Saturday, October 6, 2012

Gardening 101 ~ Basic of Canning

Why do people can?  Basically, it is the easiest way to preserve food besides freezing.  Today's post will be the basic of canning.

Common Supplies Needed:

Ball® Canning Utensil Set 4-pc 
  • Canning Funnel
  • Canning Lid Lifter (It's the long blue stick with a magnet on the end.)
  • Canning Jar Lifter
  • Head Space Measure Stick (I do not know the proper name of this.)
  • Large Canning Pot/Pressure Pot (The type of pot depends on what you are canning.)
  • Jars, Lids, and Rings
  • Butter Knife (We use this to remove any air bubbles you can also use the wand to measure head space.)
  • Clean Paper Towels
  • Clean Towel
How to Can:
1.  First you need to wash your jars and sterilize them.  It is very important to have properly cleaned jars and sterilized.  Hot jars are best for when adding your recipes prior to adding your jar in the pot.  We typically use our dishwasher and try to time the cycle of washing, sanitizing, and drying by the time we are actually ready to add our recipe.
2.  While preparing your recipe, you should start to boil water in the large canning pot. The type of canning pot will be determined by your recipe.  One type of canning is a water bath; this is when you place your jar to be canned in a large boiling pot of water.  The jars and recipes will stay in this covered pot as long as your recipe calls for.  Another type of canning requires a pressure canning pot.  At this time, we have not canned using a pressure canning pot.  We have one, but our recipes have not required one as of yet.
3.  Towards the end of your recipe, you should boil some water in small pot.  Once the water is at a good boil, take the pot off the hot burner and drop your lids and rings inside.  They need to be heated as well.
4.  After your recipe is complete, you will need to place the funnel inside your jar and ladle the recipe into your jar leaving the required space between your recipe and the top of the jar.  This is known as "head space"; I use the measuring tool to measure the heads space.  (Again, sorry I do not know the proper name of this canning supply.)
5.  Once your jars have been filled, you will need to wipe the head space and the outside threads of any food with a damp clean paper towel.  This is very important to prevent any spoiling or bacteria growing.
6.  Using the canning lid lifter, pick up a lid and place on top of your jar; then using the same tool, pick up the ring to secure the lid and the jar.  Be careful not to burn yourself.
7.  Once all jars have been cleaned and have lids/rings, use the canning jar lifter and place your jars into the large pot of boiling water.  Your water should be at least 2 inches higher than all of the jars once placed in the pot.  Make sure no jars are touching.
8.  Place the lid on the pot and boil the amount of time required for your product you are canning.  You may need to check on it from time to time to ensure enough water is in the can still.
9.  Once the time is up, you will use the canning jar lifter again and carefully lift the jar out of the pot and onto a clean towel you have laid flat on your counter.  The jars can not be disturbed for 24 hours.  You will hear several popping but do not worry this is what you want to hear.
10.  After 24 hours, you should test your seal.  If you see any jars that have popped in the center, your seal did not work.  Unscrew your rings and lift lightly on the lid.  If it pops off, your seal did not work.  You can try another water bath one more time or you can store it in the refrigerator to use within 2 weeks.

Tip: We have learned recently not to store the rings on your jars. This way if your canning goes bad, the lid will come off instead of a false seal from the ring.

The one thing I want to stress is be careful when canning.  You can seriously injure your self in just a matter of seconds.  I know this from first hand experience. I am by far no canning expert and we have been canning for only five years now.  Last October we had our grandson over while I was canning applesauce.  He cried and I turned my head for one second, while I was lifting the lid off of the boiling pot of water. Yep, a stupid mistake, during that one second I received 2nd degree burn on my arm.

I was very lucky it was only 2nd degree and it was very painful.  I will always carry the mark on my arm, it now looks like a large birth mark and has faded some' however it is a lesson learned...NEVER take your eyes off the pot.


1 comment:

  1. thank you for this i've been wanting to learn to can and this helps alot


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