Monday, April 11, 2011

The Joy of Canning

We are officially addicted to canning. Don't be intimidated, there is no need to run out and buy proper equipment to get your feet wet. Here is a quick tutorial on the canning basics and house hold items you can use to set up shop.

What You Will Need:

-Large cooking pot (not aluminum, copper, or cast-iron)
-Mason Jars, Lids, and Seals
-Sturdy metal rack for the bottom of pot
-Regular tongs or jar tongs

Sterilizing Jars and Lids

**Time this process so jars and lids are hot when ready to be filled**


-Wash jars in hot soapy water
-Stand upright on a rack in a large pot
-Add water to the pot while it’s on the stove, covering the jars by at
least 1 inch.
-Bring to a boil and let jars boil for 10 minutes
-Turn off heat and leave jars in water until they are ready to be filled.

If you are canning mass quantities, you can transfer your sterilized jars to the dishwasher and keep on the plate heating/warming cycle.


While the jars are boiling, simmer the lids in a saucepan. Do not boil rubber pieces, as it can wear down the seal.

Filling The Jars

-Remove jar from water using jar tongs
-Fill the jar using a funnel and ladle
-Fill just short of the lid. (This is called the “headspace”)
-Dampen a clean kitchen towel and wipe the rim of jar (any
residue can cause the seal to fail)
-Use tongs, place the seal on the rim of jar
-Screw on the metal ring

*Remember that botulism kills, so keep everything as sanitary as possible. Do not touch the inside of jars or lids, and have clean towels on hand

*The “headspace” is important because it allows for the expansion that
naturally occurs when the filled jars are processed in the hot water
bath. If there is no gap the seal may be broken and whatever you were
processing may leak out. Too much headspace can breed bacteria and
ruin all of the contents in the jar.

If what you are processing has a thick consistency, stick a slim plastic
spatula, chopstick, or plastic knife into the jar and raise and lower it a
few times to force out any trapped air bubbles. Bacteria can grow in the
empty spaces where bubbles form.

Processing Jars In Water Bath

-Place jars on the rack in the pot, making sure they are not touching
one another
-Add boiling water as needed to cover the jars by 1 or 2 inches
-Cover the pot and bring to full boil for as long as recipe indicates
-Turn off heat and uncover
-Lift jars with jar tongs and place them upright on a towel or rack 1 inch
apart so air can circulate, and let them cool naturally

*Jars will “ping” as cooling. This insures a seal

*Center of the lid should be slightly depressed.

*Press on the center of the lid with your finger. If it stays down, the seal
is good. If it pops back up, the seal did not take, you will need to store
the preserves or pickles in the refrigerator for no longer than the time
specified on the recipe.

Storing Jars

-Jars that are sealed need to be stored somewhere cool and dark
-Light can alter the color and flavor
-Sealed jars will store up to 1 year
-Before opening a jar of canned food, always inspect it. If the seal
is broken, or its contents have mold or emit a foul odor, discard
-An extra precaution against the unlikely but possible growth of any
harmful bacteria while in storage, boil the contents of every jar for 10
minutes before eating

Making Your Own Canning Equipment

Pot rack:
Metal Jar Rings (our #1 choice)
Wood Blocks
Flat Pebbles
Thick Dish Towels

Take a regular pair of tongs and wrap them with thick rubber bands

More ideas here

1 comment:

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