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Canning for Beginners

Jul 22, 2008
Do you ever wonder how our ancestors in days gone by preserved their foods before the times you just bought canned foods from the store? Is there an interest to go back to simpler times where canning was a common place practice? It's almost a lost art now. If that's you, all you need is a pressure cooker, some canning jars with lids, and some food you would like to preserve plus a desire to learn. Canning can be such a rewarding and fulfilling hobby. Cooking under pressure will trap stream from the boiling water so temperature rises enough to kill bacteria.

For beginners it is suggested to start with a boiling water method. This is usually the most cost effective method, and one you'll be proud of when finished. You'll need some canning jars and lids in both the quart and pint sizes. The small 8 oz jars are great for preserving jams, jellies and relish type recipes. Please don't use any other jars that are not specifically designed for the purpose of canning, such as what you bought mayonnaise or other jellies in. They may not be adequate.

You will also need a very large pot with a lid that is deep enough to cover the jars to be canned by at least one inch, and two inches would be even better. You should also have a rack to place the jars in to keep them off the bottom. If you didn't get a rack with your pot, you may simply place a rack in the bottom of the pot to keep the jars from touching the bottom. Another instrument that you will need is plastic knife or spatula to stir the filled jars and release any trapped air. And a large mouth plastic funnel, and a set of strong, long handled jar pullers for taking the hot jars out of the water. You will need a dish towel to dry any water off of the jars as you take them out of the pot.

Use the freshest fruit possible, wash and cut up and pack gently into the jars to about an inch from the top. Get a product called Fresh Fruit and read the instructions about how to prepare a syrup base that is a basic sugar water recipe. It can either be a heavy, medium or light syrup, as you please. Pour this syrup over your fruit. Take your wooden or plastic spoon or knife and run it around the jar to release any trapped air. Put the lids on fairly tight and clean any excess off off the outside of the jars. Now put the jars back into the canned pot filled with warm or hot water and cover with water at least an inch over the lids.

Turn the pot on high heat to begin to boil the water. Once they have come to a boil, put the lid on the pot. After the water has been boiling vigorously for a few minutes, take the lid off the pot, and let it continue to boil for the time limit in your recipe, usually 10 minutes is good for pickles, and 25 to 30 minutes for fruits, and 35 to 40 minutes for tomatoes.

When they have been cooking for the allotted time, turn the pot off and place the jars on a towel to drip dry and allow to cool, preferably overnight. Before leaving the jars to cool check each jar to make sure there are no lids popped up in the middle. If this has happened, the jars of food are no good because they didn't seal. If this is the case you can either refrigerate those jars (once they cool) and use those immediately, or try again using a new jar and lid. Try also wiping the lid of the jar with a clean towel before screwing on new lids to try.

There nothing like the feeling you get once you master the art to preserve food. It is helpful for anyone that loves to learn how things were done by our ancestors, and brings us back to our roots.
About the Author
Rachel likes writing about ways to assist families with frugal ideas .and money saving tips .to assist families stretch their budgets, thus lowering stress.
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