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Valerie Garner
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Home Canning For Beginners

Are you the type of person who likes to do things the old fashioned way? I mean by holding onto the traditions, and knowing how things were done before we advanced beyond these stages. Then let me introduce you to canning for beginners. This is one of the most rewarding hobbies that anyone could possibly do. You can learn how your grandparents preserved food for the winter. All you need to have is a pressure cooker, some canning jars/w lids, some food that you would like to try to preserve and the desire to do it. Cooking under pressure will trap steam from the boiling water in order to reach the temperature it needs to kill bacteria and make it possible to preserve your foods.

For beginners, it is better to start out with a boiling water canning method. This is the most inexpensive way to learn how to can and you will be proud of your efforts after it is finished. You will need some canning jars, and lids, both pints and quarts, which are very good for canning tomatoes, pickles, and other such fruit. Small 8oz jars are good for preserving things such as relish and jellies. They come 12 to a box and have lids for each one. These jars are tempered for canning and therefore it is unwise to use any jar, such as a mayonnaise jar, or a jar that has previously had jelly or jam in it.

 You will also need a very large pot with a lid that is deep enough to cover the jars to be canned by at least one inch, and two inches would be even better. You should also have a rack to place the jars in to keep them off the bottom. If you didn’t get a rack with your pot, you may simply place a rack in the bottom of the pot to keep the jars from touching the bottom. Another instrument that you will need is plastic knife or spatula to stir the filled jars and release any trapped air. And a large mouth plastic funnel, and a set of strong, long handled jar pullers for taking the hot jars out of the water. You will need a dish towel to dry any water off of the jars as you take them out of the pot. 


Always use the freshest fruits possible, and wash and peel the fruits before you begin the cooking process. There's a product called Fresh Fruit that is recommended to prevent fruit from discoloration.  Read the directions to get the recipe for a sugar water syrup that's either light, medium or heavy, experiment to see which you like best. Pour this syrup over the fruit. While you are preparing your food for cooking, you should put some jars into water and let it come to a boil for a few minutes. Then place the food into the hot jars filling about ˝ inch from the top. Run your wood spoon or spatula through the food jars releasing any trapped air. Remove any other food from the outside of the jars, put your lids on and tighten them down. Place the jars back into the pot and fill with warm or hot water and place back on the stove. Be sure to cover the jars about an inch over the lids.  

Once they have come to a boil, put the lid on the pot. After the water has been boiling vigorously for a few minutes, take the lid off the pot, and let it continue to boil for the time limit in your recipe, usually 10 minutes is good for pickles, and 25 to 30 minutes for fruits, and 35 to 40 minutes for tomatoes.

When they have been cooking for the allotted time, turn the pot off and place the jars on a towel to drip dry and allow to cool, preferably overnight. Before leaving the jars to cool check each jar to make sure there are no lids popped up in the middle. If this has happened, the jars of food are no good because they didn’t seal.  

There is no better feeling than the feeling you get once you learn to preserve food. It is beneficial for anyone that like to learn how things were done by our grandparents, it is one way to work in the past.

By Valerie Garner











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