By Cat, July 2008 (Image, right, from hardwarestore.com (3))
Includes: 1. Canning resources; 2. Jars and lids; 3. What type of canner should I use?
I’m not what you would call an experienced canner. In fact, as I write this, I’m attempting canning for the first time, and thought I should jot down my notes where I could find them later; hence this blog entry. I have canned apples, applesauce, pears and rhubarb sauce in my hot water bath canner, and meat in my friend’s pressure canner (I don’t own one).
NOTE: this posting on my old website included a journal of my experiments with canning. I’ve decided not to copy it here, as recommendations change all the time so that I cannot keep up with it. Also each pressure canner works differently. Best to consult the instructions that came with your canner.
My main sources of information for this experiment are:
- Home Canning Pressures and Processing Times (1) brochure from our land-grant college, Montana State University;
- A box of KerrR mason lids.
Another great resource is the Canning section of Culinary Cafe (2)
Jars and lids
It’s best to use jars intended for canning, such as mason jars, as they are made to withstand the high heat.
Jars should be clean and free of chips or cracks. Each needs a lid in good condition (not bent or dented, and with the sealing compound intact); best not to reuse lids. And each needs a ring that is not rusty or bent; it’s OK to reuse the rings as long as they are not rusty or damaged; remove the rings after the jars are sealed.
What type of canner should I use?
- Acidic foods can be canned in a hot water bath. These foods include: fruits; fruit butters, jams and jellies; tomatoes and tomato sauces (with added lemon juice or citric acid); and pickled products such as pickled cucumbers, sauerkraut, pickled beets, pickle relish.
- Protein foods & vegetables should be canned in a pressure canner. These foods include meats, fish, beans; vegetables such as corn, beets, green beans, peas, and mushrooms; mixed veggies such as succotash; greens such as spinach and chard; winter squash and pumpkin; and various potatoes.
- A word on mushrooms: wild mushrooms cannot be canned safely.
My neighbor used to can fruit in her dishwasher on a ‘steam’ setting, but this is not recommended; nor is a steam canner.
Instead of canning your pickled products, lacto-ferment them (and do not replace the brine with vinegar); they will keep (with the lid in place) in a cool root cellar or refrigerator for a few months – to get you through the winter.
- MSU Extension Service Canning Guide (pdf file): msuextension.org/publications/HomeHealthandFamily/MT198329HR.pdf
- Culinary Cafe: culinarycafe.com and culinarycafe.com/recipe/Canning
- Canner image: housewares.hardwarestore.com