Published on September 26th, 2013 | by gatsbyadmin0
Home Canning Guide
With the summer coming to a close and the fall rolling in, it’s only a matter of time before our fresh-grown produce leaves us too. Luckily, Grimey Gatsby has compiled a how-to home canning guide so you can enjoy those delicious vegetables all winter long.
Canning is an excellent method to store your food throughout the winter. Canning preserves food by eliminating air from the food being stored, and creating a vacuum-sealed lid that prevents bacteria from thriving. There are two ways to can food: hot water bath canning and pressure canning. When canning, it is extremely important to remember that only highly acidic foods can be processed by the hot water bath method. If foods are not at a certain level of acidity, bacterium called Clostridium botulinum can grow that causes botulism in humans, a paralytic and potentially fatal food borne illness. To verify the kind of canning method you’ll need, click here for a full list of alkaline and acidic foods. Be sure to always look up the food you’re canning and follow a canning recipe. Find a sample list of canning recipes here.
For hot water bath canning, you’ll need a large canning pot, a good pair of tongs, jars, lids, rings. Ball Jars are commonly used for both kinds of canning. First, fill up your canning pot with hot water. Make sure your jars are clean and heat them by dunking them in the pot. Next, get the water up to a rolling boil. Fill your jars with your recipe and wipe the top rims clean so your lids will seal. Cover them with lids and rings and place them in the canning pot for the appropriate amount of processing time. You can find a full list of processing times here from Montana State University. When they are done processing, remove the jars with tongs and set them aside to cool. Make sure all of your jars have sealed properly!
Popular foods to can using the hot water bath method are tomato sauce, salsa, ketchup and other tomato based-products, as well anything pickled such as dill pickled cucumbers, relish, and sauerkraut. You can also hot water bath can most kinds of jams, jellies, and apple-based products such as applesauce. Just remember to always follow a canning recipe!
Pressure canning is another way to can foods that are of a low acidity. Low acid, or alkaline foods include potatoes, peppers, peas, green beans, mushrooms, and hearty greens. Pressure canners have a pressure dial that reads when your jars have reached the proper pressure to be safely processed. Each manufacturer designs them slightly differently, so be sure to read to the instruction manual. Pressure canning processing times can be found here. Read more about pressure canning from the National Center for Home Food Preservation.
With a little work from you and your canner, you can indulge in the year’s harvest until fresh crops are ready the next season!
Photos by Cathy Mulhall Photography