Canning is very satisfying and easier then you may think. Spending some time in the kitchen will reward you with food you can enjoy throughout the year!
There are two different methods to can based on the type of food you want to preserve. Water bath canning is for high-acid foods and pressure canning is for non-acid vegetables, meat and fish. Water bath canning is the easiest and best place to start for beginners.
Water bath canning is easy because you only require boiling water and a canning kettle, or a large stockpot with a lid. You can only preserve high acid foods with this method. High acid foods include: fruits; fruit juice; jams; jellies; fruit spreads; salsas; tomatoes; pickles; relishes; chutneys; sauces; vinegars; and condiments.
Water Bath Canning
Wash jars and lids in hot soapy water then rinse thoroughly with boiling water.
- Keep jars warm until they are needed this will minimize the risk of breakage when filling the jars with hot food.
Select recipe and prepare food
- Select recipe, read through the directions and prepare all ingredients
- Fill each jar with food. Each jar needs a space between the food and the rim to allow for food expansion. Follow the recipes direction for correct fill level.
- Remove air bubbles. Insert a small non-metallic spatula into the jar, gently press the food against the opposite side of the jar. This will eliminate air bubbles and pockets.
- Wipe any food bits from the rim and check for chips in the rim. If there is a chip in the rim of the jar, throw the jar away as it will not seal.
- Place tin lids on the center of the jar, then screw on the ring. Tighten the ring by hand. Don’t over-tighten the ring as air inside the jars must be able to escape during the canning process.
- Place the jars into a canning rack and lower into the canner or large stockpot. Fill canner with water so there is 2.5cm (1inch) of water covering the top of the jars. Cover with the lid and place on high heat.
- Bring to a steady boil. Timing starts once the water starts boiling. Boil jars for specified time in the recipe.
- Remove jars from the heat and place them onto a towel on the counter, ensuring the jars don’t touch one another. Allow to cool upright for at least 12 hours. Note: do not touch lids while the jars are cooling. Do not re-tighten or over tighten rings that come loose during the canning. Doing so will interfere with the sealing process.
- As the jars cool, a strong vacuum seal will occur and the jars will click as they seal.
- Once jars have cooled, check the seals. This is easily done by pushing down on the lids - if the jar is sealed the lid will not flex up or down.
- Once the seals are checked, wash the outsides of the jars to remove any sticky residue from the canning process.
- Label, store and enjoy! Store sealed jars for up to one year in a cool, dark area.
Canning can be a fun, easy way to create delicious food to enjoy throughout the entire year.