Home Canning—Why Can Foods?

Canning can be a safe and economical way to preserve quality food at home. Disregarding the value of your labor, canning homegrown food may save you half the cost of buying commercially canned food. Canning favorite and special products to be enjoyed by family and friends is a fulfilling experience and a source of pride for many people.

Preserve Nutrients By Canning Fresh Produce

Many vegetables begin losing some of their vitamins when harvested. Nearly half the vitamins may be lost within a few days unless the fresh produce is cooled or preserved. Within 1 to 2 weeks, even refrigerated produce loses half or more of some of its vitamins. The heating process during canning destroys some of the vitamins such as vitamins A and C, thiamin, and riboflavin. Once canned, additional losses of these sensitive vitamins can occur with time. The amounts of other vitamins, however, are only slightly lower in canned compared with fresh food. If vegetables are handled properly and canned promptly after harvest, they can be more nutritious than fresh produce sold in local stores.

The advantages of home canning are lost when you start with poor quality fresh food, when jars fail to seal properly, when food spoils, and when flavors, texture, color and nutrients deteriorate using prolonged storage.

Excerpts from the "Complete Guide to Home Canning." First published: January, 1993. Updated: 2015.
Courtesy of the National Center For Home Food Preservation