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Home Canning

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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:

1) Use only quality ingredients and tested, up-to-date home canning instructions from a reputable source. I often reference BALL or BERNARDIN just to make sure I’m processing things correctly.

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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