Do you have your own food storage? If so, then you know the important role canning food can play in building an excellent long-term food storage and preserving foods that you’ve grown or even bought in bulk. However, if you are new to food storage and canning food, then you most likely have no clue where to begin. Don’t worry, we’ve all been there! Which is why today, we are going teach all you newbies everything there is to know about canning food.
After reading this post you’ll most likely catch the canning itch and want to start canning everything you can get your hands on. Ha! But seriously! Canning food really can be a simple and extremely self satisfying experience. So hold on to your hats mamas, because you’re going to love this!
Canning Essentials-A Beginner’s Guide to Canning Food
When it comes to canning food, the following six items are things you definitely need to make sure you have on hand to make canning process easier.
CANNING TOOLS AND SUPPLIES YOU’LL NEED
Water bath canner
In the world of canning food, there are two different canning methods you will need to know to properly preserve your food.
Water Bath Canning
If you are canning foods high in acid like fruit, tomatoes, pickles, jams/jellies, or fruit juices, you’ll want to do the water bath canning method. Which can be an easy process if you do the following…
- Take your prepared mason jars (see how to prepare your mason jars further in this post!) that’s you’ve filled with the food of your choice and place them in your water bath canner.
- Fill your water bath canner with enough water to completely cover your mason jars.
- Bring the water to a boil and timing the jars after the boiling process has begun.
- NOTE-Your timing process will vary dependent on what canning recipe you are following.
Pressure canning is done when you are canning meat or food that is low in acid. When doing the pressure canning method, you will want to make sure to do the following…
- Take your prepared mason jars (see how to prepare your mason jars further in this post!) that’s you’ve filled with the low-acid food of your choice, and place them in your pressure canner.
- Follow the instructions in your pressure canner manual and fill your pressure canner with the right amount of water.
- NOTE-Most pressure canners take around 3 quarts of water.
- After you’ve filled your pressure canner with the right amount of water, make sure to place the lid of your canner on securely and allow your canner to begin building pressure on your stove.
- Once your pressure level is where it needs to be, it’s important to maintain the right level of heat so your pressure levels don’t get too high or too low. If this happens, your food will spoil; and you definitely don’t want that to happen.
- When you’ve made sure your pressure level is being maintained, the next things you’ll want to do is look at your canning recipe and start your recommended timing process.
- After your timing process is up, you’ll need to turn your stove heat off and wait for the pressure in your pressure canner to drop. DO NOT OPEN the canner lid for any reason until the pressure is completely dropped. Doing this will cause an explosion to happen. So remember to be patient and follow all the instructions.
- Once your pressure has completely dropped, you can remove your jars with your jar grabber and set aside to be labeled.
HOW TO PREPARE YOUR CANNING JARS
Before you begin canning, you’re going to want to make sure that your jars are completely sanitized. Doing this will help ensure that your food doesn’t spoil and that you avoid developing any type of food born illness. So, seriously, you are going to want to sanitize the heck out of your jars.
Here’s how you do that…
- Load your jars into your dishwasher and wash them on the hottest possible setting.
- Make sure to also choose the dry setting. Using hot steam along with hot water will help insure that your bottles are fully sanitized.
- To sanitize your lids and rings, you can either wash them in the dishwasher as well or simply put them in a pot of simmering water on your stovetop and allow them to sit there for a few minutes.
Hand Washing Method
- Wash your jars in warm, soapy water.
- Place jars in large pot of boiling water and allow them to boil for 10 minutes.
- Remove your lids and rings from their packaging, place them in a pot of simmering water, and allow them to sit for a few minutes.
HOW TO SEAL YOUR CANNING JARS
Along with sanitizing your jars, you will also need to make sure that your jars are properly sealed after you’ve filled them with your preserves and taken them out of either your water bath canner or your pressure canner.
Here’s how you do that…
- After you moving your jars from your canner, set them on a flat surface.
- Listen for a “pinging” sound. This will mean that the little round button in the center of your lids is sealing.
- Leave your jars alone for 24 hours to let them set.
- Once your 24 hour waiting period is up, run your finger over the center part of each lid.
- If you’re lid is completely flat, your jar is sealed. HOORAY! But, if you can still push the button part down by running your finger over it then you’ll need to pull that lid off and reprocess the jar.
- Once you know your jars are sealed, make sure to label what’s in them and the date they were canned so you know that if a year has gone by and you haven’t used what was in your jar you will need to toss it.
NOTE: Never use a lid more than once. They are only good one time. After that, the seal won’t work, and you run the risk of bringing food born illness to your family or losing your food.
That’s it! Again, we know that canning can seem a little daunting. But if you follow our steps and give it a few tries, you will be a canning pro in no time! Cheers!