Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Easy Canning Tips and Tricks

With all of the Mason jar glasses, Mason jar flower vases, and Mason jar lamps filling up our Pinterest boards, it is easy to forget to use them for their original purpose- canning! If you are like us and love to eat fresh seasonal food, the long stretch of winter can seem awfully flavorless without the juicy peaches and plump tomatoes that we enjoy in the summer. Although canning can seem intimidating to a first timer, canning homemade food is actually a very simple process, and you will get more comfortable with it once you dive in. Today, we are sharing some tips for canning food for first-timers.

Step One: Assemble Your Materials

While you can wash and re-use the glass and rims of the Mason jars, you must buy new lids every time to get a perfect seal that will protect your food from contamination. A canning funnel is also extremely helpful when pouring your sauces, jams, or foods into a narrow jar to prevent spillage from occurring. You will also want to purchase a canning rack, which is a metal rack that can be placed inside your large pot to easily pull the jars out of the water bath when they are done. Finally, a pair of sturdy tongs with easy grips will allow you to move your jars around without being fearful of coming into contact with scalding water or hot glass. Fortunately, many kitchenware manufacturers sell kits with all of supplies you will need for your canning project, like this one from Ball.

Step Two: Which Canning Method is Right for You?

The two predominant ways to can your foods are either by water bath canning, the style you are likely most familiar with, or by pressure canning. Water bath canning is great for high-acid foods, such as jams, jellies, fruits, tomato sauces, pickles, and salsas. Pressure canning is the safest method for low-acid foods like vegetables, soups, stews, stocks, meats, and seafood. If your recipe combines high-acid foods like tomatoes with low-acid foods like beef, pressure canning is still the safest method to prevent bacteria from contaminating your food.

Step Three: Canning Your Food

Ball, the manufacturer that we all associate with canning and jarring food, is the best source for step-by-step directions on both water bath canning and pressure canning. If you are a more visual learner, you will love this easy to follow, step-by-step video tutorial “Tips for Water Bath Canning for Dummies.” Or, if you are looking for a video on how to use a pressure canner, check out this great video.



Step Four: Enjoy!

Of course, the best benefit of canning your own recipes is having delicious homemade food to enjoy throughout the year. Once you complete the canning process, check each jar lid to be sure that the seal is strong. Press down on the lids and feel if they pop back against your finger. If they do, this means that they did not seal sufficiently, and in this case you should place it in the fridge and enjoy within the recommended time frame for that item, generally five to seven days. Otherwise, label your food with the date and place in a cool, dark place for up to a year.


What are your favorite foods to can? Do you have any special tips and tricks for canning food of your own? Let us know in the comments!

Be sure to visit us at www.parisfarmersunion.com for canning jars, lids and handy kitchen gadgets to make canning food fun, safe, easy and delicious!

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