In a return to our culinary roots, Americans across the country – most notably millennials – are turning to home preserving this summer to preserve and savor all the delicious flavors of fresh grown produce. Research conducted by ORC International on behalf of the iconic Ball® brand canning line determined that nearly half of all millennials (49 percent) are interested in canning this summer and the primary reason is because they love cooking and canning seems fun (38 percent). This research also found that 68 percent of Americans would rather make their own fresh foods than purchase store bought. Here’s more on what Americans will be enjoying this season and beyond.
Pick a Pickle
Red state or blue state, it doesn’t matter because we’re all green! Almost everyone likes pickles (86 percent), especially Baby Boomers (90 percent). Dill has universal appeal, and is favored more than two to one over any other kind of pickle. Bread and butter comes in distant second (21 percent), though only 12 percent of millennials pick bread and butter pickles as their favorite.
Forty-one percent of Americans say their favorite way to eat pickles is on a sandwich or burger, though straight from the jar is a close second (39 percent). Interestingly, busy households with kids ages 13-17 are more likely to eat them right out of the jar (42 percent) versus on a sandwich (34 percent).
While nearly everyone knows you can pickle cucumbers (84 percent), the majority doesn’t know or think about pickling other foods. Most people (84 percent) didn’t know or think they could pickle crabapples, but the newly released 37th edition of the Ball Blue Book has over 30 recipes for pickling alone, including Crabapple Pickles.
Jam vs. Jelly
One indicator that we could all use a little more time getting to know our food is the jam versus jelly trivia question. A full one-third of Americans don’t know the difference between jam and jelly. Jam refers to a product made with cut or crushed fruit, while jelly refers to a type of clear fruit spread simply using the juice form of a fruit or vegetable.
Not surprisingly, 64 percent of canners know the difference, and regionally Midwesterners were more inclined to identify the correct answer (52 percent). Despite the confusion, 81 percent of Americans agree that homemade jam tastes better than store bought. In fact, for those planning to can this summer, strawberry jam is the most popular recipe (61 percent).
United States of Produce
Fruit reigns supreme for Americans as four out of five of American’s favorite summertime produce items noted were fruit: watermelons (32 percent), berries (18 percent), peaches (14 percent) and tomatoes (11 percent). Regionally, peaches are more popular in the West and South coming in second ahead of berries.
One great use for tomatoes is homemade fresh salsa, a perfect canning recipe for new and seasoned canners. While 91 percent of Americans eat salsa, preference on heat level is pretty split: Mild is preferred in the Midwest (36 percent), but hot is preferred in the South (24 percent) and West (22 percent). Millennials also like to spice it up and were significantly more interested in hot salsa than Baby Boomers (26 percent versus 17 percent).
Taste for Adventure
Along with a renewed interest in home canning, Americans are branching out as 47 percent expressed interest in some form of preserving food beyond canning, including dehydrating (26 percent), smoking (21 percent), brewing (15 percent) and cheese-making (13 percent). Again, millennials lead the pack in exploring homesteading activities and are even more likely to seek out DIY methods as a whopping 60 percent expressed interest.