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ON LI N E EXTRA


Home Canning Basics


Canning is a rewarding process that allows you and your family to enjoy high-quality foods year-round. Here are some of the basics to know before you can. Equipment needed are: - Boiling water canner for high-acid foods; - Pressure canner for low-acid foods; Canning rack insert; Mason jars, lids and metal screw-on bands; Jar lifter; Funnel; Timer.


- Laura Araujo Prepare to Can


- Decide what and how much you are going to can before you buy the produce. Be ready to process it immediately after you purchase it.


- Clean the produce well be- fore canning it.


- Check jars for nicks and cracks; replace any defective jars. Wash new jars before using them.


- Purchase new lids each time you can. (Jar bands are reusable, but lids are not.) Make sure to choose the proper lids—regular or wide-mouth—based on the jars you’re using.


- Heat jars, either in your dishwasher, in a pot of simmer- ing water or slow cooker. This is necessary to keep the jars from cracking when they’re fi lled with hot contents.


- Heat lids in a saucepan for at least 10 minutes before using them. Remove them from sim- mering water as you’re ready to place them on fi lled jars. Don’t boil the lids.


The Canning Process Fill the Jars


Process the Jars


- Prepare the recipe. Follow can- ning recipes exactly to ensure the safety and quality of the fi nal prod- uct.


- Most recipes call for foods to be “hot packed,” which means the food is heated before the jars are fi lled. A ladle and funnel can be used to help fi ll jars.


- Some recipes, such as whole fruits, call for foods to be “raw packed”—or placed into the jars without being cooked.


- Make sure to leave the headspace required in the recipe—the distance between the jar’s contents and the inside of the lid. - Once fi lled, remove air bubbles from the jar by running a non-me- tallic spatula around the inside of the jar, pressing it against the food to release bubbles.


- Wipe the rims of the jars clean. - Remove a lid from the simmer- ing water and place it on top of the jar.


- Place a metal screw-on band onto the jar and tighten, but don’t over tighten.


- Low acid foods (including meats and most vegetables) must be processed in a pressure can- ner. Follow processing instructions in the recipe/ pressure canner manual.


- High acid foods (most fruits and jellies) can be processed in a boiling water canner. All of the recipes in this month’s Oklahoma Living can be processed in a boiling water canner. - Fill the boiling water canner half way with water and bring the water to a simmer. - Place the canning rack over the canner. - Place the fi lled jars into the canning rack and lower it into the simmering water.


- The water in the canner should be an inch or two higher than the jars; if it’s not, add boiling water.


- Place the lid on the canner and increase the heat to medium-high.


- Once the water comes to a rolling boil, start the processing time, as required in your recipe. The water must remain at a rolling boil for the entire processing time.


- Make sure to select the correct processing time for your recipe, based on your altitude. Higher altitudes may require longer processing times.


- Once the processing time is expired, remove the lid from the canner and allow the jars to stand for fi ve minutes.


Post Processing


- Place a towel or cutting board on your counter. - Using a jar lifter, remove the jars from the canner and place them on the towel; allow an inch or two of space between jars to ensure an even cooling rate.


- Allow the jars to cool completely without touching or moving them.


- After the jars have cooled, check to see if the lids sealed. Push down in the center of each lid; if it pops back up, it did not seal properly.


- Refrigerate or freeze the contents of any jars that did not seal. Some recipes may be reprocessed, by going through the entire process again.


- Label jars with the contents and canning date.


- Remove metal screw-on bands from the jars before storing.


- Store canned goods in a cool, dark place. Additional Resources


- The Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving—available in stores that sell canning goods


- Oklahoma State University Extension Offi ces—many offer canning assistance and classes


- USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning—available online at http://nchfp.uga.edu/publications/publications_usda.html


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