The Wonderful World of Canning!

(These are pickles I did last year)
Time to Dive into Canning!

It’s that time of year ago where my garden is growing, the green is taking over the yard and bees are humming everywhere! Vegetables galore in around my house! Last year was my first year diving into the canning process, though I’ve been growing vegetables for several years. My very first canning process was a success, it was simple pickles which could either be treated or set into the fridge. Most yields though of pickles aren’t small, so you will at least have to know the hot water process to be able to keep those pickles.I also did my own small batches of tomatoes, but they didn’t last very long, opened them the next day. Seriously, tomatoes..don’t expect me to just let them sit there staring at me. BBQ sauces as well, and other little small batches of condiments were made throughout the seasons as well as this year. Jelly’s and Jams are a shoe in, of course, but I don’t really count them as it’s nearly an every week thing here. My kids go through so much jam, jelly and spreads sometimes there’s o use to finish canning I just hand it over to them as they growl with hunger.

      This year as once again my garden is booming and bigger than the last, I must, with no choice head into pressure canning.
      There’s two kinds of canning, hot water bath, and pressure canning. You use the hot water bath for high acid foods, and pressure canning for low acid foods. There’s even two ways you may do that as well, Hot packed, which is filling jars with preheated, hot food prior to the heat process, or Raw packed. Raw packed method is when you fill jars with raw, unheated food before the whole heating process.
     Unless you are a seasoned canner it’s not recommended to start mixing up a bunch of vegetables and toss them together to can. Your mixing things that could end up causing more harm than anything else. Low acid foods if not processed correctly can sprout dangerous bacteria, mold and other dangerous things that yes, can kill you. So it’s no joke.
 If your new to canning, read directions,  follow them to the “T” After you are comfortable and know what your doing, know how each process works along with the food your combining, by all means, create your own fantastic recipe. Just be aware of what your doing.

 Besides knowing what process to use which with which kinds of foods, you need the right things to make it.
It must be a carefully planned out operation. You can’t be fiddling with things while your trying to can. Again read directions, plan before hand, it is after all a process.
Things you need
Jars, and jar lids. – It’s a long process, I cannot say this enough. The lids are to be kept in hot water, not boiling, the rings must be cleaned and dried, the jars must be kept hot. The reason why they must be hot is your about to pour HOT liquid into them, you cannot pour hot into a cold glass, it’s going to crack.  As well as taking them back out of the hot water. Some recipes call for leaving the jars in the canner unless everything has cooled, others say lift out to cool on the counter. Again, you can’t put a scolding hot glass jar on a cold surface, have some towels out to put them on and don’t touch the jars for 24hrs.
Other items-
Jar lifter: essential for easy removal of hot jars.
Jar funnel: helps in pouring and packing of liquid and small food items into canning jars.

Lid wand: magnetized wand for removing treated jar lids from hot water. –The kids call it my magic wand…haha 🙂 See I have magic powers!

Clean cloths: handy to have for wiping jar rims, spills and general cleanup. They happen alot. I’ve canned pickles all last summer no matter how many I did, or how organized I was, spills happened, you need a couple handy for anything.

Knives: for preparing food — But not used anywhere in or with jars. One tiny scratch and you may have just ruined your canning process.

Narrow, flat rubber spatula: for removing trapped air bubbles before sealing jars. —again nothing metal or even wooden. Wood spoons may seem perfect but they can absorb liquid. I doubt much at all would harm anything though.

Timer or clock: for accurate food processing time. Reading through the recipes for just pressure canning alone, time is everything. You don’t start timing till it’s hit the right pressure. While Hot water Canning is when the water is boiling.

Hot pads or towels, to use throughout.

Cutting board
 
Canner, Of course. For Hot bath method a simple tall pot will do, but you need a jar rack. You cannot have any jars whether the hot water method or the pressure method touching the bottom of the pan. Also the rack makes it easy to set jars in and keep them apart. You don’t want jars knocking into each other and cracked during your canning process.
This is a good one for Water Bath , they sell smaller or even larger ones, just make sure you get one with a rack.

 

Here’s One of many Pressure canners( these you MUST research big time. It’s not an easy thing to up and buy) I’m serious, I’ve been researching pressure canners for about two months now, and just now got one. Whew..Off of eBay as well, one with a weighed gauge on top. The ones they sell in stores and online all have dial gauge, most of these say you cannot use on a glass counter stove top, which I have. Yet another thing you must know before buying. These things are heavy duty, so before buying check out the weight of the canner itself (most are about 20lbs) now think of water being in it, as well as filled jars!! Heavy is an understatement at that point. There’s also these huge pressure canners  that  have a ton of screws, pretty neat looking but I kinda want to run and hide around the corner just by the looks of it. All it says is, “I have a bunch of screws to keep my lid on in case I feel like blowing up in your kitchen!”
      Nice eh? Nothing says intimidation like a big possible explosion in your own kitchen.
 “Hey kids, lets go experiment!” 🙂 I’m kidding…..

    

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