Archive for the ‘Home Canning’ Category

Home Canning 101

So, you’ve planted seeds or seedlings and then watered and weeded all summer. Now it’s time to harvest, and while much of your garden’s bounty ends up on your dinner plates, baked into goodies and eaten fresh as your pick it, there is generally an excess of fruits and vegetables. After all, you can only eat cucumbers at every meal for so many days in a row before you start to feel like you are, in fact, a cucumber.

This is where food preservation and canning comes in. Canning is a wonderful way to store your fruits and vegetables from the garden or the farmer’s market while they are in season and make the harvest last through winter when local and seasonal foods are scarce.

Canning in both water baths and pressure cooking heats the food, killing any microorganisms that may grow, and also creates a vacuum seal in the jar. The vacuum seal will prevent any air from coming in contact with the preserved food that could encourage cell growth and cause the food to spoil.

1. Start by sterilizing your jars.

Wash your lids and jars in hot soapy water. Then move them to a boiling water bath for ten minutes to sterilize. Remove jars from the water bath, but leave the lids in the hot water until you’re ready to use them to ensure they don’t come in contact with anything before you seal your jars.

2. Fill your jars.

There are a few things to remember when filling your jars. First, be sure not to fill them completely. Produce expands during the boiling process, so leaving adequate space at the top prevents the jar from leaking and making a mess.

After filling your jar with produce, unless canning jams, jellies and preserves, you’ll be pouring liquid to submerge the fruit or vegetables. Pour the boiling water, pickling solution or juice to cover up to the top of your produce.

Make sure there are no air bubbles along the sides of the jar and that the produce is submerged in the liquid. Wipe the rims of the jars down with a clean cloth and cap with the flat sealing lids and rims.

3. Process your jars.

Preheat water in your pot or pressure cooker. For hot produce, water should be preheated to 180º F, and for cold produce, it should be around 140º F. This will help prevent the jars from cracking when they are placed in the pot.

Water should be an inch or two above the top of the canning jar when they are placed in the pot for a water boiling process. Use a pressure canner according to the manufacturer’s directions to determine the amount of water needed in the bottom prior to adding the jars.

Add the jars using your tongs or jar lifter, and place them in the vessel so they are not touching. Place the lid on your pot or pressure canner. With water bath canning, bring the water to a slow boil and then start your timer to process for the length of time dictated by which vegetable you’re canning and the altitude at which you live. For pressure cooking, you’ll want to check for the length and temperature needed for your region as well.

4.  Remove your jars and let them cool.

Place your jars on a flat wood or cloth-covered solid surface to let them cool. Let them sit for a day to completely cool. While cooling, your jars will start to pop, creating the vacuum seal.

After they have cooled, press down on the center of your jars to ensure they have sealed completely. Any lids that spring back have not sealed and can be placed in the refrigerator and eaten first.

5.  Label and store your preserved food.

Label your jars with the contents and the date. You can write directly on the lid with a Sharpie or download and print or purchase specialty labels for your jars.

Once you have them labeled and have wiped off any food pieces or water from the outside of the jar, store your food in a dark, dry place until you’re ready to enjoy.
 

 

Canning Bacon

                

I use wide mouth quart canning jars.

It takes a little over a pound of bacon for each jar.

You’ll need some parchment paper. I found it at the grocery store in the section with foil, plastic wrap, etc.

Prepare the jars and lids as you would for canning anything else — Wash and boil the jars to sterilize. Bring the bands and lids to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Keep everything in hot water until ready to use.

Pull off about 3 or 4 feet of parchment paper. Depending on the width, I usually cut mine in half lengthwise. You’re going to roll the bacon slices up in the paper and put them in the jar, so you want the paper about as wide as the jar is tall. I found that it doesn’t really matter if the paper is a little too short or too long. To be honest, I think you could just stuff the bacon in the jars without the paper and it would be fine. You just wouldn’t have nice slices when you’re cooking it. But, I’ll tell you about cooking it later. I also found that it works better to cut the bacon to about the same length as the jar is tall so that it fits to about 1″ below the rim. You can hold a stick, string, ruler, slice of bacon, or whatever you want to use as a guide for cutting your bacon. After the first few, you won’t need it. You’ll be able to just eyeball it. It doesn’t have to be exact, but if it’s too long, you’ll end up wasting space stuffing ends in the jar. You’ll get more bacon in each jar if they fit better.

 1. Prepare the jars and lids.

2. Get your parchment paper ready.

3. Trim bacon ends (or do this as you go, if you prefer)

4. Starting at one end of the parchment paper, lay a strip of bacon across it, roll it, add another strip, roll, and keep going. I ended up laying out strip after strip of bacon, with a little space in between, then rolling it up that way. If your paper is too short, just add another in by overlapping a little.

5. When your roll is about the same size as the jar opening, either continue wrapping the rest of the paper around, or cut it off.

For my last jar, I end up adding piece after piece of leftover paper. 6. Now, just stuff your bacon roll in the jar.

That’s it.

When they’re all full, wipe the rims clean, put the lids and bands on the jars and can them.

7. Process in a pressure canner for 90 minutes at 10 pounds of pressure. 

 As I’m rolling the bacon, I save my ends and use them separately for bacon bits or something.

