Canning, The Basics

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Canning Basics

Canning allows you to enjoy the delicious benefits of the summer bounty all year long. Transform gorgeous tomatoes and crisp cucumbers into sauces and pickles. Create sweet jams and jellies from your favorite fruits. Canning is a simple process, although time-consuming. It is an operation that is a bit labor-intensive but is worth every minute. You have the opportunity to make appetizing, hearty, and healthy foods. So, gather your friends and family for a fun day preparing and canning scrumptious fresh fruits and veggies. Just like any skill, the more you practice, the better you get. Here are the canning basics to get you started.

List of Supplies

  • Canning Jars and Seals – Mason-style jars with sealed lids and rings are offered in a variety of sizes. Plus you have a choice between regular or wide-mouth.
  • Wide-Mouth Funnel – For easy mess-free filling of jars with sauces or jams.
  • Magnetized Lid Wand – Allows for safe removal of lids and rings from boiling water.
  • Ladle – Used for filling jars.
  • Large Pot/Water Bath Canner – Use this for boiling canned high-acidic foods such as preserves, jams, fruits, tomatoes and pickled vegetables.
  • Pressure Canner – Best for canning low-acidic foods such as vegetables and meats.
  • Canning Rack – Used inside the canning pot so that jars do not rest directly on the bottom. This decreases the risk of cracking.
  • Pectin – Either a liquid or powder added to your jams, jellies, and other fruit spreads to make them gel.
  • Jelly Strainer – Pour your jelly through the strainer bag to remove seeds and fruit pieces, or stems.
  • Food Mill – Perfect for separating seeds and skins when making sauces. You can also use it to strain jellies and jams.
  • Tongs or Jar Lifters – Look for rubberized lifters which make removing cans from the water bath easier and safer.
  • Clean Cloths – For wiping down jars, lids, and rims.

The Basic Process

  1. Sterilize Jars and Lids – Wash all lids and jars in hot soapy water. Then submerge them in boiling water for ten minutes to sterilize. Remove the jars for filling, however, allow the lids to remain in the water until you use them. That way they won’t come into contact with anything before you seal your jars.
  2. Prepare Foods for Canning – Try to select the freshest fruits and vegetables from your garden or local farmer’s market. Can them immediately after harvesting so that you will benefit from the highest amount of nutrients. Slice, dice, and prepare according to your favorite recipes.
  3. Filling the Jars – Make sure not to fill the jars completely. The product expands during the boiling stage. Therefore, you need to leave enough space to prevent leaking. Also, when filling with produce, keep in mind that your recipe may require pouring liquid over the top. Make sure there are no air bubbles and that your lids are sealed properly. Wipe the jar rims with a clean cloth, then cover with the lid and rim.
  4. Boil the Jars – Preheat the water in the pressure cooker or water bath pot. For hot produce, the water temperature should be 180 degrees, and for cold produce 140 degrees. The water level needs to be at least two inches above the canning jar.  Use the tongs or jar lifters to lower the jars into the hot water. Boiling times will vary but average around 20 minutes. (Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s directions when using a pressure canner.)
  5. Check Seals, Label, and Store – Cool the jars for about 12 to 24 hours. Then test the seals by gently press down on the center of the lid. If it springs up, then the jar isn’t sealed properly. If your seal is broken, you have two options. You can reprocess within 24 hours, or refrigerate and use within five days. If your seal passes the test, label the jars with the contents and date. Store in a cool, dark, dry place.

One Last Bit of Advice

  • Gather all your ingredients and supplies and have them handy before you get started.
  • Allow for plenty of time, and never try to rush the process.
  • Use only canning recipes for preparing and preserving foods.
  • Cheese cloth may be used for straining jellies, jams, and sauces.
  • Make sure you follow directions precisely to keep bacteria from spoiling your foods.

Canning can be a fun way to spend the day with friends and family. Consider throwing a canning party where everyone comes with all the ingredients and their favorite recipe. Use these canning basics to get started. And, if you need anything, bring your shopping list to Sneade’s Ace Home Center. We have all the supplies you need to get started. Canning essentials…another reason why Sneade’s Ace Home Center is your favorite place!


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