Canning fruit, vegetables and even meat is an easy, affordable way to access food throughout the year. Pickle foods such as cucumbers, eggs or beets, or preserve sweeter foods like peaches, berries and pumpkin. You can also create jams and spreads, such as apple butter, hot sauce or jelly. Store your canned foods in a cool environment and access them year round, or hand them out as gifts for birthdays or holidays.
With its odd shape and oozing texture, okra can be an intimidating vegetable to cook. Despite its relative unpopularity, the seedpod vegetable cans well, especially when pickled. Snack on pickled okra, use it to thicken soups or stews or add to cold pasta, egg or potato salad.
From Mexican to Italian and beyond, canned tomatoes come in handy for a variety of cuisines and meals. Peel and can whole, halved or diced tomatoes. You can also create a simple tomato puree or make a spaghetti sauce.
Pumpkins come but once a year, and when they do they come in bulk. To gain access to pumpkins from one autumn to the next, can the tasty squash and use as desired. The best way to can pumpkins is to either dice the flesh and store it in a preservative or create a puree.
Crunchy cucumbers are one of the most popular foods to can -- they're easy, and they metamorphosize into America's beloved pickle. Use whole cucumbers, quarter them into spears or slice them to create round discs. As for pickling flavors, try salty, sweet or spicy.
Jam goes well with many things -- from dinner rolls to breakfast toast to a classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich. To create your own, take one or two of your favorite fruits -- such as strawberries, mangoes, blueberries or oranges -- and follow a jam or jelly recipe. Wait for the jam to cool, then seal tightly and store in a cool space or freezer.
Beets are known for their earthy flavor, rich color and meaty texture. To relish the root vegetable year round, can beets either whole, diced or sliced. Pickled beets are also popular, and go well with salads, hearty meals and red meat.
Though canning eggs may seem strange, the protein-rich food is commonly pickled. Eat them as-is for an afternoon snack, slice and place on a salad or create a salty egg salad as a side dish. You can also add beet juice to the canning solution to turn the eggs a pretty pinkish-red hue.
You probably already buy canned peaches at the store, but next time you're in the mood for the sweet fruit, consider canning your own. For best results, blanch whole peaches for approximately one minute, let them cool, quarter and then can in a simple syrup.