For those of you who don't know, I have been doing a lot of home canning lately, and there is more to come! While growing up my mom always canned food from our garden and then we got to eat it all winter long. She would can green beans, carrots, pickles, peaches, pears, syrup and jams just to mention a few. I never had any interest in helping, that was too much work! I often wondered why she spent so much time and energy doing it too. I thought it was mainly to save money because it can be far less expensive than buying those products in the store. When I became a mom I started doing some of my own canning. I have actually come to kind of enjoy it.
The obvious benefit of home canning is saving money, but there is an added benefit that I hadn't thought about until this summer. Have you ever noticed the difference between home canned peaches and store bought canned peaches? Or syrup? To me there is an obvious taste difference, and a big part of that difference is the amount and type of sugar that is used in the canning process! Canning uses a lot of sugar!
A couple of weeks ago I started looking at possibly using sugar substitutes in my canning endeavors. It started while I was making maple syrup. The syrup just tasted really sugary to me. I wondered if I could make syrup with less sugar, or with a substitute. Well I decided that it would be more expensive to use a substitute and would probably negate the cost benefit of canning it myself. So instead I cut the sugar down by a quarter. That tasted better but I thought I could cut it down more. So I cut it in half! YUM! You get so much more of the actual maple flavor that way.
My mom told me that she had cut the sugar for the berry syrup by 1/3 this year and still liked it so I followed suit. I love it! I also made my own applesauce, and I didn't use any sugar at all! I haven't canned my peaches and pears yet, but when I do I will be cutting the sugar down in those also.
So what is the hidden benefit of home canning? You get to make it healthier! That is my tip of the day! If you are canning food this year look at how much sugar you use. See if there is a way to cut it down, or substitute something healthier that will still preserve and help sweeten the food you are canning! If you don't do your own canning you may want to look into it! I don't feel so guilty having pancakes and syrup often when I have canned the syrup and I know how much is natural berry juice!