This Article is About
water bath canner
low acid foods
pressure canner
lid lifter
air bubbles
Let's Start Canning Part 1
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Let\'s Start Canning Part 1

In my previous articles, I talked about the various types of food preservation. This time I want to talk about the tools you must have before home canning.

Most canning requires a pressure canner. Canners are different from pressure cookers. A pressure cooker will cook any food under pressure in a fraction of the time needed to cook by conventional methods. A pressure canner is much larger and designed for home canning. While you can cook foods in your pressure canner, I do not recommend it. A pressure canner is much larger than a pressure cooker and designed to hold heat and pressure, unlike pressure cookers.

Most vegetables, meats and beans are low-acid foods. Pressure canning keeps a temperature high enough to kill bacteria and prevent spoilage. When buying a pressure canner, be sure it has a pressure gauge, not just a pressure valve. My preference is Presto canners and cookers.

Use caution with pressure canners as serious injury can result from improper use. Be sure to read your instruction manual and follow the steps exactly.

If you plan to can high acid foods, like most fruits, you will need a water bath canner. These canners are less expensive than pressure canners, usually costing around $50 for one large enough to hold quart jars. I prefer enamel canners but there are stainless steel ones that cost considerably more.

You will need an inexpensive canning utensil set. Presto makes a multifunction kit for around $15. It contains a funnel for filling regular and wide-mouth canning jars, bubble remover for releasing trapped air bubbles, magnetic lid lifter to remove lids from hot water, kitchen tongs and a jar lifter for removing hot jars from canner.

Now that you have your equipment, the next item on your list is canning jars. I recommend Ball or Kerr jars since they last longer than the cheaper brands. Jars come in various sizes; jelly jars, ½ pints, pints, quarts and ½ gallons. Pints and quarts are the most popular for home canning. Each box of jars comes with the proper size rings and lids. However, you will want to buy extra boxes of lids. You can use the rings multiple times, but the lids are good for one use only. They are inexpensive, costing around $2 for a box of 12 lids. At the end of canning season, my local ranch store marks these half off so I like to stock up.

Finally, you will need your food. Vegetables and fruits lose their freshness and nutritional value quickly so try to can these the same day you get them. You can freeze some vegetables before canning, but you still need to prep them right away.

Even with a costly first investment, the savings will pay for itself in one season.


Street Talk

I have found the information in this article very informative. I love making preserves, but have still so much to learn. Lydia.

Reply
  about 4 years ago
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