Sunday, November 15, 2009

How to Can Using a Water-Bath Canner

I thought I'd share the actually canning process with you. Canning isn't near as scary as it seems, but it can be very time-consuming.

Sterilize your jars either by running them through the dishwasher or by boiling them.  If your items will be processing more than 10 minutes, you don't need to sterilize them, just make sure they are clean.

Canners can be picked up at most stores or I see them at thrift stores, A LOT. They just look like a big lidded pot with a metal rack in it. Don't be scared if the rack is rusty. Mine is and it processes the jars just fine.  If you're really new to canning, you might just want to borrow a canner to start and see how you like it.

Fill your canner with water, place the lid on it and get it boiling while you prep your items to can.

Place your lids (make sure they are new) and your rings (don’t have to be new) in a small sauce pan of hot water. I usually bring my water to a boil, turn it off and place my lids and rings inside. That way they stay nice and hot.  You used to need to boil your lids to soften the seals.  This isn't something you need to do any more with modern lids.

To fill your jars, you want to work with hot product, hot jars, hot lids, etc. Keep everything clean and sterilized the best you can. Wash your hands a lot while canning.

A wide-mouth funnel is fabulous for canning. I usually use a 1 c. measuring cup to scoop my fruit into the hot jars. Fill the jars to the mouth and then use a knife or a special plastic canning tool to run inside your jar near the sides to work out any air bubbles. Add a bit more fruit to fill it to about ¼” below the rim.  Different canning recipes call for different "headspace" measurements, but 1/4" is pretty standard.

Another great canning tool is a magnet lid lifter which is used to get your flat lids out of the super hot water they’re sitting in. Before you place the lid on use a clean rag or paper towel to wipe the rim of the jar clean. Set the lid and the ring on the jar and tighten. Use a towel to hold the jar, because it will be hot.

Place all the jars in the canner rack using your canning tongs and lower the rack into the boiling water.  Replace the lid on the canner. My quart jar canner has a liftable rack. My smaller pint/half-pint canner doesn’t, so I just use my canning tongs to place the jars in one by one.

If the boiling water isn’t at least one inch above your filled jars add boiling water to the pot. Start timing once all the jars are in the canner and it’s boiling. Once the time is up, remove the jars and place them right-side-up on a towel on your counter without touching each other. You can slightly tilt the jars as lifting to drain the water off the top, but don’t shake them around too much.

Once again, keep your kitchen draft-free to prevent breakage. Let the jars sit until they are all cooled and sealed. Give your jars 24 hours before you text the seals.  I rarely have non-sealers, but if I do I just put them in my fridge and use them.

You’ll hear a lot of pop-pop-pops as they seal and it’s the happiest sound on canning day. After 24 hours test the tops of all the jars by pressing down on the lids. If the lid pops up and down you’ll know it didn’t seal and you'll want to refrigerate and use soon.  Remove the rings of all the jars that did seal and wipe the jars well, especially where the ring had been.  Label and store without the rings.


The Garden of Egan said...

I love the pop pop pop. Ohhhhh sorry about the mess, canning kinda is that way but so worth it! I loved your tutorial.

One Christian Mom said...

Thank you so much for sharing! I read the recipes in awe as I think of the fact that I don't know how to can. maybe I will be lucky and find a canner at the thrift store soon and give this a try! Now when I see one I will know what it is :)

ukyankoz said...

Thanks Angie!! It's a bit less scary now - I think I'll give it a try! :)

Jen said...

I'm so anxious to get canning! Where is the best place to get a pot?

Anonymous said...

i first read that as How to can using bath water!!!

think its time to see the optometrist! ;)

i'm so in awe....i'd love to do canning!