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Home canning vs store-bought canned goods

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Is it any cheaper to can foods at home for use throughout the year vs buying canned? Or do people just do it because it's homemade and they control what goes in it?

I can understand that if you have the jars and all the reusable items you'd need, plus the food being canned, it's a whole lot cheaper. But what if you're buying peaches to can - is that cheaper to buy them and can them at home than to just buy them canned at the store?
post #2 of 11
I think it depends on what you normally buy. If you usually buy organic from the store, then home canning is definitely cheaper.

I honestly think it's cheaper anyway in the long run, even if you buy canned peaches in the stores for a very cheap amount.

As you said, if you already have the supplies (jars, lids, canner, garden, fruit trees)...it will be cheaper.

If you have to buy these items in order to can the first time...it will be more expensive for the first couple years, but eventually it will even out and save you money. These items are often found in good used condition at flea markets and garage sales, so your start-up costs could be minimal. (Lids have to be bought new each year).

We always have a large garden, but we have to purchase our fruit from nearby farms. I have found that it's pretty inexpensive when it's in season and we can save even more money by picking it ourselves. There are a few farms around here that let you pick for free if you volunteer your time on their farms, so you could get it for almost free by bartering your labor.

If you were considering time involved...canning is MUCH more expensive. LOL
post #3 of 11
I just remember that home canned food was SO GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD , I've been wanting to do home canning every time we have winter measl with canned veggies *haven't canned as an adult, so have no input on cost*
post #4 of 11
As for canning peaches, it depends upon how much you consume and what kind (organic).
For my family we go through corn a lot so it is cheaper for me to freeze lots of it.
I also can tomatoes, I find this to be cheaper and taste way better.
post #5 of 11
I freeze items. Like apples, peaches, blueberries and corn. I have never been taught how to can - there aren't too many items that I like home canned that would be worth the time and upfront costs. I don't like how mushy home canned green beans are.
post #6 of 11
Canning is almost always cheaper. Let's say a quart jar of canned peaches in the store is $2.00 (the smaller cans are $1, the name brand big jars are $3.50, so $2 average.) In season, I can easily find premium fresh peaches in bulk for $6 a bushel. A bushel of peaches makes several quarts. Once you have the jars, canning is a really good idea.

It gets even cheaper is you can items that require pressure canning such as spaghetti sauce, stews and soups.

There are some things I won't can. It just isn't worth it to me. For instance, we rarely eat jelly or jams so one session of canning my Concord grapes will last me years. I never can green beans. We never eat them. Same goes with peas.

I try to preserve foods according to how it works best for me to use them. Canning is the best combination of nutrition vs cost to store. Freezing is good for nutrition but it is the most expensive way to store food. Dehydrating is the least expensive way to preserve food but it is the worst for nutrition. Then there is long term cold storage (ie: in the garage with onions, garlic) but that usually results in the most waste.

In the end, I usually end up canning a lot of tomatoes. It is the easiest way to start canning and one product I know will be used up through the year.
post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone! I think I might scout out thrift stores and yard sales for canning supplies, and hit the library for some good reads on it.
post #8 of 11
I think I priced it last year -- maybe the year before and my canned peaches are about = to the store cost. On the other hand my canned peaches are about 100 times better than anything I have ever found in the store! I buy peaches.

Green beans, pickles, jams and jellies and anything else I might can is actually cheaper because 1. I grow most of it and 2. have had my jars and rings for several years now. Though I will say, my green beans last year were not very good.
post #9 of 11
I can cranberry sauce. I'm the only one who eats it so I made a batch and canned it in the little tiny, tiny jars. Normally most of a store bought can gets wasted and but in the small jars I have just the right amount and it will last me all year.

Canning definitely saves me money, because a can of cranberry sauce costs $1.50, whereas I paid $2 for a bag of fresh cranberries. I didn't have to buy my jars and stuff though, my grandma gave me them.
post #10 of 11
For the best and latest information on home canning, contact your University Extension office. They are wonderful. During canning season they even have a hotline you can call when you have questions. They also often offer how-to classes.
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