Essential canning tips
With a few tools and basic techniques, you're on your way
"We wanted to support our local farmers, buy as much pro-duce as we could, and can all day ― like in the old days, making food for the winter," Glazier explains.
None of the four friends had canned before, but they jumped in and learned together. "It was so much fun," says Glazier. By the end of their first day, they had transformed boxes of produce into gleaming jars, and everyone got to take some home.
2 Fill canner with water and heat it up. The canner should be two-thirds full for pint and half-pint jars; half-full for quart jars. Set rack on pan rim and cover pan. Over high heat, bring water to a boil (180° to 185° for pickles); this takes 30 to 45 minutes.
3 Meanwhile, wash canning jars and rings in a dishwasher and hand-wash lids; drain. For jam only, sterilize the washed jars too: When water in canner boils, place jars on rack, lower into water, and boil for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to a simmer and keep jars in water until needed.
5 Rinse produce, then prepare as recipe directs.
3 Center lids on jars so the sealing compound on lids touches jar rims. Screw metal rings on firmly, but don’t force.
3 Press on the center of each lid. If it stays down, the jar is sealed. If it pops up, it isn’t (you can still eat the food ― chill it as if it were leftovers). Label jars and store in a cool, dark place up to 2 years for best quality.
National Center for Home Food Preservation All the USDA canning guidelines on one handy site.
Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving (Robert Rose, 2006; $23) by Judi Kingry and Lauren Devine. Sound advice and 400 recipes from the company that makes the jars.
Can foods that taste much better in season than out of season, such as tomatoes.
Focus on one food per day ― say, beans for pickling, or berries for jam.
Make large amounts so you get a good payoff for your time (our recipes each make a lot).
Don’t double the recipes For reliable results, stick to the amounts given. If you want to make two batches, start the second while the first is in the canner.