This time of year I love the abundance of fresh fruit and produce. Peaches, plums, apples, corn, raspberries, etc.— I just can’t get enough! I’ve recently fallen in love and I love that it allows me to enjoy fresh produce year round.
Canning can be a little intimidating at first (I’ve been there), but armed with a little bit of knowledge and a nudge in the right direction, you’re on your way to canning at home successfully! Let’s learn how…
Getting Started— What You’ll Need
I’ve got a post of my favorite canning tools coming up later this week, but to get you started, here’s the basics of what you’ll need:
The Canning Process
Do the canning instructions in recipes confuse you? Here’s a quick how-to that will hopefully demystify the process of water bath canning.
Step 1: Wash and sterilize the jars and lids in boiling water. Remove from the water and set aside until you need them.
Step 2: Prepare your food for canning. Make sure to read through the recipe completely before you begin and follow the recipe precisely. Canning is a science, and successful preservation of food and improvisation do not mix!
Step 3: Pour hot food into hot jars. If the jars are too cool, the dramatic change in temperature when you add the hot food could cause the glass the break.
Follow the headspace (the amount of air between the lid and the top of the food inside the jar) recommendations in each recipe. This allows space for the expansion of food during processing and creates a vacuum once the food has cooled. Find more information on headspace here.
Wipe the rims clean of any food or liquid with a wet paper towel. Top with lids and screw on the rings.
Step 4: Process jars in boiling water according to the recipe instructions. During this time any microorganisms that can spoil the food are destroyed.
Processing times vary depending on the density of the food, how it is packed, the shape and size of the jars and the altitude of your kitchen. Recipes indicate processing time at sea level. If you life at a higher altitude you will need to adjust your processing time. Find more information on canning at high altitudes here.
Be sure to start the timer only when the water returns to a full rolling boil and make sure the jars are completely submerged the entire time. When the processing time is up, remove jars from the water immediately.
Step 5: Let cool and store in a cool, dark place like a pantry. Before storing, check the seals by pressing down into the center of each lid. It should not move. If the lids pops, then it wasn’t sealed correctly. Store in the fridge and consume within a week.
Canned goods should be consumed within one year. If your food shows any sign of spoilage such as leaking, rising bubbles, visible mold, or discoloration, discard immediately.
Additional Canning Resources
40 Preserving Links: Beginner Tips, Pro Tricks from Simple Bites
Canning 101 from Food in Jars
All About Home Canning from Pick Your Own
USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning from National Center for Home Preservation
Canning Definitions and Signs of Spoilage from Tipnut
Canning Basics: Tutorials, Recipes and More from The Kitchn
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