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A Guide to Canning Garden Vegetables and Fruits

Justine writes from her home located in Michigan. Her interest in herbs led her to become a certified herbalist in February of 2019.

This article will provide some guidance on how to start canning summer fruits and vegetables to last for months!

This article will provide some guidance on how to start canning summer fruits and vegetables to last for months!

Canning Is Rewarding

Canning your own food can be a rewarding alternative to buying sometimes tasteless and bland vegetables from the supermarket.

If you are anything like me, I want my food to have flavor and buy homegrown or organic whenever possible. There is something about that summer sweet corn that just can't compare to the normal canned corn. A special taste to those vine-ripe tomatoes, a certain crispness to the freshly picked cucumbers, and a sweetness to home-grown strawberries that you just won't get any other time of year.

Let's discuss how you can preserve some of these staple foods, so your family can keep eating that summer flavor all winter long!

Gathering Supplies

Here are some supplies that you will need to begin to gather to prepare:

  • Canning jars: You can buy them new or reuse old jars as long as you boil and sanitize them. Some good places to look include your local Dollar Store, Amazon, thrift stores, or even Facebook Marketplace.
  • Canning jar lifter: These often come with rubber grips, making it easier to remove cans from the hot water bath. This is not a required item but makes the job easier.
  • Funnel: This helps keep the lips of the jar clean when filling, which will help ensure a better seal when you are finished.
  • Large pot with a lid: You will need either this or a pressure cooker for a hot water bath in which you need to finish the sealing process.
  • Spoon or ladle: This will help you transport the contents into the jars.

Some other kitchen staples you will need include:

  • Salt & pepper (I prefer sea salt and cracked pepper for pickling.)
  • White vinegar
  • Pickling spices
  • Sugar or stevia
  • Pectin (for jams and jellies)

Gathering Fruits and Vegetables

It's now time to start gathering up fruits and vegetables for your canning process.

First off, it's important to know what fruit and vegetables are plentiful in your area. For instance, here in Michigan, there is an abundance of tomatoes, peppers, and sweet corn. Find out what is in season in your area. Strawberries mostly can only be found here in Michigan in the spring, but in the fall there is an abundance of apples! We are also wrapping up our sweet corn season, so picking up a few dozen ears will be easy. Tomatoes are also abundant this time of year.

Places to Obtain Fruits and Vegetables

  1. Local farmers' markets
  2. Road-side stands
  3. Facebook Marketplace (or other Facebook groups in which people sell and trade their garden vegetables)
  4. Word of mouth (perhaps a friend of a friend.)

Remember, you are supporting your local community by shopping close.


Common Fruits and Veggies for Canning

Common Summer VeggiesCommon Summer Fruit

Sweet Corn


Green Beans










Cucumbers "Pickles"





Compile Your Favorite Recipes

Now that you have gathered together a whole bunch of different fruits and vegetables, you can begin to decide some different things to make.

  • Tomatoes and peppers can be combined to make salsa or simply prepared and canned on their own. I love to just can diced tomatoes to add to pasta recipes. I often use my canned tomatoes for goulash, adding to spaghetti sauces, and for starting soup bases.
  • Cauliflower can be canned alone or combined with peppers and onions and then canned similar to making pickles. You can use a white vinegar with some sea salt and cracked pepper to make an awesome base. This is one of my family's favorite go-to snacks—they eat it out of the jar with a fork.
  • Pickles lend themselves easily to a lot of different recipes out there. Whether you enjoy sweet or dill, pickles are a favorite around here, and we often add chopped up pickles to our egg salad.
  • Apples can be made into apple sauce, diced apples, or even apple pie filling before canning. We enjoy making homemade apple sauce, because we get to add the perfect amount of sugar or even make it with stevia for diabetics.
  • Berries can be used to make jams and jellies of all sorts, which is obviously my favorite part of summer. I love making mulberry jam, because you can't usually buy it in stores.

Canning Recipes

Let the Canning Begin!

You may decide to do a lot of canning in one day, or make a weekend out of it. Preparing everything takes time and goes quicker with a helper, of course. Grab a friend and tell them you will exchange canning goods for their time. Or do like I do and grab a cocktail or two (or three, hey, I don't judge) and put on that music that makes you vibe! Happy canning!


Bhattuc on August 31, 2020:

An excellent guide. Very useful. Thanks.

Justine Nalbach (author) from Michigan on August 25, 2020:

Thank you Liza! I just finished up some tomato sauce from the garden last night. Happy Canning to you!

Liza from USA on August 25, 2020:

Canning vegetables is such a great way to preserve the vegetables from the garden. I need to do this before the summer ends. Thank you for sharing the suggestions and tips, Justine.

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