Although the purchase of a can sealer and metal cans for home use is not economically feasible for most people there is one way that it can be. This is by pooling community resources to purchase the equipment and supplies. It may even, in fact, not be necessary to form your own community to do this. If you live in the right area your local Latter Day Saints church may have facilities they will allow you to use. They may even have suitable food products to sell you. This is an offshoot of the church's welfare programs and it is done in their family canneries. Rather than using plastic buckets they have gone over to using metal cans church-wide for dry-pack canning. By sharing the cost of the equipment and purchasing the cans in bulk quantities, they are able to enjoy the advantages of metal cans over plastic containers while minimizing the disadvantages of cost. As we approach the end of the Millennium, other groups, both religious and secular, are purchasing can sealers in order to facilitate their own food storage programs as well.
--- Please see VI.F.1 Organizations. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints -- LDS Family Canneries for more detailed information about where LDS Family Canneries may be found and how best to approach using them. ---
Any food products you want to have sealed in cans will need to fall within the LDS cannery guidelines of suitability for that type of packaging. This is for reasons of spoilage control since many types of foods just aren't suitable for just sealing in a container without further processing. If you purchase food products from them, they will already be within those guidelines. A brief treatment of these guidelines may be found in VI.F.1 LDS Family Canneries Guidelines.
Once you have your foodstuffs on hand, either supplying your own or by purchasing them from the cannery you're ready to package them. It is here that using some forethought concerning your packaging system can save you much time and aggravation. With the Millennium coming upon us the traffic load on the canneries has picked up and in some areas has overloaded them. This means that access time to the can sealers and other equipment may be limited.
IMPORTANT NOTE: With the onset of the millennium the LDS family cannery volunteers are becoming quite busy so be prepared to have to work with their available scheduling. In the earlier part of this year (1999) most Family Canneries were not able to allow access to non-LDS members but reports have been coming in that some canneries are now allowing non-member use once more. You'll have to investigate yourself to determine if your local cannery is one of these. Please do keep in mind that the individuals responsible for the family canneries are all volunteers with demands on their time from many areas. Be courteous when speaking with them and, if there are facilities for use, flexible in making arrangements to use them. You will, of course, have to pay for the supplies that you use, cans and lids at the least, and any food products you get from them. As a general rule they cannot put your food in storage for you. Be ready to pay for your purchases in advance. They do not take credit cards and probably cannot make change so take a check with you.
The following is a list of suggestions to make the most efficient use of your access time:
#1 - Make your appointment well in advance. If you are a non-LDS member be sure to ascertain whether you are allowed to use the facilities. Possibly you may be able to go with a church member if you cannot go yourself. Many people are trying to make use of the canneries so making advanced reservations is a must.
#2 - Have enough people to set up an assembly line type operation. Make sure each of your people knows what they need to do and how to do it. At least four people for any serious amount of food is a good number. Ask the cannery volunteer to go over the process with you and your crew.
#3 - Make sure you have enough muscular helpers to do the heavy lifting so you don't wear yourself out or hurt your back. Some of the supplies you will be working with, such as wheat, come in fifty pound bags and a box of #10 cans full of sugar or other weighty items are heavy.
#4 - Make labels for any foods you bring with you to pack that the cannery does not carry in advance. This will save time after the cans are filled.
#5 - Take out only as many as oxygen absorbers as you can seal up in fifteen minutes. They use up most of their capacity within two to three hours depending on temperature and humidity. You don't want them to waste any by soaking up the oxygen in the room. The ones you don't use up right away should be tightly sealed in a gas proof container.
#6 - Save powdery food items such as dry milk powder, pudding mixes and grain flours and meals till last. They can be messy to can and this will keep them out of your other foods.
#7 - Leave time to clean up after yourself. They are doing you the courtesy of allowing you to use their equipment and selling you the supplies at cost. You should return the favor by leaving the place at least as clean as you found it. If they give you a set amount of time to work in then finished or not honor that time slot. Others are probably waiting to use the equipment too.
#8 - Always keep in the back of your mind just how much volume and weight your vehicle can carry. You'd hate to find you canned more than you could carry home.
*See also II.C.2 Preventing Corrosion of Canned Goods.*
Misc.Survivalism FAQs maintained by Alan T. Hagan, firstname.lastname@example.org
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