Monday, August 19, 2013

Yes We Can, Can!!!

Yesterday I explained that my Health Nut Sister and I decided to can some food over the weekend. Before we began the process, back in the planning stage, I was very overwhelmed with the idea of canning. It seemed like some secret society initiation process and I had no idea where to begin. Add in there the whole if you do it incorrectly not only will you waste your food but you could end up poisoning your friend and family. You get why I thought it was daunting.

But after I read the books I thought man this is so freaking easy...I am so doing it.

And it was easy but very very very very time consuming. And maybe if we just did a small batch it would not have taken so long but my Health Nut Sister and I follow the credo, Go Big or Go Home.

What I am saying is if I can do it you can do it, so hit your farmers market buy some produce and get to it. 

I am going to share the basics of canning high-acid foods, foods like tomatoes and fruits. This method is commonly called Boiling Water Bath Canning. 
I am going to skip the part about what equipment you need and don't need. You can find that information any where on the can also find lots of canning info but I am going to share my experience anyway. 

Don't be intimated by the list of steps, I promise its easier than it reads.

Boiling Water Bath Canning
  1. Prepare your produce.
  2. Check jars for damage especially if you have bought them second hand, which is cheaper than buying them from your local megastore.
  3. Wash your jars and keep them hot. We placed ours in the oven at 275 until we were ready to use them.
  4. Place the lids (you can also do the rims if you like but you don't have to) in a saucepan of hot water and keep them hot, no need to boil just keep them hot.
  5. Fill your canning pot to 2/3 the way full of water and crank the heat so your water will boil. This takes awhile...a long while.
  6. Fill your jars according to the produce you are canning...again see tomorrows post for the details.
  7. Now get one of those chopsticks in the back of that junk drawer or rubber spatula and run it around the inside rim of your jars to release any air bubbles. Then wipe the rim and threads of your jars to make sure they are clean.
  8. Place a hot lid on the jar (they make this really cool magnet on a stick to get the hot lids out without burning your fingers). Screw on the band it doesn't have to be super tight just tight enough that it is secure.
  9. Set the jar into the boiling water.
  10. Once you have your jars in the pan, make sure the water is at least 1 inch above the top of your jar. If your water level is to low add more duh right.
  11. Cover the canning pot and wait until the water boils (this part is important) then start timing. Different produce need to boil for different lengths of times and higher altitudes take longer. Please make sure you boil the food for the right length of time. 
  12. When the time is up remove your jars from the pan and place on a towel on the counter leaving a space between each jar. I am not sure why but every book said DO NOT TIP the jars (I think its so your jars we seal correctly) when you remove them lift them straight up and down...and I am not about to argue with the book.
  13. Let the jars cool completely this may take several hours. You will start hearing a "pop" this means the jars are sealing and you will start to get a little giddy every time you hear it because it means you did it right.
  14. Check your lids to make sure they are concave. If one of your jars did not seal you can either recan it or store it in the fridge and eat with in a few weeks. Write the food item and the date on the lid.
I know it seems like a lot but it really is easy. Seriously it is. Once you get started its easy peasy. 

Have you ever canned? Or thought about canning? 

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