Friday, September 11, 2009

Frugal Find Friday--Canning Edition

Since we are in full on canning mode in most parts of the country, I thought it only right to feature a recent frugal find that has to do with food preservation.

As you may have read yesterday I have recently been blessed with produce from relatives in South Dakota and Wisconsin. I've also been able to find produce through some friendly freecycle folks. (I'm doing another pickup later in September!) I've even been busy supporting our local famer's market. All this wonderful bounty has been being enjoyed and also preserved to make sure we can enjoy it for many months to come.

When canning often the 'other' ingredients and tools are often the most expensive part of the recipe. I was lucky to get some quart jars and two dozen or so pint and 1/2 pint jars from my mom's huge stash. I found another dozen pint jars at a rummage sale for $1. They were still in their original box and had perfect rings on them and they were at least 30 years old! The other great find was completely accidental. My manager at work was getting ready to move from a good sized house to a smaller town home. She had three boxes of jars---was I interested? They were headed to the dump if I didn't take them and as they were originally her grandmother's she'd like to find them a good home. I was VERY interested! I was excited to see that the boxes were almost completely filled with pint jars.

I grew up canning with my mom and 98% of what we canned went into quart jars. I'm finding that I like using pints at this point. We are a smaller family and they just seem less overwhelming than the quarts. Now, if I EVER find tomatos and get to can those they are going in quarts. Hopefully lots and lots and lots of quart jars. For the things I've done so far I really like using the pint jars the best. And nothing is more frugal than dozens and dozens of free pint jars!

I've been fortunate to really stock up on sugar when it was $.99/ 4 lb bag and I found some vinegar for $1.50 a gallon. I've gotten dill from my grandparent's garden. I did have to spend a little money on pickling salt ($2) and pickling spices ($2.12). The lids I've bought at Wally World and they are $1.50 for 12 lids. I have two pots--the big one was a second hand gift from my mom and the little one I bought years ago and just held onto it. I am still looking for a metal ladle, but the jar lifter, rack and funnel were in with the big pot my mom gave me. My canning colanders were wonderful rummage sale finds! I spent $8 for two of them and haven't yet decided if I'm going to sell one or keep them both.

Canning can be as expensive or as frugal as you make it and I am happy to report that ours is staying pretty frugal! Put the word out that you are canning and it is amazing what will come into your life. And don't forget the internet when it comes to finding easy, wonderful recipes to can!

Any frugal finds in your life? Have a great Friday!


  1. Heather, you should have links to your great canning posts in this post! Anybody reading - go to Heather's sidebar NOW and click on her canning category!!

    Thank you so much for the reminder that canning doesn't have to be so expensive - especially now that so many people are getting out of it. (Though I think a number are reconsidering and getting into it, too!) Since I work for the newspaper, I can get free ads every now and then and so I put in an ad requesting jars. Haven't heard anything yet, but I'm hopeful. :>)

    My colander was also a cheap find, though it didn't come with the wooden roller. The one I found doesn't quite match (not tall enough) . . . guess I need to keep looking. It's also cracked in a few places, and I worry about bacteria growing in there.

    Wish you lived closer - I'd hook you up with some of the tomatoes that are coming out my ears. :>)

  2. You are so sweet! I did plan to do that and will have to go back and do so since you asked so nice :)

    I'd love to share in those tomatoes...and you could even use my canning colanders. Oh, darn distance between states.

    I have no doubt that you'll find jars. It took me some time too, but they do show up in the oddest places.


  3. My lovely mother gave me a TON of jars (our family of 2 finds pints easier too), some of them are so pretty! They are as old as the 125 year old farm house my parents live in! We got a ton of apples free from a neighbor (6 quarts of sauce), and my mom brought up 15 pints of pears for me! she canned some free from a work friend. We are lucky to find eggs in the neighbor hood too! organic/free range for $1-2 a dozen! Beats the $4.50 in the stores!