Canning mistakes. We can all make them. Especially if we are canning beginners. But, believe it or not, canning mistakes can still happen even if you’ve been canning for a while. Which is why we’re glad you stopped by today, because we’re going to cover all of the canning mistakes you should avoid to keep your preserved food lasting longer and keeping your family from getting a serious food born illness.
Home canning is a great way to bulk up your food storage, preserve foods from your garden, and gain a practical new skill set. However, if not done carefully, canning mistakes can be made and, as we just mentioned, you could end up having some serious problems on your hands. So, to keep things going smoothly all your canning endeavors, here are a few common canning mistakes you should definitely avoid doing.
Dangerous Canning Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
Luckily these canning mistakes are an easy fix! Especially this first very fist one!
MISTAKE #1- Not Using Real Canning Jars
When canning, you want to make sure you are using jars specifically made for preserving food. Most of the jars you buy from the store are only intended to used once and then recycled. True, you grandma may have up-cycled all of her store-bought jars and used them for canning her own food. However, jars these days are different. So to avoid having a jar break during your canning process and you ending up with a big mess on your hand, make sure are only using jars specifically created for canning.
MISTAKE #2- Reusing Lids and Rings
Once you’ve opened a canning jar, it’s important to remember that the lids and rings cannot be used again. We know that can sound wasteful but, after a canning lid and ring have been used, you should definitely toss the out. Mainly because if you choose to reuse them again, they most likely will not seal properly during the canning process. Which will result in either your food going bad or even obtaining a food born illness. However, if you want to cut back on waste and expenses, a great alternative are Tattler reusable lids and rings. They can be a little pricy at first, but in the long run, can save you a chunk of money if you are going to be canning on a regular basis.
MISTAKE #3- Not Paying Attention to Headspace
Whenever you are canning, it’s important to remember to not fill your jars all the way to the top. Usually when you are following a canning recipe, it will tell you how much space to leave at the top. Usually the standard guideline is 1/4-1/2 inch headspace at the top of your jar. Not following this rule can cause your food to leak from the jars; leaving a sticky mess. Or, this can prevent your lids form sealing with the rim of your jar, causing the food to go bad and potentially creating the possibility of someone getting sick if they eat it.
MISTAKE #4- Forgetting to get Rid of Air Bubbles
Leaving air bubbles in your jars after you fill them from sealing properly. Which, as you know, is bad news for your food. So, before sealing your jars, make sure to take a clean butter knife, or tool that’s included in your canning kit, to pop them.
MISTAKE #5- Not Sterilizing Properly
Since you don’t want anything unsafe getting in to your food, it is extremely important to make sure that you are properly sterilizing your canning jars, lids, and rings. An easy way to do this is by simply putting everything in your dishwasher an washing them on the hottest setting possible.
MISTAKE #6- Canning Low-Acid Foods with the Water Bath Method
This is the BIGGEST mistake you can make when canning. If you are canning l0w-acid foods like soup, stew, veggies, or meat you have to can those items in a pressure canner. Otherwise, you run the high risk of these types of food contracting botulism; a deadly, illness that cannot be detected through site or smell. However, if you are canning acidic foods like tomatoes, pickles, sweet fruits, or things with lots of sugar like jams and jellies; you will be able to use the water bath method.
MISTAKE #7- Not Filling Your Canner with Enough Water
If you are canning with the water bath method, it’s import to keep the water level 1 or 2 inches above the jars. Doing this helps properly heat the contents of the jars to a high enough temperature so that all botulism spores or bacteria are killed. Failing to keep your water level where it should be can cause the jars not to heat properly and in turn, run the risk of your food contracting life threatening bacteria.
Have you been making any of these canning mistakes? If so, now you know what to do to fix them. Happy canning!