Preserving Food at Home Can Be Rewarding but Costly

Can I Save Money by Preserving Food At Home? You may be thinking of canning and freezing food to help beat rising food costs, but preserving food at home may or may not save you money.  Some things to consider when deciding whether or not it will help you cut costs are:

Cost of the food you want to preserve and any additional ingredients such as sugar, spices, and pectin – how much you spend for food depends on where you get it. Grocery stores are usually the most expensive places to buy food. Produce can be less expensive when you buy it in season from farmer’s markets, roadside stands and U-pick farms. If you want to grow your own food, you will need to consider the time and energy you will spend in maintaining a garden plus the cost of equipment, fertilizers, seeds, water and tools. The cost of added ingredients with home-canned foods may be minor in the case of vegetables, to major in jams, jellies and some pickles.

Cost of equipment and supplies including canners, freezers, jars, lids, containers, utensils and other necessities – If you already have the equipment needed or can share equipment with another home food preservation enthusiast, the cost will be much less than if you are new to preserving food at home and need to purchase equipment. However, if you continue to use the equipment for years to come, the cost of those items diminishes.

The additional cost of using more water, gas or electricity is another consideration. When canning or freezing, you will use more of these utilities both during the process and in the case of freezing, also during storage.

There are many reasons for preserving food at home. Some have to do with trying to save money. Others may have to do with satisfaction, creativity or family tradition. 

For more information about the cost of preserving food, visit:

http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/foodnut/08704.html

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