When you are deciding how to preserve food for later use, what factors should you consider in determining whether to can or to freeze? There are some basic questions that you first need to answer in order to determine which is best in your particular circumtances.
– How long do you expect to need to preserve it?
– Is your electric power reliable? (I ask, because I also work in Central America, and there are also those who sometimes become hurricane victims.)
– Will there be enough space in your freezer for the duration of the time needed?
– Will you and/or your family enjoy the food as much if it is canned as opposed to it being frozen?
– Does the food you want to can require being pressure canned, or will the simpler process work?
– Do you have the proper equipment to do whichever type of canning you need to do?
Do you know for sure how to can produce safely, and what things need to be PRESSURE canned for safety? Whether you are pressure canning or canning without using pressure, make sure you sterilize the bottles, rings AND lids that are being used, as well as the equipment you are using. Heat is the easiest way to do this (after thoroughly washing, of course). Boiling works well for anything that can be boiled, and heating the bottles in the oven works for the canning jars. Anything that is being pressurized MUST use actual canning jars, as opposed to re-purposing mayonnaise jars, as the mayonnaise jars tend to crack under pressure.
Freezing requires less equipment, but requires freezer space and reliable electric power. For me the question has always been how my family would enjoy the food more. We preferred canned tomatoes and canned concentrated strawberry juice, but almost everything else we preferred frozen. Since I often canned 7 or 8 DOZEN cans of tomato sauce every year, plus nearly as many stewed tomatoes, this worked well for us. Of course, it didn’t hurt that I had all the fresh produce available I needed just by visiting my parents at their farm every summer!
More later on HOW to preserve foods!