Have you ever wondered what you need to know in order to can your own foods? Maybe your garden was a little more productive than you had planned, and you need a way to preserve all those extra tomatoes, or peppers. Home canning is the perfect way to accomplish this. You will just need to know a few basics and then you can be on your way to canning your own fresh fruits and vegetables. Before you begin, you will need to sterilize all your canning jars and lids. This can be done by placing them in boiling water for 10 minutes.

There are two common methods of canning. The first, the boiling water method, is usually used for fruits, jams, jellies and pickles. You will need a fairly large cooking pot with a tight-fitting lid to cover it. You should also have a metal or wooden rack on hand, that fits inside the pot. This will keep your jars from knocking together during the processing. If you do not have a rack, it is possible to use a cotton dishcloth as well. Just place the towel around the jars to accomplish the same effect. Once you have gathered all your supplies and have cleaned your fruits for canning, you will have the option of two different methods of placing the fruit in the jars.

Raw packing (cold packing) consists of placing the fruit into the jars and then covering them with boiling hot sugar syrup, water or juice. Be sure to leave a headspace at the top of the jar to allow for any expansion. Hot packing the jars is done by heating your fruit in the sugar syrup or water before packing it into the jars. Fruits with a high juice content or tomatoes can be heated without adding extra liquid and then packed in the juice that cooks out. Pack each jar leaving about ” of headspace and add more syrup if needed. Place your filled jars into the wire rack and lower into the boiling water so that each jar is covered by 1 or 2 inches of water. Cover the pot with your lid and when the water begins rapidly boiling, begin counting out your processing time.

The other method used to can vegetables, meats, seafood or poultry is the pressure cooker method. A pressure cooker is a specialized cooking pot with an extremely tight fitting lid. Vents, a pressure gauge and a fuse are usually located on the lid, as well as a lock that will hold the lid on tighter. To begin the process, you will place your jars into the pressure cooker with 2-3 inches of water. Heat the water to the boiling point and build up the pressure inside. When the correct pressure is reached for whatever you are canning, you can begin to count your processing time. Pressure cooking raises the temperature of the water to 240 degrees Fahrenheit with allows you to kill off the bacteria Cholstridium botulinum. This bacteria is the reason most lower acidic foods need to be pressure canned instead of using the boiling water method.

There are many cookbooks available to find recipes for canning. Many of these can be for relishes, pickles, jams, etc. You may also check with the Cooperative Extension office in your area or the Food and Agriculture Department. Just remember, picking your fruits and vegetables at their peaks will give you the best results.

Addison is a mom, wife, and lover of the kitchen, who learned Uk marriage visa how to can food when she was young. She runs an informational website that provides reviews on pressure cookers and water bath canners, and sharing canning recipes with others who love preserving food. To see what she has to offer, take a look at Uk marriage visa www.howtocanfood.net

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