Wednesday, December 3, 2008

How to: Can your own food in #10 cans

First of all, welcome to everyone coming to our blog from Money Saving Mom. Abs and I have been following this blog on frugality for months now, and we feel so honored to have a guest post there. To read our post on why food storage is important, click here. The plan is to do a guest post there every other month or so, and we are very excited. Thanks, Money Saving Mom!

Over the Thanksgiving weekend I had the opportunity to "can" some of my own food in #10 cans. This type of canning (as opposed to bottling/jarring) isn't easy for many people to do because it requires a large, expensive canner. My mother-in-law lives in an area (a "Stake") where the Church owns 4 canners that people can borrow to can up their own foods. Check with your Stake to find out if there are canners available for you to use. If you aren't LDS, find someone who is and ask them about a cannery.

Last week we canned powdered milk, hard red wheat (pictured below), white flour, white sugar, and cocoa mix.

This is the canner (above). It's large and very heavy!
I bought my hard red wheat at the local cannery. Not everyone has a cannery nearby. If you don't, you can order it from several places online. I know many people who like to buy their bulk foods from Walton Feed (disclaimer: I have never bought food from them, so I can't exactly recommend it. But I know many people who say it's great!).

Fill a #10 can with your product (in this case, wheat). We found that it held about 11 cups. You can buy #10 cans at the cannery.

Throw in an oxygen packet. Oxygen packets will kill any germs or bacteria that may have entered the can.

Note: When you use oxygen packets, be sure to leave them in their packaging until you are ready to use them. Once the oxygen packet hits the air, it is being used and won't be good for long.
Once the packet is in the can, throw the top of the can on and place it on the canner. Then, just raise the lever to seal it, turn it on, and the can will start spinning. There's a lever on the side that will seal the top of the can. I didn't include pictures of this because... well, if you are actually using a canner, you will have an instruction booklet. Or you can just read the instructions on the side of the canner machine. It's pretty explanatory.
Once it's sealed (about 6 seconds of spinning), you're done!
Did you know that new research has shown that powdered milk can last up to 20 years if stored correctly (for example, in #10 cans)? I was so excited to hear that - powdered milk is one of my favorites because it adds so much diversity to food storage. Pasta can also be stored for several years in cans. So can beans, wheat, white flour, oats, rice, etc.
One last note: if you "can" white sugar, do NOT add an oxygen packet. Well, not unless you want to literally use a drill to break it apart (just ask my mother-in-law!). Oxygen packets will make your sugar as solid as a rock.
Good luck with your canning! If you have any questions, please feel free to email us or make a comment, and we'll answer your question in an upcoming "Q&A" post (which we post on Saturdays).


Anonymous said...

Can I store my flour and sugar in the packages they come in? I'll have to find out if our stake has a canner, but I doubt it does. I'm not sure how to store it if I can't can it.

Thanks for all of your posts! They're amazing and very helpful!


BWei said...

Way to go on the guest post on Money Saving Mom! Well done.

Anonymous said...

Just a thought, but it helps to date and write the contents of the can with a permanent market before you fill and seal it. Once it's sealed....you'll never know what is really in the can.

Beth said...

Just because it will last 20 years doesn't mean it should. If you put your food in #10 cans and then stack them in your basement that is not storing. Rotation, is the key to a good food storage. If you think that you'll eat that rice in 10 years I think you're wrong. (It's going to gross you out.) I know cans are pricey but the food should be an ongoing foodstaple. Open them and Eat!

Matriarchy said...

I'm not LDS, but I am definitely interested in your Provident Living habits. There is no cannery near me, but I didn't realize there might be canners to lend out. Understanding that I am not a member of the church, I just though of an idea - maybe I can organize a canning workshop with some friends, and ask someone from the local LDS church to come and talk to us about food storage. They might be willing to lend a canning machine to a group with a speaker.

Kathy said...

Very helpful post! Thanks! Our stake has a canner but I've been too apprehensive to try it out. Now I think I could give it a try! Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Wow, I've heard about this but never seen it actually done my someone. This is another area of food storage that seems really intimidating to me. Thanks for making it look so easy! I'll have to check out if I can borrow a canner from my stake.

brooke said...

Thank you so much for your blog. I have been totally overwhelmed at even the idea of STARTING any food storage. You make it seem easy to start. We are making a goal for the new year to get started.

I do have a question for your question/answer post. We live in a TINY condo (less than 1,000 square feet, no garage). We are busting at the seams, with only two closets in our entire house. I would love creative ideas on where to store food and water in tiny spaces. Also, I've seen them before but where could I get a hold of a list of recommended amounts for long term storage, ie how much rice, oats, wheat, etc. for two people?

Heather said...

Hannah, you most likely don't remember me, but I was in you and Garrett's ward at Glenwood years ago. Stumbled across this blog after you did a guest post of Light Refreshments Served. Love it. Thanks, you've been keeping me inspired on food storage!

The Jessee Journal said...

Thanks fore the mini-tutorial. I've had the sealer sitting in my house for two weeks now and I still haven't used it. I've been afraid I would do it wrong -- silly I know. We didn't receive any instructions and I've never used a sealer before. Finally I googled it and came across your blog. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

To Marcie: Hey there! Where did you get your canner???

Chels said...

Just curious, do you know of any other places besides the cannery that sell #10 cans? Great blog.

Unknown said...

Number 10 cans are fine, however are somewhat expensive and can only be used once.

A #10 can holds about 1 gallon (or 4 quarts)

Four everyday mason jars, with O2 absorbers, will do the same job without having to locate a machine and/or source of empty cans / lids.

The glass jars and seals can be used over & over. (as with Rotation of contents)

The expense/headache is less than dealing with metal cans and the outcome is just as long lasting, given the jars are not broken for whatever reason.