How to Can Fruits and Vegetables

When you have your own garden, you can harvest your own fruits and vegetables. It is good to make the fruits of your labors last a little longer by canning them. You can learn how to can fruits and vegetables with this easy guide.

You will need:

    • Boiling water canner. This is a pot that is big enough to cover canning jars with water. This is used to can fruits that are highly acidic.
    • Canning salt. Table salt and any other substitute cannot be used.
    • Glass canning jars. Use real canning jars and not manufactured or recycled jars.
    • Jar lifter
    • Home-canning reference (e.g. Ball Blue Book of Preserving)
    • Hot soapy water
    • Lids and bands
    • Pressure canner. The pressure canner comes with a lid that can be locked to encourage very high temperatures. A pressure canner is usually used to can vegetables that have low acidic levels and require high temperatures to destroy bacteria.
    • Rubber spatula
    • Timer
    Fruits and Vegetables How to Can Fruits and Vegetables

Step 1: Clean the jars, lids and bands with the use of hot soapy water. Rinse well and let dry using a clean kitchen towel.

Step 2: Place the jars in a deep pot that can contain the whole length of the jars. Keep the jars hot by simmering, not boiling, them to prevent from breaking when the hot food is finally added into them later. Keep them hot until the time they will be used.

Step 3: Get a saucepan and fill it with water. Place the lids in and make sure they are submerged in the water. Like the jars, keep them hot until you need to use them.

Step 4: Prepare your produce. Peel or remove the pit or seeds. Some fruits have to be pretreated with a mixture of lemon juice and water to keep them from darkening. Peaches and plums must be dipped very quickly in boiling water to loosen the skin.

Step 5: Wash vegetables. Remove skin, seeds, and cut up. Rinse the vegetables again and boil briefly within one to five minutes then pour hot boiling water and one half teaspoon of canning salt. Be sure to make the headspace correct.

Step 6: Canned fruits usually require sugar. Syrup can be light or heavy depending on your recipe. Combining sugar and water will start making the syrup. Boil over medium heat and stir. Boil for 10 minutes and keep the syrup until it is ready to be used.

Step 7: Remove the jars from the pot using a jar lifter while emptying the hot water. You may use a cold-pack or hot-pack method from this point onwards. Cold-packing is when you place the fruit in the hot jars; add in the syrup with the right amount of headspace. Hot-packing is when you heat the fruit in the syrup first then spoon into the jars; ladle more syrup in as before and leaving the right amount of headspace. A jar funnel can help you ladle in the fruit and syrup.

Step 8: The headspace left for most fruits and soft spreads must be ¼ of the jar. Sauces, salsas and the like must be ½.

Step 9: Slide around the inside of the jar to release trapped air with the use of a rubber spatula. Wipe the top of the jar using paper towels. Place the top, screw the band in. Make sure you don’t over-tighten the jar.

Step 10: Place the full jars in the canner using a rack. Make sure that water in the canner comes up to the jars by 1 to 2 inches.

Step 11: Put the lid on the canner and process as indicated in the recipe. Make sure that all bacteria and molds are diminished. Let the canner cool slightly after. Remove the jars and put on a kitchen towel. Leave the jars for 24 hours. After that, you can check if the seal has been successful. If sealing did not come out successful, re-process or refrigerate and use the processed goods within 2 days.


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