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Rekindling the lost art of food preservation

From canning to dehydrating to freezing, Canadians are regaining interest in preserving our fall harvest to munch on through the winter

Dramatic displays of canning jars have not been seen on grocer’s floors for a few decades now.

Although home-canners can still find them at most retailers, they generally have to do some asking around.

The question for retailers is whether home-canning is something to capitalize on or something to forfeit in lieu of more profitable items, like convenience foods?

Are Canadians still willing to invest their time in food preservation or do they want food manufacturers to do the work for them?

Home food preservation is regaining popularity and how-to workshops are popping up in cities across the country. Although making jars of jams and pickles seems like a time-consuming project, as many as one in five Canadians are embracing the ‘slow-food’ aspect of this lost art.

Much of this focus comes from the trend of supporting local foods. Most of our Canadian crops are only available for a few short months of the year, so to maintain one’s ‘locavore’ status year-round, preserving these crops is the only option.

In this day and age, preserving is not limited to canning.

Electric food dehydrators are easy to purchase and use, but still don’t compare to the ease of the freezer! Simply buy some freezer bags, process some fruits or veggies and store for up to 6 months. Some of the best crops to capitalize on are tomatoes, berries and leafy greens.

At this time of the year, when retailers are creating large displays of these plentiful produce items, it’s worthwhile to plant the seed of preservation with customers.

Cross-merchandise freezer bags and canning jars with produce displays and incent customers to dramatically increase their purchase volume by recommending they preserve the local crop all winter.

Consider displaying simple recipes, cookbooks or instruction guides for those that are new to home food preservation.

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