Home canning is definitely experiencing a revival! It’s a great way to preserve food! The thought of canning can be intimidating but today I have Sadie Lankford who is going to share some beginner tips for how to get started with canning.
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Thinking of canning? Here are some tips to get you started.
Beginner Tips For Canning
Do your homework. Read books about canning for beginners such as the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving which gives really good detailed instructions and recipes (check your library before buying any books), watch YouTube videos, and read articles (like this one!). Take notes, so you can use them when you get started.
Buy supplies as you can afford them or ask around before buying. The basic supplies you’ll need (or might want) include:
— Canning jars. I use ones that I bought for $9 for 12 at Wal-Mart. The seals were included.
— A funnel and ladle, for filling your jars. (you can buy a Canning Set on Amazon and it has everything you need except jars)
— Tongs/jar lifter ( to lift the jars from the water bath.)
— Large stock pot
— Pressure Canner and Cooker
–Non Metallic Spatula
-Cheesecloth to separate solids from liquids
Sterilize, sterilize, sterilize. This step is so important to me when it comes to canning. It might be because I’m overly-cautious, but I always recommend sterilizing your lids and jars in hot, soapy water. After they’re washed, place them in a boiling water bath for up about 8-10 minutes. You can leave the lids in the water until you’re ready to use them, just to be safe and reduce the risk of them coming in contact with something before you seal the jars.
Related article: Prep, Pick, Preserve
Slice and dice! Follow your favorite recipes (I find mine on Pinterest) and slice your fruits and veggies. Keep in mind that tomatoes should have lemon juice added to them before you can them to ensure they keep the proper pH level. Add ascorbic acid solution to fruits so they don’t brown before you can them.
Fill ’em up! Fill the jars with your vegetables (and/or fruits), and cover them with your pickling solution or boiling water just so you can cover all of the produce. Grab the lids from the water bath, wipe down the rims of the jars with a clean, damp paper towel, and seal them. Next, is processing.
Select the correct processing time. The processing time can vary, depending on your ingredients (are they hot or raw?), your jar size, and your elevation. Check out this chart to help you select the correct processing time. The lids of your jars will (or should) make a slight “pop” noise after they’ve been removed from the pot.
Do more research. If you’re still unsure on how to do something, check out books from the library (or buy them from Amazon), and read other how-to guides on canning, pickling, and preserving. It seems that while the basic steps are the same, each person does it a little differently so it’s always great to hear other perspectives.
Remember your why. Canning is a lot of fun, but it’s also work. If you get to a point where you start to get frustrated, remember why you started canning. Was it to save money? Was it so you could ditch the preservatives? Or maybe it was so you could make some extra money! Whatever your why, keep it in mind!
Sadie Lankford blogs at Slap Dash Mom where she shares lots of different things like recipes, crafts, fitness tips & parenting stories.
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Penny @ The Comforts of Home says
Very informative! My mom and grandma use to can all of the time.
I have never canned anything in my life. I have made jam a few times.
Looking at that jar of pickles tempts me to give it a try.
I’ve never canned either, though I would like to try someday. However, I wouldn’t want to do it alone the first time. Seems too daunting to me just reading instructions!
Manuela Williams says
I know! I have so many books and even a dvd on how to can, but I really need to be in the same room with someone to learn it. Same thing with knitting!
I have never canned, never wanted to learn, but have done a lot of freezing. My Mother, grandmothers, aunts, etc. all canned when I was growing up.
Very good advice. I have been canning for over 30 years, and I still love to make pickles. Everything else I freeze these days – much easier for me.
My grandmother canned all the time. There was nothing on a store shelf that could compare to the stuff we brought up from her cellar, especially those pickles of hers. We’ve tried to replicate them, but I think she had a secret ingredient in her bloodstream that came out when she breathed over her food because nobody can.
That said, this encourages me to (maybe) try, try, again!
Thanks for the tips, Manuela! I plan on canning dill pickles this year and also tomato juice. I canned last year and am looking forward to it again.