How to Can your Own Foods Using Jars and Lids

 

Canning is one of the most economical and safe ways to preserve food for long periods of time. The ability to can your own food is a very useful skill to have if you’re a prepper or someone involved in homesteading. Contrary to popular belief, canning is not limited to the kind done commercially with metal containers.
In fact, you can do canning at home with jars and lids too. As long as you get the process right, you’ll be able to preserve your food for relatively long periods and just as effectively.
In this article, you’ll discover how you can safely can fruits and vegetables in glass jars with airtight lids.
The reason that most veggies and fruit perish fast is due to the high water content in these foods. Undesirable bacteria start to thrive and if the lid isn’t airtight, there may be a loss of moisture too. To can such foods well will require you to use hot packing as a method of preserving these foods.
For vegetables like potatoes, you’ll need to peel them before canning. You’ll also need to add vinegar, citric acid or lemon juice to some foods because the acidic properties will help preserve the foods better.
Not all jars and lids are suitable for canning. You must use the right kind that can withstand heat since you’re using boiling water and the lids should be the self-sealing kind.
Before using the jars, you’ll need to sterilize them. This can be done by placing the jars in warm water in a boiling water canner. The level of the water should roughly be 1 inch above the top of the jar. Now you’ll need to boil the water for about 8 to 10 minutes to sterilize the jars.
Remove the empty jars and allow them to cool. Depending on what food you’re planning to preserve, you’ll need to know the correct processing time. Going into details here is beyond the scope of this articles because of the sheer variety of foods out there. So, you could do your research online to know roughly how long the processing time is.
After adding your food in the jar, use a plastic spatula to slowly stir the food. The goal is to get the air bubbles to rise to the surface. You’ll need to use a high-quality self-sealing lid to seal the jar. This will usually be a metal lid with a metal screw band.
When you place the jars with the lids in the boiling water canner and start the process, the lid gasket will soften. While it will allow air to escape out of the jar, it will form an airtight seal around the lid when it cools.
When using a boiling water canner, you must allow the jar to process for the right length of time and then allow the jars to cool at room temperature.
The foods you’re preserving will usually dictate what type of canner to use. If you’re preserving low acid foods, you should use a pressure canner to minimize any risk of botulism. Acidic foods are better preserved with a boiling-water canner because these canners are much faster.
There are many different types of jars, sealing lids and canners on the market. Do your research and get those that are of high-quality and proven reliable. Since the food that you’re preserving will be consumed by your family and you, the safety and quality of the food will have a direct impact on your well-being. So, learn the process well and can your foods properly.
As you can see from this article, it’s really not all that difficult once you have the equipment and know how to do it yourself. You’ll save money in the long run and food that’s canned by you will always be healthier and a better alternative than buying commercially canned food. So, get started today and learn this useful skill.

 

 

 

Advertisements

How to get started canning foods

 

The easiest way to get started canning foods is to make jams and jellies. This is a great way to capture the flavor of fruit at the peak of ripeness for the winter. You can use fruit you grow or pick locally. Many areas have a “you pick” strawberries farm and they are a good first fruit to can. Consult your recipe to see how much strawberries you need to pick. It will be given in cups or by weight. Also make sure you have sugar and canning equipment ready at home. Some fruits also need pectin added to jell, strawberries don’t.

Here is the basic equipment you will need

For this article we are going to list what you will need for canning high acid foods such as most fruits (pH level is above 4.6).

  • Water bath canner
  • Canning rack to hold the jars (you can also use a hand towel on the bottom of the pot)
  • Canning jars
  • Rings (Band that tightens)
  • Lids (they form the seal)
  • Tongs to lift hot jars and a magnetic lid lifter to grab lids and rings out of the boiling water
  • Wide mouth funnel for filling jars and a ladle
  • Labels for marking the date made and what is in the jar
  • Towels to set the hot jars on when taken out of the pot
  • A place to put the hot jars where they can cool completely, undisturbed

The basic procedure is this:

1 Wash and dry the canning jars, rings and lids with soap and water. Then place them in a pot and boil for 10 minutes to sterilize them. Carefully take the out the jars with the jar tongs and place them upside down on towels to dry. Remove the rings and lids with the lid lifter. When they are dry, keep upside down until you start cooking the fruit. in boiling water

2 You will wash and inspect the fruit for and spoiled areas. If you see any, cut it off. If you are cutting the fruit smaller, do that, or if you are leaving it whole, like with raspberries, just put them in a large saucepan. You need to have weighed the whole amount, or have measured how many cups you have as per your jelly recipe. That will tell you how much sugar and pectin you need. You will bring the fruit to a boil and continue boiling until the whole amount has thickened. Your recipe will tell you how long, usually until the fruit coats the back of a spoon without dripping off.

3 Using the wide mouth funnel and a ladle put the jelly into each jar leaving about one quarter inch headroom at the top. Wipe the top edge with a clean cloth if you got jelly on it. Put the lid into the ring and put it on the jar twisting the ring almost tight. You will finish tightening later, but now just tighten so water will not get in. Place the jars into the jar rack, and then lower the jar rack into the water bath canner of boiling water. Simmer for the time it says in your recipe. When the time is up, lift each jar out of the canner and set on towels. When all jars are on the towels, listen for a popping sound. This will be the vacuum seal that forms as the jars cool. You will see the lids are pushed in on the top. You can tighten the rings now all the way. Leave the jars until they are completely cooled to the touch. If any jars have not sealed must be refrigerated and used first.

So now you have a batch of jam for your winter toast. This is just the first of many canning sessions in your future. If you buy the Ball Canning Blue Book , which is sold wherever canning jars are sold, you will have a lifetime of recipes to try. As you progress to low acid foods, you will need to buy a pressure cooker to add to your equipment. Canning is a fun way to preserve food and share your harvest.