Canning is a brilliant way to preserve foods you love so that you can enjoy them year-round. You might be hesitant to try canning; don’t be! From jams and jellies to all manner of pickles, water-bath canning is a simple and safe process. Here is a quick walk-through, which includes the equipment you will need, of how to can recipes using a water bath.
It will make the canning process that much easier if you have the right equipment. This equipment isn’t fancy or expensive and often you can pick up an all-in-one canning kit. You’ll need:
- Large Canning Pot and Lid (18-21 Quarts): for processing and sterilizing the jars.
- Jar Rack: holds jars in place and easily lifts jars in and out of canning pot.
- Canning Funnel: which makes pouring liquids such as jelly or pickling liquid neat and tidy.
- Jar Lifter: which allows you to grasp jars very firmly and makes pulling out individual jars a breeze.
- Canning Jars, Lids and Bands: are glass jars safe for processing at high temperatures. They have corresponding metal lids and bands which create an air-tight seal.
Step-by-Step Water Bath Canning
- Sterilize: The easiest way to sterilize jars is to either run them through the dishwasher or to wash them in soapy water and bake them in a 350o F oven for 10 minutes. Alternatively, you can clean the jars using hot, soapy water and then place cleaned jars into boiling water in your canning pot for 10 minutes. Your jars should be hot and fairly dry at the time of canning.
- Make the Recipe: Fill your canning pot with water and bring it to a boil. Prepare your recipe for jam, jelly, conserves, chutneys and pickles.
- Fill the Jars: Fill the still warm jars with the prepared recipe using the canning funnel; leaving ½ inch room at the top of the jar. If pickling, make sure the fruit or vegetable is placed in the jar first and the pickling or brining liquid is poured over the top. Stir the contents to release air bubbles, wipe rim of each jar clean. Then put on the lids and screw on the band until just fingertip tight (do not completely tighten the band because air in the jar needs to escape).
- Process: place the filled jars in the canning insert and lower the insert into the pot of boiling water, making sure the jars are covered by at least 1″ of water. Process the jars for the right amount of time according to the recipe and altitude chart. As you increase in elevation, water boils at a lower temperature that are less effective for canning. After the processing time is up, turn off the heat and let the jars sit in the water for 5 minutes.
- Cool: Remove the cans from the potusing the canning insert and jar lifter and et the jars cool on a wire rack or towel for 24 hours. During the cooling period, you should hear a popping noise, which is the signal that the airtight seal is activated. You may check the seal by removing the bands; the lid should be taut and should adhere tightly to the rim of the jar. Store sealed jars in a cool, dark place. Your wonderful treats will keep for at least a year!