When you’re ready to use the bacon, the entire roll will come out at once, but it is a little messy. I have a metal bowl ready to put the paper in. There will be liquid left in the jar. Over a skillet, I just start unrolling the bacon. Fry it up as usual. This cooks differently than fresh bacon. It does get crisp, but it rarely stays in nice long strips. It sort of crumbles as you cook.  It does stay in larger pieces than just crumbles, though. If you don’t want it crisp, it is more likely to stay in strips. Since it’s already cooked, you just need enough cooking to make sure it’s safe to eat.

Step by step canning instructions

In this economy home canning is making a comeback….we have the step by step directions you will need to try this yourself. All of your canning needs can be found at your local Evergreen Supply store.

Canning is no more difficult than many other types of food preparation, and it allows you to enjoy the delicious flavors of fresh produce all year long. Grow your own, or buy locally; you’ll be able to lower your grocery bills, support sustainable lifestyles, and manage your family’s nutrition all at the same time. It’s a great way to be creative in the kitchen as well! In just a few easy steps, this guide will teach you the simple art of canning.

In this document, you will find information about:

  • Preparing the Jars
  • Preparing the Canner
  • Preparing the Recipe
  • Filling and Capping the Jars
  • Heat Processing
  • Sealing
  • Storing

PREPARING THE JARS

  • Visually examine your glass preserving jars and two-piece caps.
  • Wash the jars, lids, and bands in hot soapy water. Rinse well. Dry bands.
  • Heat the jars and lids in hot water until ready to use (do not boil). Jars need to be hot to prevent breakage when hot food is added. Lids need to be hot to activate the sealing compound. However, boiling lids will cause seal failure.
  • Leave bands at room temperature for easy handling.

PREPARING THE CANNER

Boiling Water Canner (for high-acid foods such as tomatoes, fruit, and pickles)

  • Fill half full with hot water.
  • Keep water at a simmer, covered with lid, until ready to use.

Steam Pressure Canner (for low-acid foods such as vegetables and meats)

  • Fill with 3″ to 4″ of hot water.
  • Keep water at a simmer until ready to use.
  • Follow manufacturer’s instructions for further information.

PREPARING THE RECIPE

  • Always start with a current, tested FreshPreserving™ recipe.
  • Prepare recipe as stated – do not make changes. Adding or changing ingredients can affect pH and heat penetration. However, you can safely add dry spices or flavored oils.

FILLING THE JARS

  • Ladle the hot food into hot jars, leaving the appropriate headspace as specified below. Headspace is the space between the top of the food product and the top of the jar.
  • 1″ for low-acid foods (vegetables, meats, seafood, and poultry).
  • 1/2″ for high-acid foods (fruits, tomatoes, pickles, and salsa).
  • 1/4″ for fruit juices and soft spreads (jams, jellies, marmalades, etc.).
  • Incorrect Headspace: Too much headspace will result in less vacuum. Too little headspace may result in food being forced under the lid.

  • Fill jars one at a time to maintain correct Initial Temperature. Initial Temperature (IT) is the temperature of the food when it is ladled into a jar and immediately capped. IT is a factor for heat penetration and is critical for product sterility. Filling and capping jars in an assembly-line fashion causes the product to drop below the required fill/cap temperature. Insufficient IT could lead to an unsafe product.
  • Remove air bubbles. Run a nonmetallic spatula between food and jar. Press back gently on food to expel air bubbles. Repeat 2 to 3 times around jar. Air bubbles around food pieces may not be readily visible. Failure to remove air bubbles will increase headspace and cause insufficient vacuum.

CAPPING THE JARS

  • Wipe rim and threads of jar with a clean, damp cloth.
  • Center hot lid on jar, allowing sealing compound to come in contact with the jar rim.
  • Apply band and adjust until fit is “fingertip tight.” Bands only function to hold the lid in place. If band torque is too tight, the lid will not vent properly. If band torque is too loose, the lid will not be held tight enough to the jar to make a proper seal.

HEAT PROCESSING

  • Place filled, sealed jars on rack.
  • Place rack into canner.
  • Process for method and time indicated on current, tested FreshPreserving™ recipe, adjusting for altitude. Correct time and temperature are important to ensure a safely preserved food product.

Boiling Water Canner Method

  • Lower rack of filled, sealed jars into water.
  • Be sure jars and caps are covered by 1″ to 2″ of water.
  • Bring water to a gentle, steady boil.
  • Process for the time indicated in recipe.
  • Upon completion of processing, turn off heat and remove lid.
  • Let jars stand for 5 minutes.

Steam Pressure Canner Method

  • Lock lid into place.
  • Bring water to a boil.
  • Once a steady stream of steam is escaping from the vent pipe, vent for 10 minutes.
  • Place weight on vent.
  • Bring pressure to 10 lbs (at or below 1,000 feet altitude).
  • Process for time indicated in recipe.
  • Upon completion of processing, turn off heat.
  • Let pressure return to 0 naturally, then wait 2 minutes.
  • Open vent and remove canner lid.
  • Let jars rest for 10 minutes.

SEALING

  • Remove jars from canner and set upright on dry towel to cool. Do not retighten bands – it may interfere with the seal.
  • Let jars cool, undisturbed, for 12 to 24 hours.
  • Check seal. Lids should not flex up and down when center is pressed.Remove bands and try to lift lids off with fingertips. If the lid cannot be lifted off, it has a good seal.

STORING

  • Clean jars and lids.
  • Remove bands for storage.
  • Label each jar.
  • Store in a cool, dry, dark place for up to 1 year.


Content provided by Ball Canning

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