Enjoy the delicious taste of local produce without spending a large chunk of change at the grocery store. Cook up a bulk batch of canned goodies and save some for when you want to whip together chilli, pies, pasta sauces or other delicious options. To get you started on canning Williams and McDaniel Property Management has put together a beginner's guide so you can enjoy your favourite produce items now and all year round.
Basics of Canning
The canning process involves filling a clean glass jar with prepared foods, fruits, vegetables or other spreads and sauces and creating an airtight seal using heat. This seal, if not broken, will allow certain foods to be kept without spoiling for approximately one year.
Materials You'll Need:
- A deep stockpot
- A jar lifter
- A wide-mouth funnel
- Assortment of measuring cups in various sizes
- A large, wide nonreactive pot
Recipes For Thought
For the best canning results, it is important that you always work with the freshest produce you can find. This will guarantee that your canning results are a sweet and successful victory and will make your canned goodies a hot topic. If you're stumped for canning inspiration, The National Centre for Home Food Preservation, Bernardin and 'Tipnut' each have ideas that are sure to pique your interest. Cherries, plums, spiced apples and squash or pumpkin are a few items that are commonly canned and can get you started.
Getting the Jars Ready
First, remove all the rings and lids from the jars you are going to use and place them on the stockpot's top rack. Next, fill the stockpot with water until all the jars are completely submerged in water and bring it to a boil. While this is going on, prepare all the lids by placing them in a small saucepan on your stove's lowest simmer. This will warm them up and make them more pliable. Use the available time – while you wait for the water to boil – to prepare the recipe you've chosen. Remove the jars from the pot once the recipe's initially prep work has been completed.
Loading Up the Jars
Take care when filling the jars and make sure to leave space between the surface of the product and the top of the jar (also known as headspace). This additional space accommodates the expansion of foods or potential "bubbling up" of liquid during canning. If you don't leave enough headspace, food may be forced out of the container and the airtight seal may be compromised. Adequate space will create a vacuum that will keep your canned creations perfectly preserved. After you've filled the jars, remove any residue or spillage by wiping the rims with a damp paper or kitchen towel and place lids and bands tightly on the jars.
Sealing In the Freshness
Using the jar lifters, lower the filled jars one at a time into the canning pot. Once the stockpot has returned to a boil, set your timer. While processing times vary, they usually fall between 20 and 30 minutes, but consult the recipe you've been using to be safe. After the timer has gone off, remove the jar from the water and place on a towel-covered counter to cool down. Soon after removal from the pot the lids should start to ping, which signals that an airtight seal has been formed.
Double Checking the Seals
Wait until the jars have cooled to room temperature to remove the bands and check if the seals are secure. One way to find out involves grasping the jar by the edge of the lid and lifting it off the counter. If sealed, the lid should stay put. If not, the lid will give. Wash away any sticky residue that may have boiled over by removing the rings of the jar and wiping them down.
Store jars in a dark, cool place to ensure your jars keep for up to a year. If some of your jars didn't seal properly don't panic, simply place them in the fridge and use them first. Think of them as taste testers!
Simultaneously support local farmers and enjoy homemade creations by taking up the art of canning. This whole process may seem daunting at first, but we hope we've made it a little bit easier for you. At Williams and McDaniel Property Management, we want residents to enjoy every aspect of the rental experience and we're here to help in any way that we can.