Canning today, is easier than it’s ever been. In the old days it could take a whole week to can one section of vegetables from your garden. Today, a whole garden can be completed in a day or two. While industrial canning can take place in a matter of minutes now, there are still some standard precautionary measures to take while canning at home. Here are some things to remember when canning this year:
High Acid vs. Low Acid
It is important to know the acidity of the foods you are trying to can. Some foods have a high acidity, while others are extremely low. Knowing the acid level of your food gives you the knowledge of how to make sure they are safely canned. High acid foods can be safely canned in a boiling water canner, while the low acid foods can only be canned safely in a pressure cooker.
Low acid foods, strangely enough with a pH higher than 4.6, cannot stave off the harmful bacteria at low temperatures, like those found in a boiling water canner. These low acid foods are things like vegetables, proteins, sauces and soups. These must be canned in a pressure canner that reaches at least 240 degrees Fahrenheit.
High acid foods, with a pH lower than 4.6, can safely be canned in a boiling water bath because their natural acidity helps to kill and prevent the bacteria that can form. The lower temperature is enough, combined with the natural acidity of the food, to be safely preserved. These types of foods include fruit, jams, jellies, relishes and acidified tomatoes.
It is important to follow the instructions on the recipe exactly. Any deviation in technique could lead to spoiled foods or food that doesn’t taste right because too much salt or acid was used. Things to remember are times in the pressure canner or boiling water bath, how much acid to add to the can and the right amounts of spices to be added. You don’t want to to go the work of making all these jars of food, only to not be able to eat them because their flavor is gross.
Use Proper Materials
Make sure the jar is properly cleaned, the flat has not been used and the band is not rusted or warped in any way. It is important to use proper techniques when canning, otherwise the seal may not hold or certain bacteria may be incorporated into the food. Using the right types of canner for the job is also important. For example, having a pressure canner, which does not hold a proper seal, may make it difficult to get a proper seal on the can or can keep the food from reaching the proper temperature for it to preserve correctly.
Follow the rules in order to properly preserve your favorite foods. Know your food, follow the recipe and instructions and use the right materials to make sure your canning will work out for the best. Keeping it simple is the easiest way to make your canning go as quickly as possible because it helps reduce the amount of mistakes being made that can spoil your food.
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