Canning time is upon us! My mom canned a little bit when I was a tiny lass until she had a major canner explosion and was scared ever since. So I really didn't see anyone can or preserve food when was I was younger, and didn't know anyone who did it when I became an adult. At least if they did, it was a well kept secret, and it wasn't until a couple of years ago that my good friend Tricia showed me how to do it. I had always preserved simply by freezing or drying up to that point, but now I'm a canning convert.
Canning parties are gaining popularity right now, especially with folks in the city. Canning fresh, organic foods in season is the only way to truly obtain the best foods possible for your family through the winter months. You could certainly buy foods out of season, but that also means it's been picked while green, shipped and trucked thousands of miles--using tremendous resources we can hardly afford anymore--and it's usually pretty bland in taste.( Folks who have never tasted a fresh tomatoe right out of the garden have no real idea of how a true vine ripened tomatoe tastes.) You can buy factory canned food, loaded with salt, preservatives, and other things unpronounceable, but common sense, science, and our doctors are telling us now that these processed foods are not good for us.
Before you start canning, you must know how to can. I would recommend you get the Ball Complete Guide to Preserving. If you are getting a new canner, read the guide thoroughly. If you are using a used canner, and it doesn't have a guide, please make sure you are either a seasoned canner, or you can call the manufacturer and ask for a book. If you don't know what your are doing, or you do some steps incorrectly, you can run the serious risk of hurting or making sick yourself or others you feed.
You can can and preserve with honey! Most canning manufacturers say you can substitute up to half the sugar called for in a canning recipe with honey. If you were to use all honey, which some do, it will make your finished product much darker, and can cause some issues with any pectin you are using, but you be the judge. In recipes using a commercial pectin, you can replace regular sugar with up to 1 cup of honey with good results. Otherwise, substituting honey for sugar is all a matter of taste.
Try this applesauce recipe for canning. Follow YOUR manufacturer's directions for canning with YOUR canner.
Applesauce with Honey
16 c apples- peeled, cored, cut up
1 c water
2 t lemon juice
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t allspice
Start with 3 T honey, up to 1/4 c of honey to your taste
Put apples, lemon and water in pot, bring to boil and cook until soft. Add the honey and spices at the end, cooking a few more minutes. Either smash with wooden spoon if desiring chunky, or put in blender if desiring a smoother texture. Follow your manufacturer's guide to canning. Can be frozen in containers with good results as well.
Here's a couple of recommended resources for more information: Canning and Preserving Without Sugar by Norma McRae and Putting It Up with Honey by Susan Geiskopf.