To Can or Not to Can?

by GettingFreedom on November 9, 2011

When you’re trying to cook as many meals as you can at home, you find that you need more and more kitchen gadgets.  Or at least I did. ;)  Being the frugal person that I am, initially I had a very hard time shelling out money for those gadgets, when my goal was to save money, and not spend it. However, I’ve found that sometimes you’ve got to spend money, to make saving money easier.

Case in Point::  Kitchen Gadgets.

One of the top questions I am asked about is my variety of kitchen gadgets, and what I cannot live without in my frugal kitchen.  Over the next few weeks {or however long it takes me to run out of gadgets :)} I will share with you my favorite kitchen gadgets that help me to maintain a minimal grocery budget.

First up is one of my favorites-and probably the one that has saved me the most money.

My canning supplies.

When I first realized that home canning was something that I was interested in, I bought the water bath canner that is pictured on the right and later invested in the pressure canner {well hubby bought it as a Christmas gift}.  This time of year, many merchants have their canning supplies on sale–and you just might be able to score a deal.

In addition to my canning pots I use a funnel, magnetic wand and a jar lifter.  Neither of these are essential, per se, but they do make the process a bit easier.  Before purchasing them, I relied heavily on my awesome pouring skills {ha! more like my awesome wiping-the-edge-of-the-jar-skills}, my silicone oven mitt, and a pair of tongs.

Cost Breakdown

Oftentimes you can find canning supplies from garage sales, consignment stores, auctions or even on clearance at major retailers. Just keep your eyes open!  I have more canning jars than I will probably ever use at one time {although that would be one fantastic pantry!}, and I’ve probably only paid retail for half of them.  I’ve decided to do a cost breakdown of my out of pocket expenses for my canning supplies, versus what it would cost me for one years worth of buying canned goods.  This is obviously my best guesstimate, so may not be completely accurate, but will atleast give you number people like me something to compare to.

Water Bath Canner:: $8

Pressure Canner:: $90

Miscellaneous Tools:: $14

Jars:: $100 {our current stash is roughly200-250}

Lids for ONE canning season:: $60

Total:: $274

What would it cost to purchase one year worth of canned goods?

Roughly $365, based on 2 canned goods a night at 50¢/can.

More often than not the produce I use to can with comes from my very own garden, or bought on manager mark down at the grocery store for next to nothing.  According to the figures above, I break even in the first year, even if I were to spend $91 on produce.

Sounds like canning is a frugal kitchen must!

Want some canning inspiration? Check out these recipes and this post to help you get started.

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