Canning or jarring is the process that prevents spoilage of food sealed in jars.  Cookbooks and the internet brim with information and How-to instructions for canning and jarring.  Even the best tend to overlook sage advice that can keep you safe from unhealthy bacteria.  Below is a quick list of reminders when preserving food.

Choose the right preserving method

Boiling water bath only high-acid foods can be preserved by water bath canning. This includes most fruit preserves, including jams, jellies, and fruit canned in syrup, and many pickles. Boiling water bath is the most commonly used and needs no special equipment.  You need a deep pot that will allow water to boil rapidly without boiling over, an inch or two of water to be above the jars, and a rack/device to allow water to boil under the jars.

Place a rack in the bottom of a tall pot. The rack keeps the bases of the jars off the bottom of the pan, allowing evaporating water to escape around the jars and preventing them from rattling against each other, which could cause breakage.

Add enough water to cover the jars you are going to process by at least one inch above the lids.

Turn on the heat. If raw-packing, bring the water to 140 F; if hot-packing, bring the water to 180 F. You can do this while you are preparing your foods to be canned.

Pressure is used to preserve vegetables, meats, and seafood.  You can utilize a pressure cooker.A pressure canner uses pressure to create temperatures well above boiling to effectively heat process low acid foods.

Atmospheric steam is an alternative to boiling water bath but requires specific equipment. Utilize glass jars

Wash before using

Ensure no defects, like cracks, appear in jars

Sterilize in boiling water for about 10 minutes

Choose a thickening agent — If using cornstarch or flour, use grandma’s recipe to avoid bacteria growth.

Use clearjel to thicken without worry about bacteria growth from the product.

Filling jars

Leave head space/ don’t fill to the brim

Raw vegetables will shrink when heated, so pack tightly. Exclusions are peas, lima beans, and corn.

Refilling water bath

Don’t pour water over the jars.  

Pour water between jars.

Storage

Don’t store in hot place or direct sunlight.

For recipes, please go to the National Center for Home Food Preservation (nchfp.uga.edu/how/can_home.html)

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