10 do's and Don'ts of Home Canning ...

Home Canning has been around for many generations and passed down as a tradition in some households. It may have started as a need to preserve food, but it has become a way of enjoying home grown and organic products. Why go out to the store when you can make your very own strawberry jam or turn tomatoes into sauce! To share with us more about home canning and what the 10 Do's and Don'ts of Home Canning are, we have guest blogger Wanda fromOnly Cookware with us today...
10 Simple Rules for Home Canning...
Wanda is the founder and chief editor of Only Cookware, an independent resource providing information and reviews for cookware and kitchen related products. Wanda is also an avid home cook who enjoys using her All American pressure canner on a regular basis.

"I love my All American Canner and find home canning to be a worthwhile, money saving process. But as with everything there are a few things that you need to keep in mind to make sure you end up with a quality product that is not only healthy but safe to eat. Simply keep these 10 simple rules in mind when you’re home canning. They will save you time and money..."

1. Do Buy a Canning Cookbook...

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Buy a recently published canning cookbook with a selection of jam and pickle recipes. Begin with simple recipes and work up to more complex projects when you’re comfortable. If you use online recipes, only work from reputable websites.

2. Do Use Good Quality Ingredients...

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If you put good stuff in, good stuff will come out. If you’re making tomato sauce, bland and flavorless tomatoes will result in a tasteless sauce. Out of season ingredients are not worth the extra expense for canning – make jam in the summer when berries are in season; make apple sauce in the fall. For every canning project you begin, taste each ingredient separately. Only if each item is tasty on its own will the finished product be excellent.

3. Do Not Use Food That is Starting to Go Bad...

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I used to think that canning was a good way to use fruit and vegetables that had begun to turn – but this isn’t true. It’s okay to use produce that has begun to soften, but if it’s bruised, oozing, and especially if it’s moldy, don’t waste your energy canning it. The finished product will not have a pleasing taste.

4. Don’t Believe Canning Myths...

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A popular misconception about home canning is that pressure canners are prone to exploding. This simply isn’t true, at least not with modern canners. The modern pressure canner/cooker has several safety measures in place to prevent explosion. As long as your canner was made after 1980 and has not been damaged, there is no reason for you to worry about it exploding.

5. Do Invest in Good Quality Equipment...

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Buy your pressure canner and jars from a company with an established reputation in home canning. Don’t reuse jars from commercially prepared foods – not all of them are suitable for the heat and pressure of canner.
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6. Do Put Labels on Your Jars...

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Do not think for a minute that in a year’s time you will remember the contents of the jar, much less the date on which you canned it. Since many canned foods have a limited shelf life (usually between six months and five years), you need to take the time to date every jar you make.

7. Do Stay Educated...

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As with any technology, canning methods and techniques change over time. Government agencies and universities in regions with strong agricultural traditions often maintain publicly available information on canning safety practices. Sign up for an email list from a reputable canning organization or company so that you get the most up-to-date news.

8. Do Not Eat from Jars That Don’t Seem “Right”...

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Can you recognize the signs of botulism or other bacterial growth? Bad jars may swell, the safety seal may pop, or the contents may smell bad. Sometimes the contents don’t smell unpleasant, just abnormal – for instance, if you open a jar of chicken broth and detect a sweet smell, it may have gone bad. Ere on the side of caution, and don’t hesitate to throw a suspect jar away.

9. Do Make Large Quantities...

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Canning five jars only takes a little less time than canning 25, so if you’re going to can, make a large quantity. Items with a long shelf like, such as pickles, are especially appropriate to can in bulk. In the event that you can much more than you will use, you can always give the finished product away as gifts.

10. Do Not Overfill...

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This goes for both the pressure canner and the jars, but especially the pressure canner. If your capacity is 18 pint jars, do not put in more than that -- and preferably, under fill it slightly. As the liquid inside the jars cools, it may expand – if the jar is already filled to capacity, it may leak.

Fall is all about the harvest and we're so glad that Wanda is here on AWStoday to share with us home canning tips our readers can use for all of their fall organic produce. Check out Only Cookwarefor more home cooking tips, reviews, and recipes.

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