Canning is gaining popularity again and is a fun way to preserve some of our summertime favorites so they can be enjoyed all year long.
The canning process simply removes air from the jar, thus preserving the fresh food for up to a year. There are two types of canning processes, water bath canning and pressure canning. High-acid foods, like jam, pickles, and tomatoes are good candidates for water bath canning, while low-acid foods, like vegetables, meat and seafood are ideal for the pressure canning method.
Pressure canning instructions:
- Make sure your lids do not have nicks, cracks etc. This will inhibit the seal from sealing correctly. Wash jars in your dishwasher to make sure they are clean.
- Heat jars in hot water, not boiling, by filling a large saucepan halfway and submerging the jars in the water. Keep the jars hot until you are ready to use them.
- Fill the pressure canner with 2 to 3 inches of water. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer. Keep water at a simmer until jars are filled with food and placed in canner. Refer to your canner’s manufacturer instructions for usage questions.
- Prepare your food to be canned.
- Remove the hot jars from their water bath and empty the water. Fill jars with the food to be preserved, leaving 1/4 to 1/2 inch of space at the top. You can use a rubber spatula around the insides of the jar to remove air bubbles.
- Clean the rims of the jars and put on the lids tightly. Cover with water that reaches 2 to 3 inches above the tops of the jars.
- Lock the pressure canner lid in place, leaving vent pipe open. Adjust heat to medium-high and allow steam to escape through vent pipe. Once there is a steady stream of steam escaping, vent for 10 minutes to ensure there is no air (only steam) left in the canner. Close the vent according to your canner’s instructions. Gradually adjust heat to achieve and maintain recommended pounds of pressure.
- Let the canning jars remain in the pressure canner at the recommended pounds of pressure for the processing time indicated in your recipe. Turn off the heat and leave the canner alone until the pressure returns to zero. Wait 10 minutes. Remove weight, if applicable, and unlock the lid. Wait 10 more minutes to allow jars to begin to cool.
- Remove the jars from the canner and place on a towel to prevent breakage. Do not touch the jars for 12 to 24 hours.
- Check the lids and make sure the lids are not flexing up when the center is pressed. Also check to make sure the lids don’t easily pull off (if using two-piece lids, the outer ring may be loose, but the top must be fully sealed). The food should remain fresh for up to a year.
Water bath canning is great for acidic foods like tomatoes. The process is basically the same as above except instead of using a pressure canner, you boil the jars in a stock pot or large sauce pan. Follow steps 1 thru 7 above.
When placing jars in the large sauce pan, use a canning insert or place jars on a metal cooling rack on the bottom of the pot. Make sure the jars are covered with 2 to 3 inches of water. Cover the pot and process the filled jars based on the time in your recipe. Then follow steps 9 and 10 above.