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Canning Food to Enjoy All Year Long

Before refrigeration existed, people used canning to preserve the food from harvest all year round. Learn the canning basics below!

Canned Tomatoes   Canned Oranges

The process of canning kills microorganisms that cause food to spoil and seals the jar to prevent any other spoilers from getting in.

Some food requires high temperature and pressure to be preserved, while other, more acidic food can be preserved with a boiling water bath.

Here are the basic supplies you’ll need for canning…

Let’s get started!

General Guidelines

Canner

  1. Sterilize your jars by submerging them in boiling water until you are ready to use them.
  2. Use a trusted recipe.
  3. Make sure to leave enough headspace between the food and the top of the jar. Your recipe will indicate the amount of headspace to use for what you are canning, but as a general rule of thumb, you should leave 1/4″ of space for jellies, juices, jams, and relishes, 1/2″ of space for pickles, tomatoes, and fruit, and 1-1 1/2″ for meats and other vegetables.
  4. Use a plastic utensil to remove all air bubbles from inside the jar before sealing.
  5. Make sure to wipe the edge of your jar clean before attempting to seal.
  6. Use 2-piece lids and only tighten them to finger-tip tight.
  7. Do not tilt jars or turn them upside down until they are sealed.
  8. Use a jar lifter to place the jars in the canner and remove them once finished.
  9. Allow jars to cool for 24 hours, undisturbed, once they are filled and processed.

Boiling Water Canning

Canned Jam

Fruits and vegetables are high-acidity foods, so your jams, jellies, pickles, and some tomato products can be canned using this method. Make sure to check your recipe for the appropriate type of canning if you are unsure which kind to use.

  1. After following all of the steps listed in the General Guidelines above, fill your canner with enough water to cover the jars by 1-2 inches. Bring the water to a boil.
  2. Once your recipe is prepared, ladle the food into the hot, sterilized jar, paying close attention to the headspace requirement listed in the recipe.
  3. Center the lid on the jar and tighten the ring to fingertip tight.
  4. Using a jar lifter, place the jars on a rack inside the canner.
  5. Return the water to boiling.
  6. Put the lid on the canner and leave it during processing.
  7. Allow the cans to boil gently for the amount of time dictated by your recipe.
  8. Gently remove the jars using your jar lifter.
  9. Set them upright on a towel at least 2 inches apart and leave undisturbed for 24 hours.
  10. After 24 hours, check the seals to make sure that the middle of the lid does not flex when pressed. This means the jar is sealed.
  11. Store the jars in a cool, dry area.

Pressure Canning

Assorted Canned Goods

Most meats and vegetables will need to be pressure canned, since they don’t contain enough acidity to naturally remove the bacteria and spores that would survive high water temperature. Make sure you check your recipe if you are unsure which type of canning to use.

  1. Follow all of the steps listed in the General Guidelines above.
  2. Once your recipe is prepared, ladle the food into the hot, sterilized jar, paying close attention to the headspace requirement listed in the recipe.
  3. Center the lid on the jar and tighten the ring to fingertip tight.
  4. Place 2-3 inches of water in your pressure canner and, using a jar lifter, place your filled jars on the rack.
  5. Heat the water to boiling and allow to steam for 10 minutes before closing the petcock.
  6. Add the pressure regulator and allow the pressure to build to the level indicated by your recipe. Maintain this pressure level for the length of time requested by your recipe. If the pressure falls below this level, reset your timer and start over.
  7. Remove your canner from the heat and let the pressure decrease naturally to 0 pounds.
  8. After the canner is at 0 pounds, wait 2 minutes and remove the pressure regulator.
  9. 10 minutes later, remove the canner lid.
  10. Remove jars from the canner using the jar lifter and allow them to rest upright on a towel, undisturbed, for at least 24 hours.
  11. After 24 hours, check the seals to make sure that the middle of the lid does not flex when pressed. This means the jar is sealed.
  12. Store the jars in a cool, dry area.

Canned Jams, Jellies, & Preserves   Canned Veggies

With these instructions, you should be well on your way to canning all types of foods for your family to enjoy all year round. Let us know how it goes or share your canning recipes in the comments!