Canning 101

I will be talking a lot about canning on this site. If you are interested in doing canning – then please read this post before starting.

FIrst and most important – if you want to can something please go to your local county extension agency – most are online now – and read their recommendations for your area. This is important because where you live impacts how you can. Knowing what sea level you are at is first and foremost an important bit of information you need to know before you move forward.

For people such as myself that live below 1,000 ft we have to abide by different processing pressures and processing times as compared to those that live above 1,000 ft. This is why I encourage you to go to your local county extension site first for their guidence.

Next understand what kind of food you plan to can. Food determines the canning method required. For instance food considered high acid foods, tomatoes or jellies, jam, etc are processed using boiling water method. The equipment for this would be a large metal canning pot.

Foods like beans. meats or corn are considered low acid foods. These foods must be processed in an approved pressure canner. NOTE YOUR INSTANT POT IS NOT AN APPROVED CANNER. You will see several bloggers that are posting videos etc where they used their instant pot for canning. The FDA has not approved these as safe canners. There is a lot of science behind the amount of pressure and duration of time and internal temperatures involved with pressure canning. Approved canners have been tested to ensure they meet established guidelines.

Do I have a canner I recommend? Yes the All American Canner. Why, because I feel they are the safest on market. Below I show how the canner seals – there are 6 of these screws that secure the top to the canner. The biggest danger with pressure canners are the pressure they must achieve to adequately process foods. If a canner explodes on you – and you are in the wrong place – at the wrong time – you are in a world of hurt. Ask me how I know. I had old presto canner exlode on me because the seal failed and ended up with 2nd and 3rd degree wounds. Pressure canners are no joke and safety should be your first consideration when buying one. There is no way the lid will blow off on the all american canner. Trust me you don’t want to know what it’s like to scrub burn with silvadine brush basically a sponge with green scratch pad against you open burn wound. Yes I’m being graphic so you learn from my experience. Pressure canners are NO joke they must be treated with respect and utmost caution – this includes INSTANT POTS.

Next when you’ve chosen a food to can – please go to site like Fresh Preserving read up on food you want to prepare. It might be necessary to add ingredient you wouldn’t considered – ie – canning tomatoes – you need to add acid to the jar. The acid could be in the form of lemon juice or citric acid. Bumping the acidity aka PH of the tomatoes is important to prevent Clostridium botulinum from forming. I often see this ingedient missing from home bloggers canning sites.

I’m not trying to discourage you from canning blog sites. I just want you to be aware that you need to understand the science behind canning before you experiment.

I’ve been canning on and off for over 40 years. My first stop is always to sites with approved methods to refresh my memory and I strongly encourage that you do this too.

Sorry, if you was expecting a step by step tutorial about how to can but got a lecture instead. But, if you’re looking to put food away for future use – you don’t want your hard work to be thrown out because the jar spoiled. Spoiling happens to all of us. But knowing these tips reduces the chance of things going wrong.

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