Canning today, is as easy as it ever has been. It’s nothing like the old days when it took a whole week to can one section of vegetables from your garden. Today, a whole garden can be completed in a day or two. While industrial canning can take place in a matter of minutes, there are still some standard precautionary measures to take while canning at home. Here are some things to remember when canning this year:
High Acid vs. Low Acid
It is important to know the acidity of the foods you are trying to can. Some foods have a high acidity, while others are extremely low. Knowing the acid level of your food gives you the knowledge of how to make sure they are safely canned. High acid foods can be safely canned in a boiling water canner, while the low acid foods can only be canned safely in a pressure cooker.
Low acid foods, strangely enough with a pH higher than 4.6, cannot stave off the harmful bacteria at low temperatures, like those found in a boiling water canner. These low acid foods are things like vegetables, proteins, sauces and soups. These must be canned in a pressure canner that reaches at least 240 degrees Fahrenheit.
High acid foods, with a pH lower than 4.6, can safely be canned in a boiling water bath because their natural acidity helps to kill and prevent the bacteria that can form. The lower temperature is enough, combined with the natural acidity of the food, to be safely preserved. These types of foods include fruit, jams, jellies, relishes and acidified tomatoes.
It is important to follow the instructions on the recipe exactly. Any deviation in technique could lead to spoiled foods or food that doesn’t taste right because too much salt or acid was used. Things to remember are times in the pressure canner or boiling water bath, how much acid to add to the jar and the right amounts of spices to be added. This will preserve the taste so the foods taste the way you want it to when opened back up.
Use Proper Materials
Make sure the jar is properly cleaned, the flat has not been used and the band is not rusted or warped in any way. It is important to use proper techniques when canning, otherwise the seal may not hold or certain bacteria may be incorporated into the food. Using the right types of canner for the job is also important. For example, having a pressure canner, which does not hold a proper seal, may make it difficult to get a proper seal on the can or can keep the food from reaching the proper temperature for it to preserve correctly.
Canning is much easier today, but there are still certain rules you must follow in order to properly preserve your favorite foods. Knowing your food, following the recipe and instructions and using the right materials is a great way to make sure your canning will work the way it should. Keeping it simple is the easiest way to make your canning as quickly as possible because it helps reduce the amount of mistakes being made that can spoil your food.