2 times when canning is a bad idea

It's true.
Jars of homemade preserves

Canning is the practice of preserving food in jars or cans. Even when it’s in a jar it’s still referred to as canning. This method of preserving food is time-tested and vital to a sustainable homestead.

Anyone can do it, but make sure the fun of it all doesn’t cloud the need to eat a balanced diet and stay practical.

Canning is a bad idea when:

1. When it introduces unneeded sugar into your daily diet. 

Orange cinnamon marmalade

I am so guilty of this! I rarely eat jam, but I feel obliged to eat it when I make some from “found fruit”. I think in this case I would be better to just eat the fruit or bake some muffins with it rather than turn it into a beautiful jar of love.

Jams and jellies contain more sugar than fruit.

Sugar preserved fruit is junk food and should be eaten in moderation.  Easier said than done, so best for me to just not have it around!

2. When you are canning things you wouldn’t normally eat just because you got a good deal.

You save 100% of the money you don’t spend so ask yourself if this good price is a really a good deal for your household.

It’s ok to walk away from good deals.

It’s ok to walk away from free food.

Canners know that even free food isn’t free once we factor in the other ingredients, our hours of labour, electricity, jars, and new lids each time.

Only can foods you will use. The term “use” could also include giving jars as gifts because you are using them in place of another purchase. Ask yourself if anyone else will eat it, and be realistic, before making food as a gift.

My orange cinnamon marmalade is a perfect example of this. All the jars are still on the shelf. I have never in my life purchased marmalade so I don’t know why I made it. Well I do know why. The orange peels looked so pretty and I thought it would be cool to make something from it. It is yummy but I don’t eat marmalade so it was a total waste of time and money. I wasted cinnamon, sugar, pectin, lemon juice, water , discs, electricity, and hours of my life. I want to say lesson learned but who knows what idea will overtake my reasoning next.

People go off the deep end with canning because it is socially acceptable to overdo and overspend under the guise of frugality and practicality.

Canners need to exercise restraint. Daily. Maybe even hourly. The feeling gleaned from socking food away for later is empowering and exciting so stay strong and never acquire food on a whim or impulse.

When canning is a good idea:

The rest of the time! Canning is a great way to preserve perishable food and reduce our dependence on appliances for food storage.

Read how to start canning your own food here.


What are your rules to live by for canning?

How do you stay calm in the face of an unneeded bargain?


  • Show Comments (2)

  • Kimberly | My Frugal Farmstead

    Canning is not a cheap endeavor when you’re getting started. Jars are expensive! Once you have enough, it’s cheap to just have to buy lids (I got mine in bilk for 15 cents apiece). When I give mine as gifts I like to make a cute tag, and on the back of it I always add something along the lines of “We are able to reuse the jars and bands. If you don’t have a use for them yourself we would happily take them back”

    • shanniebananie

      I totally agree! Jars are expensive. I was joking with someone the other day that I should take a deposit for the jars. I love the idea of doing a cute tag to ask for them back!

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