The Canning Manifesto

A lot of people look at my canning projects and they shake their heads.  “Why would you work that hard when you can just go to the grocery store?”

The list of reasons is long and distinguished.

Most of all, I want our food to actually be food.

I don’t want to serve food-like substances, concocted in a factory after being created by chemists who throw around words like “mouthfeel” and “sodium ethyl parahydroxybenzoate”.  I don’t want to eat something that was chemically created, based on a little diagram of a wheel of flavors, to taste like another item, but offered in the altered form because it gives a higher profit margin to Kraft or Kellogg’s.

I don’t want to serve genetically mutated organisms that were begun in a petri dish at the labs of Monsanto.  A vast percentage of the foods at the grocery store, even those in the produce aisle, are the end result of a genetically sterilized seed that was also altered to contain pesticides and mutations that allow it to grow bigger, faster and more brightly colored.  GMO foods were not thoroughly tested before being rushed to the market by Monsanto in their desire to create a world food monopoly.  Laboratory animals in independent studies that are fed a GMO diet, develop multiple organ failure, sterility, greater allergic responses, high rates of offspring mortality and premature death.

I don’t want to serve items processed from the genetically modified corn and soy that infects more than 80% of the food in the grocery storeWith factors like cross-contamination and the food chain itself, almost 100% of grocery store foods are tainted with genetic modifications.

I can’t afford to hit the health food store for every bite we put in our mouths.  This is the source that comes to mind for most people when they think about “organic” or “natural” foods.  But for most of us this is financially out of reach. I can save money by getting locally grown foods when they are in season, cleaning them carefully and preserving them myself for the winter ahead.  This allows room in my budget for weekly grocery items like organic hormone-free milk.

Eating seasonally provides nutritional benefits.  I grow as much organic produces as I can on my small urban lot.  I supplement what I grow with produce from a couple of local farms, where I have been lucky enough to forge a relationship with the farmers.  Our food does not come from thousands of miles away, picked while green and left to ripen in a box.  It is picked and home-processed at the peak of its freshness as often as possible, conserving as many nutrients as we can for the winter ahead.

I refuse to consume the growth hormones, antibiotics and other medications that are given to factory farmed meat animals.I spend a little bit more money and buy our meats in bulk from a local Mennonite butcher shop.  They do not use any chemicals in the farming of their animals and the livestock is fed what livestock naturally eats – grass, hay, bugs and seeds.  Furthermore, the animals are farmed humanely, reducing hormones like cortisol that are released when any animal (two-legged or four-legged) is under stress.

Home-canned food is the fastest “fast food” around.  By preserving entire meals in jars, I can get a healthy and delicious meal on the table in a fraction of the time it would take to take the truck to a McDonald’s drive-thru and get the food home.  Quite literally, a pot of homemade soup is steaming in a bowl in less than 5 minutes.

Meal preparation time averages out to a very reasonable amount of time. The hands-on work that I put in to cooking our food for the rest of the year during the growing season is probably less hands-on time than I would take producing the same meals throughout the year, one meal at a time.  The reason for this is that I produce 8-16 meals at a time – perhaps 2 hours of preparation time and 2 hours of processing time when I am doing other things.  That is an average 20 minutes per meal, with half of that time NOT being spent in the kitchen – that time is spent just waiting for the food to cook.


This choice might not be for everyone.  It might not be for every meal.  If you don’t have a lot of interest in where your food comes from or what it contains, then it is definitely not the option for you.  But as someone who firmly believes that our nutritional choices are the basis for our overall long-term physical and mental health, as the parent of a child with allergies and chemical sensitivities, and as an activist who refuses to support the food monopoly and toxic practices of companies like Monsanto and Dow chemical, this is the choice for me.

Thanks for inspiring this post by asking the right question…you know who you are.  :)

About the author:

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Daisy Luther is a freelance writer and editor.  Her website, The Organic Prepper, offers information on healthy prepping, including premium nutritional choices, general wellness and non-tech solutions. You can follow Daisy on Facebook and Twitter, and you can email her at

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12 Comments  to  The Canning Manifesto

  1. veggimama says:

    great post, and great manifesto for providing food for your family!i’ve been asked why all the trouble as well… same reasons as well as the fact that it is a fond memory of my grandmother i keep with me every time i open a jar of jam or tomatoes etc. a tradition to be kept, and chemical, dye, additive free you just can’t find, even at the health food stores! keep canning!

