5 Things to Do Before Canning

ball jar, mason jar, home canning, canned peaches, freezing garden produce

There’s nothing like waking up on a cold winter morning and pulling out a beautiful jar of  yellow peaches to spoon over a steaming bowl of oatmeal – peaches that you canned yourself while summer still raged.

The taste is unbelievable – so is your satisfaction for having accomplished this project and done it well.

Preparation Before the Project

True, home canning of fresh fruits and vegetables can be both fun and rewarding.  Doing it right to ensure safety can also be accomplished if you keep a few simple things in mind.

Here are a few suggestions when that day arrives …

1) It is best to only gather or buy enough produce that you can work up in a few hours. This will ensure optimum quality and nutrition.  If it is possible, harvest early in the day.

The best quality produce, or “number one” quality, will make your project go quicker and easier.  But many use seconds or “number two” quality, produce that has been bruised or slightly damaged.  Which is okay as long as you are careful to cut away the inferior parts as it could introduce bacteria into your pot.

While it is true the cost of working with seconds will likely be less, you may find the work load and time spent to be greater due to all the pruning you will have to do.  

2) As for your supplies, gather them preferably the day before your project and check them over.  Make sure they are clean and in good condition.

3) When selecting jars, only use those made especially for canning rather than old mayonnaise or pickle jars.  They come in various sizes: quart, pint, 1/2 pint; also wide-mouth and normal.   If you are re-using jars from last year, be careful to check them for possible cracks or chips around the rim.

4) As for the lids, use only the two-piece screw-down kind.  These are  readily available at most department and grocery stores or online, especially through the summer months.

An Absolute No-No: Never re-use the flat piece of the lid for a new canning project. Once it has been used and lifted off a jar, its sealing ability is gone.
Another No-No: Never use plastic cartons like cottage cheese or margarine bowls for freezing jams, fruits, or vegetables.  These are not able to provide the air-tight protection so crucial in safe canning.

5) Sterilize your lids and jars before use by boiling them (you can do them both in the same pan) for at least ten minutes. If you won’t be using them right away, leave them in the hot water until you are ready to screw them down onto your filled jars.

ball jar, mason jar, home canning, canned peaches, freezing garden produceThere's nothing like waking up on a cold winter morning and pulling out a beautiful jar of yellow peaches to spoon over a steaming bowl of oatmeal - peaches that you canned yourself while summer still raged. The taste is unbelievable - so is your satisfaction for having accomplished this project and done it well.

Prepare Before the Project

Home canning your fresh fruits and vegetables is lots of fun and rewarding in the end. Making sure your canned goods will be safe to eat is also important, & can be accomplished if you keep these few simple things in mind:

Here are a few suggestions for when the big day arrives ...

farmers market, fresh produce, fresh peaches 1) It is best to pick or buy only enough produce you can work up in a few hours. This will ensure optimum nutrition and quality. If it is possible, harvest early in the day. Using the best quality produce, or "number ones," will make your project go quicker and easier. Many choose to use seconds or "number two" quality, produce that has been bruised or slightly damaged. Nothing wrong with that as long as one is careful to cut out all the inferior parts, as not only will the finished product be unsightly and less tasty, it could introduce dangerous bacteria. The cost will likely be less if you use #2's, but you may find the work load and time spent to be greater due to all the pruning you will have to do. 2) As for your supplies, gather them preferably the day before your project and check them over. Make sure they are clean and in good condition. 3) When selecting jars, only use those made especially for canning. NEVER use old mayonnaise or pickle jars. Ball and Mason jars come in various sizes: quart, pint, 1/2 pint; also wide-mouth and normal. If you are re-using jars from a previous year, check them over carefully for cracks or chips around the rim. 4) As for the canning lids, use only the two-piece screw-down kind. These are readily available at most department and grocery stores or online, especially through the summer months.

NOTES OF CAUTION:

  1. NEVER re-use the flat piece of the 2-part lid for a new canning project. Once it has been used and lifted off a jar, its ability to seal again is compromised.
  2. Also, NEVER use plastic cottage cheese or margarine bowls for freezing jams, fruits or vegetables. These are not able to provide the air-tight protection so crucial in safe canning.
5) Sterilize your lids and jars before use by boiling them (you can do them both in the same pan) for at least ten minutes. If you won't be using them right away, leave them in the hot water until you are ready to screw them down onto your filled jars.

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