Preserving foods can help save money, too

Posted at 2:29 PM, Jun 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-09 19:45:31-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Millions of people were financially affected by COVID-19. Now, Americans are looking for ways to cut costs and make foods last longer.

Local farmer Michelle Weaver said people should freeze or can food if they are looking to save food for a long period of time.

Weaver and her family own From the Garden, a business where they sell veggies, baked and canned goods at farmers markets. She said when the novel coronavirus pandemic hit, their business grew.

"When the grocery stores were actually out of stuff, business just exploded because we actually had food," she said.

Quickly people took notice of her canned goods and began asking for her advice.

"Initially, it is a big expense, but then it pays for itself," she said.

A few of the most popular items include a BBQ sauce, salsa, pickled beets and jams.

Weaver said it isn't difficult to can foods, just expect to spend some time in kitchen.

"It’s like an assembly line," she said. "But from beginning to end it’s between three to four hours to do anything like that."

For her salsa, she said just throw in all of your vegetable ingredients and let it cook on the stove for a couple hours. Then pour into as many cans as possible, hand-seal it and put in boiling water for 20 minutes. After that is complete, let it cool, and store it.

She said her jams and preserves have the same process: cook fruit with sugar and pectin. Let it heat over the stove for a few hours, can the entire pot, and set each sealed can in a boiling pot of water for 15 minutes.

Once the cans are out of the boiling pot, the top seal should pop.

This method is an easy way to tell that your cans are properly sealed, and free of outside contaminants.

Her tip for storing canned goods is simple.

"Don’t put it in a garage, don’t put it in a shed, don’t put it somewhere where the temperature is going to be going up and down, up and down, because it will unseal and then bacteria can get in and you can make yourself sick," she said.

Weaver says frozen goods can last up to six months, and canned goods can last up to 18 months.