Canning your own produce at home may not be the cheapest way of obtaining fruits and vegetable produce for you and your family to enjoy, but it is the only way that you can serve your family the fresh, wholesome taste of vegetables and fruits year-round.
There are several ways in which you can home-can your fruits and vegetables. You can use the hot pack method, the cold pack method, or the raw pack method. Certain methods, such as the ones that you use the oven, microwave, or dishwasher, are not considered to be safe methods for home canning your produce. Do not use the so-called aspirin method either. While some aspirins may contain a very weak germicidal, it is not strong enough to be used as an effective preservative for home canning.
The equipment you will need includes a boiling water canner with a rack, canning jars, and lids and rings for proper sealing. Even if they are new, check the jars for cracks, chips, and nicks, and wash them thoroughly in hot, soapy water. Rinse them well. Never try to re-use lids, and if you are re-using rings, check first to make sure they are not rusted or bent. Never use commercial jars, such as the kind that mayonnaise or coffee is purchased in.
The hot pack method is suitable for the canning of nearly all kinds of fruits and vegetables, so let’s explore this method in further detail.
The first step is to properly prepare the food youare going to process. Let’s say, for example, that you have chosen to home-can green beans.
Note: Keep in mind that different fruits and vegetables require somewhat different canning processes and times.
- Wash the beans thoroughly, snap off the ends and snap again in the middle. Remove all strings.
- Blanche the beans by putting them in a pot of boiling water over medium heat; boil for five minutes, then remove from the heat source.
- While the beans are cooking, place the lid rings in a small pan of water and let the water come to a boil; remove from heat.
- Fill the canner half-full with hot water. Heat the water until it boils, then reduce the heat to a simmer.
- Pack the green beans tightly into canning has up to the rim of the jar. Add a teaspoon of salt to each quart-sized jar, or a half teaspoon of salt to each pint-sized jar. Add boiling water to jars carefully to fill each jar’s rim.
6. Clean the rims and the threads of each jar with a clean dishcloth to ensure a good seal. Place lids on the jars and carefully remove the rings from the boiling water. Twist the rings onto the jars over each lid and seal. Close each jarring securely, but do not close tightly.
- Place each jar into the canner rack and then carefully lower the rack into the water. The water level must completely cover the lids on the jars. Add boiling water if necessary. Never add cold water at this point as the jars may crack or burst.
- Place the scanner cover on the canner and turn the heat up in order to bring the canner water to a boil. Start timing for the start of the processing time after the water has returned to a boil.
9. Process the green beans for twenty-five minutes if they are in a pint-sized jar, and thirty minutes if they are in a quart-sized jar.
- Remove the jars from the canner and let them stand in a warm, draft-free place. As each lid seals, you will hear a “ping” noise. Let the jars continue to cool for several hours undisturbed.
11. After the jars have cooled, check each lid by pressing on the center. If the center is already pushed down, this means that the jar has likely sealed properly. Discard the contents of any jars that did not seal properly.
- Store the processed jars in a cool, dry place out of sunlight, such as on basement shelves. The rings may be removed and the lids tested by using your fingers to try and pry them off. If they are properly sealed, they will not lift off. Or, the bands may be left on the lids.