
  • Lid lifter (magnetic one or simply use tongs)
  • Saucepan
  • Stock pot or Dutch oven
  • Hot mitts
  • Pantry storage available
  • Fresh fruit or vegetables
  • Pectin (jams and jellies)
  • Sugar (jams and jellies)

A few quick notes about jars, lids, and rings

  • Jars can be reused over and over again as long as the rims are intact, with no chips or cracks.
  • Jars can be purchased new, but can also be found for sale at garage sales, thrift stores, and even for free on Freecycle.
  • Use only jars manufactured for canning, not the mayonnaise jar or pickle jar.
  • Rings can be used for quite a while, but if they rust at all, they’ll need to be replaced.
  • Lids cannot be reused for any reason. New lids must be used for each new jar of a canned item. Otherwise, the jar may not seal properly, allowing bacteria to enter and the food could spoil.
  • The good news is that the lids are very inexpensive and can be found at your local grocery store and sometimes your local hardware store.


The best way to start home canning to save money is by making jam from fresh fruit or pickles from fresh cucumbers. Use only the freshest ingredients for canning. What you put into the jar is what will come out of the jar. Never use food that is past its prime.

The easiest way to get fresh fruit and vegetables is to grow your own either in your own backyard or on a rented garden space. However, if those options aren’t available to you, visit a farmer’s market, fruit farm, or a U-Pick farm throughout the summer. Perhaps a friend who has a garden would be willing to trade you fresh produce for some jam or dill pickles.

More Canning Tips

Canning does require an initial investment, but it’s no different than starting your own business or learning any other new skill. Once the initial investment has been made, the savings will begin to show as you go through your pantry to shop instead of rushing out to the grocery store every time you need something.

Home Canning equipment can be purchased at many stores, including Target and Wal-Mart, as well as online stores. Keep your eyes open at estate sales, garage sales, and thrift shops because sometimes these items show up there too. Don’t be afraid to ask the older generation of ladies in your family or church if they might have equipment they’d be willing to sell or give to you.

It may take a few months, perhaps even six months, to see the benefits of home canning in financial terms. However, if you price out the price of your produce and equipment and the yield of canned goods you reaped from your efforts, you’re likely to find that your budget is thanking you!

Note that nothing has been mentioned about low acid foods such as meat, fish and some vegetables. Low acid foods require processing in a pressure canner and that takes some finesse and experience, so it’s wise to get familiar and adept at water bath canning before tackling pressure canning.

Back to Grocery And Food Savings

Copyright 2009-2011