I just got a pressure canner for my birthday (thanks mom and dad!). It also doubles as a boiling water bath canner. But before I try my hand at these two methods of canning, I thought I would walk you all through the process.
Canning is a way to preserve perishable foods well past their normal shelf life. It uses heat and acid (sometimes) to kill of harmful organisms present within the produce and seals it in a jar so that no new organisms can get in.
The two methods for canning are Boiling Water Bath canning and Pressure Canning. BWB canning is used for high-acid foods (some tomatoes, fruits, pickles). Pressure canning must be used for low-acid foods (vegetables, meats, beans). BWB canning does not produce high enough temperatures to kill bacteria in low-acid foods, and if not properly processed, can give you or your loved ones botulism. Yikes!
These two methods for canning a very different, so I will cover them in separate posts.
Boiling Water Bath
The boiling water bath method is just that: boiling water used to kill bacteria and other harmful organisms in high-acid foods. The process is simple; wash and sterilize your jars.
Heat your water in the canner to boiling while you fill the hot jars with whatever you’re processing.
Place the hot filled jars into the water bath (on a canning rack. Jars that sit directly on the bottom of the canner can crack or be poorly processed).
Boil them for the amount of time specified, then remove and cool.
It really is. Once the jars are out and cooling, you can hear the seals engage with a satisfying metallic pop.
I have wanted to start canning for quite a while. It is a great way to save money and get the most out of fruits and vegetables harvested in-season. I do not currently have a vegetable garden (that will be changing this fall, hopefully) but if you have a farmer’s market available to you, then you can “put up” fresh, locally grown produce.
Plus, there is something satisfying about opening up your pantry and seeing rows of glass jars that you prepared.
If you are new to canning (I know I am) you need to have the home-canning bible:
The Ball Blue Book: Guide to Preserving. Often referred to as the BBB, this is the first resource to turn to when beginning to can.
It offers the reasons behind canning, how-to’s for both methods, and time-tested recipes. Even if you’re just thinking about adding canning to your list of kitchen skills, pick it up; it’s cheap.
This is just the beginning of my canning adventures. I’ll begin posting my experiences and recipes as I start exploring the world of putting up.