Oh, the taste of summer. Who doesn’t love dipping a crisp tortilla chip into fresh tomato salsa, or enjoying a bite of corn on the cob smothered in butter or sprinkled with lime? With memories like that, canning vegetables and fruit is becoming a popular way to preserve the taste of our favorite seasons all year long.
Interested in preserving the taste of summer, but have never canned before?
Essentially, canning the taste of summer requires placing the sweet taste of seasonal fruits and vegetables into prepared jars and heating them to a temperature that microorganisms are unable to survive in (and it’s easier than you think!). If done effectively, canning vegetables and fruits can prevent unnecessary waste with tasting results, save money, and provide a summer bounty for your family all year long, as well as in an emergency situation.
There are two main options for home canning the taste of summer: one is water bath canning and the other is pressure cooker canning. While both effective, this post details water bath canning as it is user-friendlier for first time canners. We’re covering everything you need to know in this post, from what you need to get started, to a step-by-step guide to effective canning.
Water Bath Canning
Selecting The Correct Jars Mason and Bell jars are the two safest and most effective jars to use for canning the taste of summer because they are designed to heat at high temperatures, and come with a two-piece self-sealing lid. Do no use commercial mayonnaise, baby food or pickle jars, as these are not suitable for high temperatures.
Supplies Needed Much like with any hobby, the start up costs for canning the taste of summer can seem daunting. Yet as each year passes, count on saving money as you can reuse jars, canning racks, and other food preserving tools through the years. There are also several canning kits that are available on the market, but you can also purchase these items separately:
*A large traditional cooking pot, specialized canning pot, or pressure cooker to place jars in. Whichever you choose, be sure it has a secure lid to prevent spills. The pot should also be large enough to fit in each jar with room at the top for water to flow. Check that it is no more than 4 inches wider than the burner for an even temperature.
*A jar rack works well to guarantee water flow, and to space the jars properly; which will prevent cracking. If a jar rack is unavailable, some choose to use sanitized cotton cloths to separate and cushion each jar.
*Jar funnels helps to easily ladle food in, and prevents fingers from touching the jar lid.
*Several Mason or Ball Jars with two-piece self-sealing lids.
*Other Useful Supplies: Mixing bowls, saucepans, clean towels, a timer, measuring cups, tongs, a ladle, and a cutting board will all help ensure a smooth canning process.
Basic Step-By-Step Water Bath Canning This process is ideal for canning the taste of summer: pickled carrots, a cucumber-turned-dill-pickle concept, unwashed berries, jams, preserves, jellies, pickles and tomato sauce, and can offer intense flavor even after many months.
1. Sanitize all jars and lids by dishwashing them first, and then adding them to a large pot of boiling water. Allow all jars to soak for at least 5 minutes. Remove each jar with sanitized tongs, and place them on a clean towel.
2. Using sanitized tongs for larger pieces of food, or a jar funnel for sauces and jams, gently ladle or funnel the food into each jar. Leave approximately ¾ of an inch at the top for the lid. Be sure to use fresh and seasonal produce for optimum taste and expiration life.
3. Seal each jar by placing the small metal disc on the lid of the jar, and twisting the circular piece until securely fastened
4. Place the jar rack inside a large pot of boiling water, allowing the handles to come up from the top. Carefully lower each filled jar into the boiling water, until all jars are set and carefully spaced. Using the jar rack handles, lower in the jars and fold the handles inside the cooking pot. Allow the jars to soak for approximately 30 minutes.
5. Carefully remove the jars using tongs, and allow them time to cool off. Jars should be stored in a cool, dark and dry place to preserve the jar’s contents.
Bonus tip: Looking for a great recipe to get your canning off to the right start? Tomato sauces are excellent choices for first time canners. The Producer includes the Rose Tomato, an heirloom variety with a beautiful, deep rose pink color. Meaty and flavorful, these tomatoes are perfect for tomato sauces.
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