Canning is a great method for preserving vegetables, fruits, jams and jellies for up to a year. It will save you money and extend the fruits of your gardening efforts (pun intended) long after the garden has gone to rest.

For useful recipes, visit http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/can_home.html.

There are two methods you can use for canning, depending on what implements you have available.

Materials Needed:

A Pot or Pressure canner
Rack ( if you do not have a rack use mason jar caps that you can rubber band together)
Tongs
Mason jars that have no cracks
A new top

Method 1: Boiling Water Canning:

If you are canning a fruit or vegetable that is acidic with a ph of 4.6 or lower, you use a regular pot or boiling water canner. Examples include fruit or tomatoes.

  1. Fill the canner or pot half full with water.
  2. Heat enough water so that once the jars are placed in the container there will still be 1-2 inches of water above the jars. If you are concerned that you do not have enough water, heat water separately in another pot.
  3. Preheat water to 140 degrees for a raw packed food and 180 degrees for a hot packed food.
  4. Fill and close jars. Wipe off the lid to make sure there is not leftover food.
  5. Place jars on rack in pot. Make sure there is at least 1 inch above the jar.
  6. Turn the heat on high. Place the lid on the canner
  7. Set the timer for the number of minutes your food requires. If you are at an altitude of more than 1000 feet add five minutes (check your altitude at http://www.daftlogic.com/sandbox-google-maps-find-altitude.htm.
  8. Check to make sure your water is still boiling and the water level is still an inch above your can. If it has stopped boiling, bring it back to a boil and restart your time.  If the water level is low, add water.
  9. After the timer goes off, turn off the heat, wait 5 minutes and then remove the lid. Be careful, it may be hot.
  10. After five minutes, use a jar lifter or tongs to remove each jar. Place the jars on a towel or rack leaving one-inch space between the jars for air flow. Do not place in areas that could have a draft.
  11. Let the jars sit for 12-24 hours. Do not touch the lids during this time.

Method 2: Pressure Canning:

You want to use a pressure canner if you are canning something with a ph above 4.6 such as meats and most vegetables.

  1. Fill your can with water and put a lid on it.
  2. For hot pack foods heat the water to 180 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Place the filled jar on the rack in the canner. Leave space between the jars to allow air circulation.
  4. Fasten the canner lid securely
  5. Place burner on high and heat until the water boils. Let the steam flow for 10 minutes
  6. If you’re using a weighted gauge, place the weighted gauge on the canner. 
  7. For a dial gauge let the water pressure rise quickly to the correct setting.
  8. Start timing the process to the correct amount of time for what your canning. If the dial gauge is no longer at the correct pressure or the weighted gauge stops rocking, get the pressure back up and start timing over again.
  9. When timed process is complete, turn off the heat and remove the canner from the heat. Do not remove the jars until it has depressurized.
  10. It takes about 30 minutes to depressurize for pint jars, 45 minutes for quart jars, and 1 hour for 22 quart jars.
  11. Use a jar lifter or tongs to remove each jar. Place the jars on a towel or rack leaving one-inch space between the jars for air flow. Do not place in areas that could have a draft.
  12. Let the jars sit for 12-24 hours. Do not touch the lids.

About The Blogger

Tara Allentuck is a Landscape Architect out of Virginia Tech. She is an avid Hokie fan. A founder of RightPlantz and self professed plant geek, Tara is currently working on food justice and sustainability issues in Pittsburgh, PA.

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