Canning, like any other skill, takes a little education and a lot of common sense. Most people are intimidated by stories they’ve heard about exploding canners and botulism. The pressure canners of today have come a long way and are much safer than those in the past. And by following some very specific, but very clear, guidelines, the risk of bacteria borne disease are eliminated. I have been safely soups and stocks for 5 years, without a single incident of food borne illness.
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Here are the reasons you should can your own stocks and soups:
You know EXACTLY what’s in your food! A review of a Campbell’s Vegetable Soup can ingredient list contains, among many things, disodium guanylate and disodium inosinate. What the what? And while not so scary sounding, Health Valley Organic Vegetable Soups contain Vitamin A Palmitate and Yeast Extract. You can find information saying whatever you want it say about any of these additives. My bottom line…Why do I want them in my food? I go back to how we ate 100 years ago when we, as a people, raised our own food and knew where it came from…that’s how I want to eat.
Reduce your sodium intake. According to the American Heart Association, the body needs only a small amount of sodium (less than 500 milligrams) to function properly. However, the average American consumes more than 3400 milligrams a day! Excessive sodium intake can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. One can of most soups and stocks contain 50% of the RDA of sodium! The ‘reduced sodium’ stocks and soups have to contain 25% less than their standard versions…so you still get more than you need. Now, that being said, there are just some things that really do taste better with a pinch of salt, right off the top of my head I’m thinking a wedge of avocado (oh my) and nuts. But the key here is that I CONTROL how much salt I consume, not someone else.
Reduce your sugar intake. I love a good dessert as much as, if not more, than your average bear. So, I want to save my sugar for my mom’s phenomenal apple pie, not my chicken stock or vegetable soup. You’re hard pressed to find a prepared soup in the grocery store that doesn’t contain sugar!
Tailor it to your taste! Add the vegetables you like and leave out those you don’t!
Be good to the earth! You re-use your glass jars…one less thing to throw in your recycling bin.
Satisfaction in acquiring this ‘new’ old skill.
Call me weird…but there is something very enticing and appealing about the different colors of my soups and stocks all lined up in my pantry. Functional Aesthetics!