WHY WOULD I WANT TO ATTEMPT HOME CANNING?
You see from the picture that here is home canning food ready for the family that is fresh from the garden. This is my first thought and my second thought lingers on my mother who told me minus the value of her labor you definitely saved half the cost of commerically processed food. I think this axiom is never more true than today with the times we are living through in the world.
The home canning techniques are not difficult to master but you will encounter some startup costs in order to perform the job properly. The procedures presented on this website lead to safety in your home and will result in excellent results as long as you follow the ideas and methods outlined here. There are things you must not do like,for the sake of time,I don't think it would hurt to take short cuts in the processing procedure or I forgot the correct timing for canning this product. These mistakes can result in food spoilage because of less heat than required to eliminate all the microorganisms.
You do have to ask yourself some important questions in arriving at the decision to get involved with home canning. I love fresh stuff, Do you love fresh stuff? I love specialty shops or areas in the market where there is gourmet foods but those prices make me hesitate. Besides working in the garden,I like to bring these foods into the kitchen and prepare them properly for use now or later by home canning. It is relaxing and provides a sense of accomplishment. I like to know what is in my food as those labels don't always tell the whole truth. Do you like any or all of these things?If you can honestly answer yes to any or all of these thoughts then home canning maybe for you.
Now home canning usually requires the freshness of garden grown vegtables. You say I have no garden or space for a garden. Trust me you could grow enough of several types of products that would produce enough for home canning. Take a look at our information to find out how container gardening can be valuable to you and then return here by exiting that page
THE BASIC TOOLS REQUIRED FOR HOME CANNING
TYPE: As we progress through the tooling required for home canning,and much of this equipment you already have in your kitchen, there are two terms that will come up in these discussions one is boiling water bath canning and the other is pressure canning. Each technique is used to preserve different types of fruits and vegetables based on their acidic qualities. We will go into that discussion later.
I am sure most of you have seen these basic kitchen tools but these are essential in home canning. You must be most accurate in your measuring to accomplish the correct amount of either dry ingredients or liquid ingredients. Each of these tools in the picture have their own place in home canning.
Here are some other common utensils utilized in everyday cooking which maybe become handy in the home canning methods. A good spoon used for cooking which is preferably made from a metal like stainless steel. A good inventory of wooden spoons in different sizes so you have the spoon for the specific job intended. A good set of measuring spoons like those hanging off the grater in the picture. It would be a good to have an additional set of these spoons. It saves you from stopping to clean the spoons everytime they are used. You would have one set for dry igredients and one for wet. I have also pictured here inside of the grater a rubber spatula. It will come in handy at times in the home canning saga. The grater pictured here is of the box type which provides for a lot of versatility in shredding and grating.
There are a lot of other tools that I am sure already are available in your kitchen inventory like cutting boards,timers,peelers,pots,saucepans,and mixing bowls just to mention a few. It would be nice to have a blender or food processsor and maybe even a food scale to more accurately measure your food for home canning.
THE TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT ASSOCIATED WITH HOME CANNING
I do want to dispell the terminology of a pressure cooker and a pressure canner. A pressure cooker is to cook food fast while the pressure canner is used to process and sterlize home canned food.
In the days of mom performing this chore I think the two terms were interchangeable in her mind.The pressure canner is used for canning low acid foods which includes most vegetables,meats,fish and poultry. The pressure canner maintains an airtight positon so that the high temperature of 240 degrees is achieved to process the food in a safe manner. I will discuss the use and how to of this pressure canner later.See pressure canning for complete details.
This is a kettle referred to as a boiling water bath container used in boiling water bath canning. This kettle is used to cook high acidic foods such as fruits,jellies,jams and many pickled foods. This home canning kettle is usually a large either enamel ware or stainless steel kettle with a very tight fitting lid and always has a jar rack contain at the inside base of the kettle. I will discuss the use and how to of this boiling water bath container later in the home canning. go to boiling water bath canning for up to date information
THE SPECIFIC TOOLS FOR HOME CANNING
The lid wand is an useful tool in the home canning routine. It consists of a magnet on one end and a heat resistant stick on the other. This allows you to take the lid from the hot water,where you have been storing it, and place on the filled jar without touching or disrupting the sealing compound. It would be best to position the lids in the hot water top up to prevent them from sticking to each other. You can dip them in cool water,if they do stick,which you would have prepared in a bowl to release the suction and then reheat for a few seconds in the hot water.
The wide mouth funnel is another useful tool for filling your jars It prevents a messy pour job and the end result of wiping your jars off because some product missed the jar. Just be careful not to fill your jars all the way to the top as you must leave a "headspace" between the inside of the lid to the top of the food your home canning. It is important in the expansion of your food or liquid as the jars are processed. The last thing you want is an exploding jar. I will cover the rule of thumb for the proper headspace later on in the discussion.
Your two piece cap has a lid and a metal screwband as pictured above. The underside of the lid has a rubber compound which I mentioned before and this compound becomes soft when heated. The compound then sticks or glues itself to the rim of the jar and creates the vaccum seal after processing has applied heat to the jar. DONOT REUSE LIDS THEY ARE NOT REUSABLE. The screw band is for holding the lid in place during processing. When your processed jars have cooled and you have check to make sure they are properly sealed then you may remove the screwband. These maybe used over as long as they are not rusty and are not out of round or dented.
We should discussed home jars before we proceed to the actual techniques of canning.The best jar is of course the wide mouth mason type of jar. These are threaded jars and accept the self sealing lids. These are available in one-half pint,pint,one and a half pint,quart and half gallon size. The standard jar mouth is usually about 2 and three eights but these jars have an opening of about three inches. Mason jars can be used time and time again as long as your conduct in processing is handled with care.
Other types of jars such as mayonnaise are not recommended. It is not good to cut corners in home canning. You will experience more seal failures and jar breakage using this type of jar. They could have become weaker by the constant contact of metal spoons and or knives during the removal of the mayonnaise product. They are really suspectible to breakage when used in a pressure canner as excessive breakage may occur. There are always scratches on these jars which may appear to the naked eye as being insignificant but in realty caused cracking or breakage under pressure.
A jar lifter as pictured above is a good addition to your home canning arsenal.This definitely has become a useful tool in the transfer of jars in and out of your boiling water bath kettle or pressure canner. It simply grabs the jar at the neck below the threaded part of the jar and it does not disrupt the screw band. Now you can easily lift the jar out of the vessel or into a vessel without exposing yourself to scalding water. Here again are listed the key links which you need to visit to learn more about container gardening,boiling water bath canning and pressure canning
The following are important links associated with this subject:
See boiling water bath canning for complete details
See pressure canning for complete details
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