My name is Darlene Sharples, and I basically started what’s become a life-long passion for canning about 40 years ago at the age of 16 – when I was still in high school. We made some jam in Home Economics, and I really enjoyed it. My Grandma, who raised me, did canning – and I always wanted to learn so I bought my first canning guide in 1977 and started teaching myself.
From there, I bought my first pressure canner. I did more water-bath canning of pickles, jams, jellies and relishes than meals back then, but gradually got more into the pressure canning as my kids grew. I made more meals in jars because it was great to take a jar to work with me for my lunch. I got into dehydrating in the early 80's mainly for dehydrating beef jerky and fruits. I really got more into Prepping due to less income when my marriage ended, and my husband and I divorced about 12 years ago and prices were getting higher and higher in the stores – and more and more additives were being put in commercially-prepared food.
I wanted good, healthy food in which I knew the ingredients. Buying in bulk, then canning and dehydrating was a way I could save money, waste less food from things going bad in the refrigerator and almost always have healthy food available. Even if I was out of money, I had that back-up. If there was a power outage, I would not be devastated by losing a freezer full of food, because I would always have shelf-stable foods on hand.
What began as an interest 40+ years ago, became a hobby, then an avocation – and finally my passion. I am now a member of several On-line Prepping groups and a part-owner of a food preservation group called, “Food Preservation – Drying, Canning And More,” where I and others are there to answer any questions folks may have in order that they may learn to do food preservation properly and safely.
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Currently, I’m also writing a cook-book on Pressure-Canning. Right now there are the guidelines issued by the National Center for Home Food Preservation online website, several canning guides (Ball Blue Book Guide to Preservation or the Canadian version Bernardin Book of Food Preservation) and these are the rules and regulations that everyone follows and the basic instructions are included with Ball, Certo, Bernardin and various other supplies manufacturers. However, there is no one comprehensive source for Pressure-Canning recipes for actual, full meals – not just soup with meat & veggies, or chicken in broth. After a life-time of canning I am making this my ‘legacy’ project in the hopes that more people will come to realise that there is merit and better food-safety and CERTAINLY better nutrition in preparing your own foods.
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