Can like a pro in 9 easy steps | Living the Country Life
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Can like a pro in 9 easy steps

Preserve your garden's bounty or take advantage of those great deals at the farmer's market by canning fruits and vegetables.
  • Get ready

    Review procedure and equipment needs and choose a time when you can work with few or no interruptions. Wash canning jars in hot sudsy water; rinse. Cover with boiling water until ready to fill. Jars used in recipes in which food is processed for less than 10 minutes must be sterilized by immersion in boiling water for 10 minutes. Prepare lids and screw bands according to manufacturer's directions. Fill canner with water; start heating.

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: August 9, 2013
  • Prepare your food

    Prepare only as much food as needed to fill the maximum number of jars your canner will hold at one time. Work quickly, keeping work area clean. Clean and slice fruits or vegetables, or prepare them in a food mill, as seen here.

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: August 9, 2013
  • Fill 'er up!

    Place hot jars on cloth towels to prevent slippage while filling. Fill jars, leaving recommended headspace (space between top of food and jar rim) to promote sealing. Add salt to canned vegetables, if desired (use 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon for pints; 1/2 to 1 teaspoon for quarts).

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: August 9, 2013
  • Just add water (or syrup)

    Add boiling liquid to jar, keeping specified headspace. Release trapped air bubbles in jar by gently working a nonmetallic utensil around the jar's sides. Add liquid if needed to maintain headspace.

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: August 9, 2013
  • Closing time

    Wipe jar rim with clean, damp cloth (food on the rim prevents a perfect seal). Position prepared lid and screw band, tightening according to manufacturer's instructions.

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: August 9, 2013
  • Follow directions!

    Set each jar into the canner as it is filled; jars should not touch. Cover canner and process as directed, depending on the method you're using and the food you're canning. Consult the directions that came with your canner.

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: August 9, 2013
  • Room to breathe

    Remove jars; set on towels or rack, leaving at least 1 inch between jars.

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: August 9, 2013
  • Double check

    After jars are completely cooled (12 to 24 hours), press center of each lid. If dip in lid holds, the jar is sealed. If lid pops up and down, jar isn't sealed. Unsealed jars can be refrigerated and used within 2 or 3 days, frozen (allow 1-1/2-inch headspace), or reprocessed within 24 hours. To reprocess, use a clean jar and a new lid; process for the full length of time. Mark label and use any recanned jars first. If the jars have lost liquid but are still sealed, the contents are safe. However, any food that is not covered by liquid will discolor. Use these jars first.

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: August 9, 2013
  • Store and enjoy!

    Wipe jars and lids to remove any food residue. Remove, wash, and dry screw bands; store for future use. Label jars with contents and date; include a batch number if doing more than one canner load per day. (If one jar spoils, you can easily identify any others from that canner load.) Store jars in a cool (50 to 70 degrees F), dry, dark place. Use within one year.
    Source: BHG.com

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: August 9, 2013
  • Download our free canning labels!

    Make your pantry pretty by downloading our free canning labels! You can print them onto Avery 2x4 mailing labels (template #5163), then write the contents and date, and you're set! The labels come in three great colors, perfect for your tasty canned goods!

    Click here for your free download!

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: August 9, 2013
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