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September 13, 2012

Home Canning

More and more people are growing their own fruits and vegetables. Canning is a great way to preserve the fruts of your labor. There's just something special about opening your own can of beans for Thanksgiving dinner. Here are a few tips to help with the process.

The Process

Canning is a way to preserve food where it is packed in jars and immersed in either a waterbath or pressure cooker. Heat and pressure must be maintained for a specific amount of time to prevent harmful organisms and bacteria from causing food spoilage and health concerns. It also cooks the foods and pushes the air from the jars, creating a vacuum seal. The process involves equipment, time and pressure

Equipment- includes a pressure cooker or canner, glass jars, metal band and flat lids. All must be in good condition to create a good vacuum seal.

  • Wash jars, lids and bands.
  • You will also need a good towel, jar lifter and funnel.
    Time- follow guide book for particular food
  • Usually tomatoes take 15 minutes and beans take 20-25 minutes for quart jars
    Pressure- follow your product’s manufacturer owner’s manual and read all safety instructions
    Knoxville is little less than 1000 altitude so use about 10 pounds of pressure
    The Food
  • Actually preparing the food is the first step
  • Follow directions in manual or specific recipe
  • The type of food will dictate the type of process
  • High acid foods such as tomatoes and fruit will take less time and pressure than low acid foods like beans and corn
  • Salt, sugar and vinegar act as preservatives
    Filling the Jars
  • Pack fruits or vegetables into jars
  • Add salt to vegetables (1/4 teaspoon/pint; ½ teaspoon to quart)
  • When adding water, it should be boiling
  • Fill jars leaving about 1-2 inch headspace at top, this is about the same as the rim on jars
  • Remove air pockets with a spatula
  • Cooked foods should be hot when filling jars
  • Wipe tops clean with paper towel
  • Tighten lids on jars
    Processing (READ THE Complete MANUEL before you begin)
  • Check canner lid to ensure that air hole is free of debris
  • Place rack in canner to prevent jars from breaking
  • Add jars
  • Add about 3 quarts of water when processing 7 quart jars
  • Tighten processor lid securely
  • Begin heating and start timing after vent closes
  • Regulate the heat under the canner to maintain a steady pressure at, or slightly above, the correct gauge pressure
  • Check the manufacturer’s directions for pressure gauge (jiggle or rock)
  • After process is complete, remove from heat and allow to cool before removing jars
  • If there are any jars that don’t seal after cooling, check for bad jar and lid and reprocess or refrigerate and eat within a 1-2 days
  • Label top of lid with date and anything you want to add for identifying food
  • Store in dark, cool place
  • Rotate by date to make certain you use older canned products first
  • Discard any jars that may have lost their seal

  • Posted by terri at September 13, 2012 09:50 PM