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Canning 101 - Canning Tips & Resources

What You Need to Know to Preserve Foods at Home

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Canning Jars

Canning Jars

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Home canning and preserving has regained its popularity with a new generation of home canners. It remains a very satisfying food process, proven to be well worth the time and energy required to produce nutritious, healthy and additive-controlled foods for your family.

Canning 101 provides an overview of canning along with links to resources and detailed information to help you understand the canning process so you will be informed and ready to embark on this facet of home food preservation.

What is Home Canning?

Canning is a preservation method, where foods are packed in jars and immersed in either a waterbath or pressure canner and heated for a specific amount of time at a certain temperature. The type of food will dictate what type of canner must be used, temperature maintained and the process period that is required.

Canning mason or preserving jars consist of a glass jar, metal band and flat lid. Every part of the canning jar must be in good condition in order to get a good vacuum seal of jar contents and thus preserve the foods for later use.
Find out how to Check the Quality of Your Canning Jars

Processing foods such as fish or meats in metal tins is also a form of home canning, but it requires specialized equipment to apply and seal the metal lids to canning tins. It is more difficult to obtain supplies and equipment for this type of canning and it is therefore not as popular as canning with jars.

Maintaining heat and pressure during the canning process prevents harmful organism and bacterias from causing food spoilage and health concerns. It also cooks the foods and pushes the air from the jars, creating a vacuum seal. When the canning time period has expired, you can safely remove hot jars with a jar lifter to a waiting towel on the counter. Leave air space in between jars and ensure there's no cold drafts in the room. During the cooling-off period, you will hear the lids 'pop' as the seal process is completed. This is a safe airtight sealing of jar contents to preserve the contents. It further protects the canned foods from bacterial growth, deterioration and spoilage.
Waterbath Canner - Definition and Use
Pressure Cooker vs Pressure Canner
Pressure Cooker - Definition
Pressure Canner - Definition

Canning Guidelines & Safety Precautions

It is imperative that you understand which type of canner and process is required for each type of food and that canning and safety guidelines are strictly followed in order to produce a safe food supply.

These are the best sites for canning methods and safety guidelines, and they provide wonderful illustrations to make it a great learning experience.

USDA National Center for Home Food Preservation - Complete Guide to Home Canning
Fresh Preserving by Jarden CS makers of Ball Preserving Jars.

Compare Prices of Canning & Processing Books
Simply search for food canning or processing books for helpful guides.

For additional resources and helpful tips:
Canning & Preserving Resources
Successful Home Preserving

Equipment & Supplies Resources

High acid foods such as fruits, fruit juices, jams, pickles and tomatoes can be processed in a waterbath canner. However, low acid vegetables, meats, fish and poultry must be processed in a regulated pressure canner. Special canning jars that are made of tempered glass should be used with appropriate sealing lids for the canning process.

Certain small canning tools such as funnels, apple corers and cherry pitters are great convenience items, but others like jar lifters, jars, canner racks, timers and tongs are must-have tools for the canning process. Follow these links to find everything you need for canning, including the properly-sized jars for your particular food batch. Recipes Are a Must!

Start with trusted and tested recipes. Canner purchases usually come with a recipe booklet and several good canning and preserving cookbooks are available on the market. You might also like to try some Canning Recipes from About.com Guides

From Start to Finish - Stay Organized

It's important to stay focused during the canning process, to properly monitor the progress and not to forget an important step. Time is of the essence when it comes to canning. The object is to get the food processed as quickly as possible, from preparation to sealing, to reduce the risk of food deterioration which could affect the finished product. Keep your guidelines handy for quick reviewing and be prepared to stay the course and finish the process.
Get Ready to Start Canning Checklist

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