Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Canning Tutorial - Boiling-Water Method

If you have never canned before, this is the tutorial for you! This is the simplest form of canning.

Boiling-Water Bath Method for canning is transferring the heat from the boiling-water to the contents of the jar and there by killing microorganisms and sealing the jar.

This method is only for high-acid foods. High-acid foods have a pH of 4.6 or less. High-acid foods are:
  • Tomatoes
  • Pickled foods (i.e. pickles, sauerkraut)
  • Fruits (fruit sauces, chutneys, whole fruits)
  • Jams and Jellies
You can increase acidity of food by adding bottled lemon juice, citric acid, or vinegar to your recipes. This should be stated in the recipe if needed.

What you need for Boiling-Water Bath Canning:
  • Fresh or other ingredients for your recipe
  • Water bath canner with lid and jar rack
  • Jars
  • Lids and Bands
  • Sauce pan
  • Ladle or large spoon
  • Jar lifter
  • Dish towels
  • Magnetic lid lifter *
  • Head space and bubble remover stick *
  • Jar tightener *
    • Funnel *
    Items with * are optional but sure are nice to have!

    Steps to Boiling-Water Bath Canning:
    1. Pick a recipe to can.  Get all the ingredients you need for it.
    2. Wash jars in hot soapy water. Rinse.

    3. Place jar rack in water bath canner. Fill water bath canner half full of with water. Place empty jars in canner, make sure they are covered and filled with water. Heat water to boiling on the largest burner on the stove top. Continue boiling the empty jars for 10 minutes or more. This process sterilizes the jars (kills any bacteria on them).

    4. Prepare recipe exactly as the recipe states. If you deviate from the recipe ingredients (except for seasonings), the pH may be effected and can make the food unsafe.

    5. Place towel on counter top. Remove jars from water bath with jar lifter. You grab the jar just below the rim with the jar lifter. Drain all the water out of the jars into the canner. Place jar on towel. If you place a hot jar on a cool counter top, this can result in broken glass.

    6. Place funnel in the opening of the jar. Using the ladle, fill jar almost to the top. The recipe should state how much room to leave at the top of the jar. This is called headspace. The headspace is minimal air that is purposely left in the jar to allow the food to expand during the boiling water bath process and then the food decreases in size during the cooling process. This is how the seal is created. Jams and jellies have 1/4 inch headspace. Tomatoes and fruits have 1/2 inch headspace.

    7. Wipe jars and rims of the jar with wet cloth. This removes any food that stop the lid from making a proper seal.

    8. Place lid and band on the top of the jar. Tighten the band to finger tip tight. You don't want the band as tight as possible. You can use the Ball's Sure Tight Band tool for this.

    9. Using the jar lifter, pick up the jar. Do not tilt the jar as may result in spilling. Place jar back into water bath canner. Make sure the wire rack is in the canner. The wire rack allows the hot water to circulate around the jar and heat it evenly. If you don't use the wire rack you can have broken jars. Repeat the jar filling process until the canner is full or you run out of the recipe.

    10. Once all the jars are in the water bath canner, you will need to fill up the water so that the jars are covered by at least 1 to 2 inches of water. Return water to boiling.

    11. When the water is boiling in the canner, you will set a timer for the processing time. Cover the canner with the lid. The processing time is the length of time the jar needs to be in the water bath canner to kill any microorganisms and makes food safe to store. If the water is boiling to fast the jars will begin to shake. You will need to turn down the temperature slightly.

    12. When the timer goes off, turn off the heat and uncover the canner. Let jars sit in the hot water for another 5 minutes. This is part of the cooling process. If you have additional food left over to can, turn burner back on high. Then go back to step 2.

    13. Use jar lifter to grab the jar just under the rim. Place hot jars on towel on counter. This is the location that the jar needs to rest for 12-24 hours. Make sure there is not a cold draft at this location as can break jars. Space jars 1-2 inches apart to cool.

    14. Do nothing for 12-24 hours while the jars cool. You will start to here a "pinging" sound as the lid is inverted and sealing. Love that sound!

    15. Remove bands from the jar. Check that the lid is secure on the jar and sealed. If the jar is not sealed, you can place in the refrigerator for use at this time. You can freeze the jar, if your jars are freezer safe. Or you can re-process the food with in 24 hours.

    16. Wipe jars to remove any residue or water stains.

    17. Label and date. Spaghetti sauce looks like taco sauce. I only want one on my pasta.

    18. Store jars in cool dry place out of direct sunlight. 

    You did it!!!
    **Warning: This is highly addictive! You might already be thinking about what else you can can!

    Here are a few other tips:
    • Do not use jars with chips or cracks as will break or not seal.
    • If you have food to preserve that does not fill up the jar you selected, you can save the in the refrigerator to be eaten now. You can freeze the food in a freezer-safe jar. Or select a smaller jar to process the food in. You would use the same headspace and the same processing time for the smaller jar.
    • Metal lids are single use only. Repeat use is not recommended.  The Tattler brand has re-usable lids.
    • Always take the lid off the boiling-water bath canner by opening it away from you. The steam can burn. 
    • Check your altitude. If you live over 1000 feet above sea level, the processing time will change. Increase the processing time by five minutes for altitudes of 1000 to 3000 feet, ten minutes for 3001 to 6000 feet, fifteen minutes for altitudes of 6001 to 8000 feet.