Now that you have several easy and yummy canning recipes, I thought I'd share the actually canning process with you. Canning isn't near as scary as it seems, it's just very time-consuming.
Sterilize your jars either by running them through the dishwasher (if you have one, which I don’t) or by boiling them. Boiling them right in your canner is easiest, but I can’t because my canner is old and rusty, so I just use other big pots of water to sterilize my jars. Make sure the water is above the rims of the jars. I keep my jars boiling while I finish up my fruit prep. Canners can be picked up at most stores or I see them at thrift store 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. You just don't want to sterilize your jars in it. If you're really new to canning, you might just want to borrow a canner. You may hate canning like I do :)
Fill your canner with water, place the lid on it and get it boiling.
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 down as low as it can go and place my lids and rings inside. That way they stay nice and hot.
To fill your jars, you want to work with hot product, hot jars, hot lids, etc. Keep everything sterilized the best you can. Wash your hands a lot while canning.
Pull your hot jars out of the boiling water with canning tongs or using your canning rack. I’m not sure if canning tongs are really what they’re called, but they’re essential for working with hot jars. Pour the water out gently and place the hot jars onto a towel on your counter. Make sure your kitchen is draft-free.
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.
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 and lower the rack into the boiling water and 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 jars are in the canner and it’s boiling. Once 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. Let the jars sit until they are all cooled and sealed. I give my jars 24 hours before I figure they aren’t going to seal. 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. Wipe down all the jars and enjoy!!!
And one thing you won't enjoy is the mess LOL... or maybe I'm just extra messy, especially notice the black goo on the front left burner area....
what could the goo be from?
yes, that's a melted pen that must have rolled under my canner. It was a puddle and once it hardened we scraped it off and figured out what it even was.... hahaha We're just lucky it didn't catch on fire. I still have a puddle of ink on my stove that bubbles whenever I use that burner. Gross!!!