Tuesday Recipe: Canning 101 and Recipes, Too!

Canning your own foods can be a bit daunting, but following some basic steps will ensure that your canned goods are easy to make, and safe to eat.

What You Will Need:

  • Mason Jars that are sized to fit the recipe you will be making (see recipe for information on quantity and size)6 Piece Canning Set
  • A handy canning kit will provide you with all of the tools necessary to start
  • Large canning pot
  • Canning rack to fit the pot
  • Clean kitchen towels
  • Labels for your jars to indicate contents and year processed

The Canning 101 Process

Step 1: Pre-sterilize and Prepare Your Recipe
If you have a dishwasher, use it to sterilize your canning equipment by running a normal wash with all of your canning supplies included.  If you do not have a dishwasher, simply wash your canning supplies in hot soapy water, then boil them for 10 minutes in your large canning pot.  Remember, your jars and recipe must be warm when you fill them.  If your recipe is going to take a  bit, prepare it before sterilizing the supplies.  If it is a quick recipe, sterilize everything before preparing your recipe. Start heating the water in your canning pot as soon as possible, as it will take a bit to reach a boil for Step 2.

Once your recipe is ready, and still warm, fill your warm jars (leaving 1/4″ or 1/2″ headspace as specified in the recipe), using the canning ladle and funnel to aid you.  It is important to keep the mouth of the jar clean as you fill it to prevent bacteria growth as the jars sit in your cupboard or storage space. If pickling, ensure the contents in the jar are covered by the liquid.

Stir contents to release air bubbles, wipe the lid of the jar completely clean, and then put on the lids and finger-tight screw on the bands.  Over tightening may prevent air escaping during the canning process.USA Made Watermelon Flour Sack Towel

Step 2: Process the Jars

Place your jars into the canning rack, and then lower it into the boiling water. Make sure your jars are covered by at least 1 inch of water.  Add more water as needed.  Process the jars for the amount of time specified in the recipe; start the timer once the water has reached a rapid boil.

Once the processing is complete, turn the burner off and let the jars sit in the water for 5 minutes.

Step 3: Cool the Jars

Use your jar lifter to remove the jars one by one from the canning rack. Let them cool on a wire rack or kitchen towel for at least 24 hours.  During this time, you will hear the pop and snap of the lids; indicating that a seal has been created. After 24 hours, check the seal by removing the bands and lightly testing the lid to ensure that it is taught on the jar.  If the ‘button’ on the center of your lids is raised, you will need to re-process your jars as detailed in Step 2.   If all of the lids are vacuum sealed, your jars are ready for storage in a cool, dark place!

Recipes For Canning At Home

All of these recipes can either be prepared to fill jars that will live in your freezer (or a friend’s freezer!), or can be processed in canning jars for long term storage.  Follow the above canning process steps once you have decided which recipe you would like to can.

Apple Butter

Makes about 3 cupsApples

  • 2 pounds MacIntosh apples, cored and cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 2 pounds Fuji apples, cored and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1 cup Calvados or Applejack
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons juice from 1 lemon
  • ¼ teaspoon table salt

Apple Butter

1. Combine apples, cider, and Calvados in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Bring to boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until apples are soft, about 30 minutes.

2. Working in batches, transfer apples to food mill and process. Discard skins and transfer puree to empty Dutch oven; stir in sugars, lemon juice, and salt. Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture has browned and thickened, about 2 hours. Mixture can be chilled or served warm, or canned for long term storage.

Raspberry Peach Jam

Makes about 5 cups (fresh or frozen raspberries work equally well here)Raspberry Peach Jam

  • 1 cup (4 ounces) sugar
  • 12 ounces (2½ cups) raspberries
  • 3 pounds fresh peaches, peeled, halved, pitted, sliced ¼ inch thick, and each slice halved crosswise
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice

1. Place metal spoon in freezer to chill. Heat sugar in large saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently, about 1 minute. Add raspberries and continue to stir until raspberries release their juices, about 1 minute more. Stir in peaches, increase heat to medium-high, bring to boil, and cook until peaches are just tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove pan from heat, and mash fruit with potato masher.

2. Return fruit mixture to boil and cook until mixture thickens to jam-like consistency, 8 to 10 minutes. To test for set point, remove saucepan from heat. Dip chilled spoon into jam, and allow jam to run off spoon; jam should slowly fall off spoon in one thickened clump. If it is runny, return jam to medium heat and simmer 2 to 4 minutes before re-testing. Using large spoon, skim foam from top of jam. Stir in lemon juice.

3. Transfer jam to jars with tight-fitting lids, let cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate. Jam can be refrigerated for up to 3 weeks, or canned for long term storage.

Dill Pickles

Dill Pickles

  • 3 Tbsp pickling spice
  • 4 cups cider vinegar
  • 4 cups water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup salt for pickling & preserving
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 2 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 5 heads fresh dill
  • 13 1/3 cups sliced pickling cucumbers (1/4-inch lengthwise slices)
  • 5 (16 oz) pint glass jars with lids and bands

1. Prepare boiling water canner. Heat jars and lids in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil. Set bands aside.

2. Tie pickling spice in a square of cheesecloth, creating a spice bag.

3. Combine vinegar, water, sugar, pickling salt and spice bag in a large stainless steel saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar and salt. Reduce heat and boil gently for 15 minutes, until spices have infused the liquid.

4. Place 1 bay leaf, 1 garlic clove, 1/2 tsp mustard seeds and 1 head of dill into each jar. Pack cucumber slices into hot jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Ladle hot pickling liquid into jar to cover cucumbers leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and re-measure headspace. If needed, add more pickling liquid to meet recommended headspace. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Apply band and adjust until fit is fingertip tight.

5. Process filled jars in a boiling water canner for 15 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed.

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