We’re into that time of year again and I’m definitely working to get ahead of posts so we can all get in on the canning. I’m excited to have hubby on bored to help. Now to get down to my parents and grab any canning supplies they aren’t using.
The benefits of having a garden are second to none. Coming in from a hard day of work and pulling out a jar of homemade jam, just makes everything better. There is absolutely nothing better than homemade canned goods. Something about knowing you put your time and effort into making something your friends and family can enjoy, just brings a sense of accomplishment, and the compliments don’t hurt either.
Once you have toiled to create the best sauce or jam and enjoyed the first batch over a warm plate of pasta or spread out on a steaming hot biscuit, you are left with one dilemma. How should you preserve your precious prize? One way would be to toss it in a zip-lock bag and hope that it tastes as good as when it was made. Why play Russian roulette with your raspberry jam and the snap-seal of some plastic bag when canning is obviously the way to go.
Canning is a great way to store your savory sauces and other tasty treats for later use. Canning works because it heats food to kill bacteria while sealing them in a glass or metal container. This process prevents them from spoiling. Having canning supplies handy when you make your sauces or jams, just means that you can keep more of your food fresh for use during the off-season.
Generally, fruits are canned using a boiling water canner. However, fruits like tomatoes (yes, they are actually considered fruits) and applesauce can be canned in a pressure canner due to the pH levels in the fruit.
Fruit does tend to discolor if it is canned naturally, which can be prevented by adding some lemon juice or vitamin C to some water and then placing the fruit in it. Sometimes, fruits need to be packed in simple syrup. There are a few different variations on syrups ranging from light to heavy, but they all use the same ingredients in different amounts.
While some fruits can be canned in a boiling water canner that is not an option for vegetables. Because they are generally more dense and do not contain as much self-preserving sugars as fruits, they must be canned at higher pressure and temperature in order to keep the integrity of the food.
It is extremely important, when canning vegetables, that you remove all of the air bubbles that tend to get caught in the nooks and crannies between pieces and around the sides of the jar. Unlike fruit, many vegetables don’t conform to the shape of the jar or can. This can be done easily by running a spatula around the inside of the jar between the glass and the produce.
Canning fruits and vegetables are extremely rewarding and a great way to preserve the fresh taste for the out of season times you have a craving. Not to mention the money you will save as you are eating healthier.
The most important thing, and this cannot be stressed enough, is to make sure that there is an airtight seal on whatever container you are using. This will keep the flavors of your products locked in place, while keeping the food safe. Now consider all of your favorite foods that you can be canning soon to give away for an incredible Christmas gift.