Is it Worth Canning Berries?

When I clicked on my stats page today, the above phrase came up as a google search.  I decided to answer this random searcher’s question directly. . .

Yes, it IS worth canning berries!

In a recent post, I calculated how much my home-canned strawberry jam cost versus an organic strawberry jam at the grocery store.  By my calculations, canning a dozen jars of jam saved me $30 a year.

Now, how is saving a mere $30 worth a whole day’s effort picking berries and canning them?

What is important to remember is that canning fruit can save you on more categories than just jam. Sure, you may say to yourself, “I doubt I’ll even USE twelve jars of jam in a year.” However, check out some of the other ways you can save money by canning preserves:

  • Save money on yogurt.  Rather than buying all those little pots of yogurt, buy one big container of plain yogurt.  Then, stir preserves into your daily portion.  You can eat it at home or on the go.  I love it because I get a much fresher taste than from the regular “fruit on the bottom” variety.  Organic yogurt is $4.00 for 32 ounces while the cups are $1 per 6 ounces. That’s about $1.20 a week for me. Annual savings: $62.40.
  • Save money on oatmeal.  Here too, don’t buy those pre-packaged packets with dried-up fruit.  Buy the large container of oats.  You can make it in the microwave in three minutes (I use equal portions of oats and milk).  Then, at the end, stir in your favorite preserves.  I made a batch of spiced apples that are absolutely wonderful stirred into oatmeal.  Again, ten times better than what you’ll buy in the store. The carton I buy has 30 servings for $2.40 versus $10.50 for 30 packets. I go through a carton in about two months.  Annual savings: $48.60.
  • Save money on ice cream toppings.  No need to buy that artificial strawberry syrup from the store.  Top your ice cream with a serious dollop of jam and some whipped cream.  Heavenly! The good toppings are about $2.50 a jar at my store. Annual savings: $10.
  • Save money on Sunday brunch.  Rather than going out for a fancy Sunday brunch, whip up some crepes at home (Julia Child’s crepe recipe is perfect!).  Put out several bowls of preserves, some Nutella, and more whipped cream, and watch the happiness spread across the table.  We had a crepe extravaganza with rhubarbs, strawberry preserves, and mullberries.  It was amazing! Just do this four times a year, and annual savings: $120.
  • Save money on hostess gifts.  Everyone loves a homemade gift.  Especially if you do a batch of preserves that is rather uncommon, like the delicious rhubarb/grapefruit preserves I made this year. If I give away six jars, then annual savings: $120.  (figure $20 for a nice bottle of wine.)
  • Now, look at our annual savings: $391! That’s some hard-working jam!

I can for several reasons: to support local farms, to ensure quality ingredients, and to feel a connection to the generations of my family who did the same thing.  A few nights ago, the husband needed a quick late-night snack.  I have to say whipping up some oatmeal for him and offering him the choice of apple, peach, or strawberry preserves was pretty darn satisfying!  However, I also can local produce because it really does save some serious money!  If you’re considering it, don’t just consider an “apples to apples” comparison.  Think of the many other ways you’ll save money by running a more efficient, self-sufficient pantry!

3 responses to “Is it Worth Canning Berries?

  1. i couldn’t agree more! i just made my first few jars of strawberry jam a few weeks ago and i LOVE it. my husband loves it. my friends love it. and i plan to make more to give away for christmas to our family members 🙂

  2. mydailydollars

    Great tiffanie! I’m so glad it worked for you. If peach and apple seasons are on the horizon for you, be sure to try them as well. I think spiced apple preserves are my absolute favorite!

  3. Pingback: Best of the Blogroll and Carnivals: Friday Edition « My Daily Dollars

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