Friday, March 28, 2014

Canning 101: Hot Water Bath Canning


For anyone who's ever been apprehensive about hot water bath canning, I'm going to give a short how-to.


It really isn't complicated at all, but you do need a few supplies before you begin.
I found that the hardest part was getting started. I taught myself to can by lots of reading on the subject, but if you find a partner with a little bit of experience (I'll volunteer to help you, just ask!) then it will make your first go-round much smoother.
In fact, you might already have what you need to get started laying somewhere in your home.

You'll need:
A large pot
Canning Jars with Lids
Tongs
Pectin
Sugar
Lemon Juice
Your fruit of choice

(see the links to these items at the end of this post)

1. First, you start with sterilized jars. I've found if they're brand new, all you'll need to do is heat them with the unscrewed lids in a large pot of boiling water. This prevents the substance you put inside from being so hot that it cracks the glass jar.

2. Next, you start your hot water on high heat and bubbling in a very large pot. You want it to get to a "violent" boil- you'll know what this means when it happens. Sounds scary, but really it just means that the boil shouldn't diminish when you stir the water.

3. After that place your fruit, sugar, and lemon juice in a separate pot, bringing to a "violent" boil again. Add pectin and let the boil go for another minute or two, until mixture starts to thicken.

4. There's a lot that needs to go on all at once around this time- jars should be pulled out of the boiling water using the tongs and placed on the counter. Immediately fill the jars with your jam.

5. Dry off the edge of the glass jars with a clean towel and place hot lids on top of the jars. Screw the rings on your jars until they are just finger tight (this means you just start to feel resistance when you screw them on).

6. Place the jars in the rack of the large canning pot, and then lower into the water. Process for recommended amount of time. What you're doing here is heating the liquid inside of the jars to build pressure, and the time that it takes to do this will vary. Follow your recipe.

7. Remove jars from pot using tongs. Let sit uninterrupted for 24 hours before moving them around. You'll start hearing a "pop" on the lids of each of the jars shortly after removing them from heat. This is a good sign! It means your jars are sealed.

Remember, the worst thing that can happen is you mess up your first batch. Start small and branch out to try other things! The first few times will take concentration, but soon you will be hot water bath canning without even thinking. My first year I started with strawberry jelly, and this Pioneer Woman tutorial was extremely helpful. This past year, I utilized my Food Preservation Pinterest Board to find all sorts of things to can. I did Apple Pie Filling, Strawberry Jelly, Cherry Jelly, Peach Jam, Peaches, Tomato Sauce, Salsa, Apple Butter, Applesauce and a few others that I'm forgetting. We had pints and pints of seasonal fruit tucked away for use over the winter. They made great gifts for birthdays and Christmas, especially for friends and family who lived out of town. The best of NJ produce anytime.










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