Save money on your grocery bill

How to save money on food purchases by preserving food.

Home preservation of fresh fruits and vegetables is on the upswing. There are many reasons to preserve your own fruits and vegetables. Perhaps, you want to save money on food purchases. Possibly, you are concerned about pesticides or contaminants in commercially canned foods. No matter what your reason, Michigan State University Extension has some things you should consider when deciding whether to preserve fruits and vegetables at home. 

Canning your own home grown foods may save you half the cost of commercially canned food. However, there may upfront costs such as the cost of jars, lids and rings, purchase of a water bath canner or pressure canner, and other tools such as a jar lifter. Some electric stoves with glass tops should not be used for canning. Check your stove’s manual or with the manufacturer. 

If you are going to preserve foods by freezing, you will need a freezer in addition to the freezer in your refrigerator. If you will have to purchase of a freezer, consider the cost of the purchase, where you will locate the appliance and the cost of electricity to operate the freezer. 

Dehydrating fresh fruits and vegetables is another way to preserve. Usually, it requires the use of a food dehydrator. An oven can be used to dehydrate fruits and vegetables, however, it is an inefficient way to dehydrate.

Another consideration is where you will obtain the produce to preserve. Do you have a garden space? Can you rent a plot in a community garden? Do you have the time to prepare the soil, plant, water, weed and harvest the produce? For some, it may be easier to purchase produce from a farmer’s market or “U pick” operation.

Do you have time to prepare the food? Produce should be preserved while fresh; usually within a couple of days of harvesting or when ripe. It takes time to prepare the fruits and vegetables for preserving; cutting, peeling, trimming, blanching, water or pressure canner processing take time and energy.

Preserving your own fruits and vegetables can be rewarding and save money. Start by planning, where you will obtain your produce, how you will preserve your product and where the finished product will be stored. A little time invested in planning now will save time and money later! 

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