Freezing and canning your fruits and vegetables for the winter saves a LOT of money…but getting started can COST a lot of money too. There are some supplies that you just have to have. Almost all of the supplies you need are “one time only” purchases, so if you have to pay full price, you will get your money back on it eventually if you continue to preserve food through the years.
But…if you plan on going to garage sales or auctions this summer…here are a few things to keep your eye out for so that you can try to get a better deal:
Jars. Jars…jars…and more jars.
Jars are a must if you plan on doing any canning. Not a lot of people do much canning anymore, so they are ready to get rid of their jars. I’ve seen big boxes of them for super cheap at garage sales. I buy all I can get my hands on anytime I see them for a good price. I don’t even need anymore jars (I have over 300!), but I have friends who need them so I still grab them when I see them at a sale!
My favorites are the “wide mouth” jars, which tend to cost more at the store. I consider it to be a big score if I find wide mouth jars at a garage sale.
And…here’s a little tip I learned from a friend of mine (who likes jars almost as much as I do): If you see a box of jars at a garage sale…ask the owner if they have any more jars anywhere they’d like to get rid of. When my friend did this…the lady hosting the sale went down to her basement and brought up bunches of boxes of jars she was happy to part with! It NEVER hurts to ask!!!
Hot Water Bath Pot
If you’re just going to be canning in small pint sized jars, you can use a big soup pot. (The water has to be high enough to cover your jars as you process them.) But, if you’re canning in quart sized jars you’ll need a Hot Water Bath Pot. It’s just the right size to hold seven quart sized jars.
My dad found two of them for me at an auction once for about a dollar. At that time, I hadn’t even learned to can yet…but that was motivation for me to learn!!
If you have a cherry tree or know someone who does…it saves a lot of time (and broken teeth) if you take out the pits with a cherry pitter. Mine is probably an antique, but it works great and saves me a lot of time!
I usually make my applesauce in a blender, but if you prefer to leave your peelings on your apples…cook them down, then run them through a food mill like this one. I have one and while it takes quite a bit of muscle to get a big batch of applesauce made, it’s yummy!
In my opinion, a wide mouth funnel is a must-have for canning. I use mine ALL THE TIME. I paid full price for mine through Azure Standard and it was well worth it. But, I wouldn’t mind a second (or third) one, so I’m keeping my eye out for them at garage sales.
Okay, you probably won’t find these at garage sales, but while we’re on the subject of saving money while you preserve food, I recommend stocking up on quart and gallon sized freezer bags when they’re on sale and when you have coupons. Two tips: Only use freezer bags for freezing produce. Regular storage bags won’t cut it. And…stick with name brand Ziplock bags for produce. I won’t tell you about the time I made real apple cider and froze it in generic freezer bags. Let’s just say everything in my freezer was sticky for six months and I lost a lot of my apple cider. :(
Have you found any great deals at garage sales and auctions for canning jars and etcetera? What else am I forgetting to mention that we should be looking out for at garage sales?
This post is linked to Frugal Fridays.