Canning Ingredients or Meals?

Home canned  tomato puree.Many of us rely on our gardens and livestock, and home canning to fortify our food stores.  For some of us, our canned goods are not only for the future, but are using them now.

The question is which is a best use of resources:  Canning meals in jars or canning ingredients in jars.  Is it better to can a meatloaf than it is to can the ingredients separately?  When one chooses to can 75 quarts of tomatoes, its a simple process with relatively few steps.  There is less chance for error.

However, in the event of a life changing event, will you be able to access all the ingredients for your favorite dishes?  Spices  for recipes we love come from all over the world.  If a global event causes a breakdown in transportation, those recipes go out the window.

RedFish was asking me what I thought about this the other day as she was considering which recipes to use for this year’s tomato crops. I didn’t know what to say.

One way, canning the ingredients, is much less work now and the canned goods are available to use in any manner as circumstances allow.  Preparing meals from these goods will be a bit more time consuming since we will need to prepare the various recipes.  We will be limited to spices and seasonings are available.  When the stored exotic ones run out, we will use what ever we can grow, find or barter for.

Food will certainly be more bland and monotonous.  Continual bland foods can contribute to depression during a prolonged period of life challenges.  Without seasoning, everything will start to taste the same.  No one wants to eat the same thing every day, week after week.

The other way, canning products as meals, complete with seasoning, is more work now and less work later. It is more expensive and time consuming now.  It will be nice to be able to open and heat a canned meal that tastes as good as it did when it was first prepared.  If those spices are no longer available, it will also be a great bartering tool.  People will long for the flavors they were accustomed to enjoying without thought.