Who doesn’t love the fresh taste of homemade jams and preserves? Here are some tips and advice on HOME CANNING.
HOME CANNING fresh fruits and vegetables is a wonderful way of enjoying seasonal produce throughout the year. Preparing food in this fashion is somewhat time-consuming, but the effort is well-worth it. Whether you’re pickling asparagus and fiddleheads or slow-cooking a jam of strawberries and peaches, your finished jars will end up filling the pantry with homemade goodness, ready to enjoy.
Here are a few tips that come with one very important warning – improperly preserved food can result in product spoilage – a substantial health hazard.
Make sure you follow these key steps:
2) Wash jars, lids, utensils and hands thoroughly.
3) Heat jars and lids in hot water at least 180˚F.
4) Fill hot jars leaving required head space: ¼” soft spreads and fruit juice; ½” pickles, fruit and relish; 1″ low-acid foods like vegetables, meat and seafood.
5) Remove air bubbles with nonmetallic utensil. Apply lids and screw bands evenly and firmly until resistance is met – fingertip tight.
6) Heat process ALL filled jars by required method and time. For high-acid foods like fruits, jams, jellies, marmalades, fruit butters, pickles and sauerkraut, plus tomatoes processed with lemon or vinegar, process in a boiling water canner. For low-acid foods like most fresh vegetables except tomatoes, meat, seafood, poultry, soup and spaghetti sauce, process in a pressure canner.
7) After processing – cool jars upright for 24 hours. DO NOT re-tighten bands. Check seals.
This may seem like a daunting task but only until you try a few recipes and then have success. If you’d like to try home canning but are a bit nervous, why not ask an experienced home canner to shadow you as you work. Another option is to take a class or read one of the many books written about this rewarding pastime.
I’ll never forget the first time I tried my hand at HOME CANNING. I had my mom and aunt shadow me. After everything was done, we placed our jars of pickles on the kitchen counter and sat down to dinner. That’s when I heard my first “pop”, the sound the lid makes when the air is suctioned tight to the jar as it cools, ensuring a successful process.
With some advance planning and careful following of the proper handling instructions, HOME CANNING is a rewarding way to save the fresh taste of your favourite fruits and vegetables for months to come.
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