Saturday, June 30, 2012
Save Money by Oven Canning Dry Goods
Back in February, I was asked to do a demonstration on making laundry soap at a friend's church for their woman's group. The theme for the evening was frugality--saving money. (The soap demo went well--I did the Ivory soap in the microwave thing. If you've never tried that, you need to! Your kids will love it!)
But I digress. :-)
That night, my friend, Ruth, passed out copies of a magazine article about canning dry goods in your oven. I call it Dry Canning. I made sure to keep this little treasure because I could see how you could save quite a bit by buying things at an exceptionally good price and keep it stored without fear of spoilage--or the little creepy crawlies that like to invade things like flour and cornmeal.
Here are the basic instructions for Dry Canning:
--Use clean jars, of course.
--Fill the jars, leaving about .5 inch headspace.
--Heat the oven to 200 degrees.
--Put the jars on a cookie sheet/s, Fill it up as much as you can.
--Go do something fun for an hour. Read a book. Paint your nails. Save the world.
--After an hour, take the jars out one at a time. Working quickly, wipe the rims with a damp cloth. Put the lid and the ring on the jar, and tighten. Place on a towel or cooling rack.
--The jars will seal, but I've never heard them "ping". However, the lids do not pop up--they just don't seal quick enough to make a noise.
When they're cool, write the name and date on the lid with a permanent marker. I also put any directions like to make rice you mix one part rice, two parts water, then boil for 15 minutes covered. Make up your own shorthand that makes sense to you.
Store them in a dry place that doesn't usually get over 75 degrees.
That's all you have to do! According to the magazine article, these will last for 20-30 YEARS!
What can you can in the oven?
You can even dry can almonds and pecans. Walnuts will not keep because of the amount of oil in them.
I've wondered if you could can popcorn, but haven't tried it yet. :-) I may also try dried milk--I use it for cooking.
So, how did this work in my little world?
It just so happened that I had a dozen half-gallon canning jars in the garage--still shrink-wrapped. I got them from a woman who was moving out of state and just wanted things gone.
I bought a 25-pound bag of flour at Sam's Club for $7.49. It filled 9 of the half-gallon jars, plus topped off my canister.
Breaking it down into 5-pound increments (which is how I'd usually buy flour) makes each $1.50. A five-pound bag of flour at Sav-a-Lot is $1.99. You can probably find it for less if you're good at couponing and watching for sales. This also doesn't take into account the cost of the jars or the membership price for Sam's Club, but that's not really the point today. Just get dry goods at the best price you can, stock up, and then protect them from spoiling.
If you have to go out and buy jars new at the store, you probably won't realize much savings--especially at first. However, if you have jars, or access to jars, or can find them at yard sales, you'll feel less pinch in your pocketbook when you get started.
Keep in mind that the prices of items are always rising. If you can buy a good supply at a good price, it's like locking that price in for the future.
I also like knowing that I have a few reserves of things we use all the time. They aren't taking up freezer space (I previously kept extra flour in the freezer.), and I don't have to worry about tasting freezer burn or a power outage.
If you'd happen to have a jar that doesn't seal, just put it in your pantry and use it. You may be able to can it again, although I haven't had to try it yet.
Leave a comment if you have a question. I'd love to hear how it works for you, too!
This week I'm linking at....