  2. canadagal says:

    I just found your site yesterday & it’s great to find a Canadian site. It is beautifully done & very easy to navigate through. Congratulations!!!. I agree with many of your reasons for canning but another one is the wonderful warm feeling & good self esteem you get when you stand back & look at shelves of filled sealers in a variety of colours & textures & know we have a winter full of great eating no matter what nature throws at us. While winter roads have improved greatly over the years we still can have blizzards or icy roads that we would rather not go out in.

  3. Ropar says:

    Love the info here. I’m very interested in this, especially since I had my children, I’m just wondering how I go about learning how to do all this preserving. It seems very overwhelming to me. I don’t know where to start. But I am very eager to learn. A jumping off point would be great! :)

    • Daisy says:

      Jam! The very easiest thing to can is jam or jelly. Here’s a link. :)

      Absolute worst case scenario, if it doesn’t “set” properly, you have a fantastic ice cream or pancake topping.

      Please don’t hesitate to ask if you have any questions at all!

      ~ Daisy

      • Tena says:

        We make our own strawberry jam most years, but always make a couple of batches of strawberry syrup (on purpose) as well. Believe me when I say it’s hardly a worst case scenario. It’s great on pancakes/waffles or ice cream. We have a long Christmas pancake breakfast tradition – our topping choices always include local maple syrup, home-canned strawberry syrup and home-canned applesauce.
        If you want to be sure you get syrup, just leave out the pectin. Otherwise, can as for jam. Works like a charm.

  4. I am so impressed with your thoughtful articles and useful information. Although I canned as a child its another thing as an adult to try alone and your site has given me the push I needed. I now have my canning supplies (Walmart) and have water canned jam and spaghetti sauce. Next I’m going to try out my new pressure canner. After planting a container garden to get me started, I am preparing to build my raised beds. After that a goat or two for milk, bees for honey and chickens for eggs. I’ve started my “revolution”. God bless you for all the cool articles!

    • Daisy Luther says:

      Thank you very much! Please let me know how it goes and feel absolutely free to ask any questions you might have! :)


  5. Roberta says:

    Daisy, I found your website through being an avid reader of SHTFplan. Now, being a newbie to pressure cooking – and loving it, I’m also ready to venture into pressure canning. I’ve got all my supplies bought up. Your delightful website is giving me the confidence to forge ahead. I’ve even started a garden, with hopes of harvesting enough to can essentials like bush beans and tomatoes.

    Now, a question. I have an institution size can of peaches in heavy syrup (6+ lbs), which is “overkill” for 2 people.
    So, I’m wondering if I can safely re-package, using the water bath method. I’ve even considered using it for making jam. Is either advisable?

    If you can’t answer that, perhaps one of your readers can.

    • Daisy Luther says:

      Hi, Roberta! Welcome and thank you for the kind words! :)

      I would probably use the peaches for jam. You could even mix them with some other fruit, like blueberries, for a unique flavor. Reduce the sugar that your recipe calls for just a bit, since the peaches are in syrup. I don’t think it is advisable to repackage them, but I do not know this from experience.

      Pressure canning is really easy – you just have to get through the fear of blowing yourself up! I promise, you wont!

      Please feel free to ask if you have any other questions. I am happy to help!


      • Roberta says:

        Thank you for the warm welcome and input, Daisy!

        I’m ready to get rollin’ with the pressure canning….no worries now that I’m at ease with the pressure cooker. Just have to get around to unpacking the new p-canner. LOL

  6. Sue says:

    Hi Daisy, I am loving your site!
    Could you suggest a good guide to canning for dummies as I am new to this.
    I have always been a Big Mac kind of gal but as I now have neurological problems, liver damage ( I have always been tee total)a stomach ulcer and border line diabetes I am beginning to think this healthy eating lark might be on to something! : )
    This stuff I am eating must be lethal as by most peoples standards I have a healthy life style.
    Everyone I see around me in the super market looks sick. I think I will probably read your site like my life depends on it as I have a sneaky feeling it probably does.

    Thank you for what you do it is more important than you know.

    Bless you x

  7. cptacek says:

    It seems like every recipe has soooooo much sugar in it. Even pickles and things. How much sugar can I safely omit?

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