Nothing tastes better than something you picked fresh from your garden.  Unfortunately, fresh food has a limited shelf life.  If you know how to can fruits and vegetables, you can enjoy the bounty of your garden all year long.

You will need some basic equipment like a large pot to boil water that is large enough for your canning jars to be submerged.  You can buy pots that are made specifically for canning, but can also use a large stock pot or the pot that comes with most turkey fryers.

You'll also need a good supply of jars and lids.  There are all different shapes and sizes, but the most important factor is that the lids seal tightly.  If not, your food will spoil, and that sort of defeats the purpose of all the work you put into preserving your food.

You would also be wise to invest a couple of bucks into a device to lift the jars in and out of your canning cauldron.  Keeps you from making any trips to the emergency room!

Follow the directions that come with your canning lids for best results.  Fortunately, the lids made by different manufacturers are interchangable, so whether you have jars and lids from Ball, Kerr, Atlas, or any other brand, they should fit tightly enough to seal. 

Be wary of using old mayonnaise jars or spaghetti sauce jars.  Some will work, while others will disappoint you.  Sometimes, it's hard to tell the difference.  Who wants to take a chance with botulism?

If you have canning/preserving questions, you can call 800-240-3340 or visit

I made a batch of canned tomatoes to use in chili and goulash and also a large batch of salsa to enjoy throughout the year.  I also have pickles and pickled beets and pickled green beans.  We won't be starving any time soon.