Beginner’s Guide To Canning

There is nothing more exciting than growing your own food, and then preserving it for the winter months. Canning is one of the ways I stock my pantry reducing the need to buy from the store. If you have never heard of canning or are intimidated by the process of it all, this beginner’s guide to canning will ease your fears and get you on the right track.

This post contains affiliate links. This means I may earn a commission should you chose to sign up for a program or make a purchase using my link.

Beginner’s Guide To Canning

What Is Canning?

Canning is a way to preserve food right from your own home kitchen. Food is placed in glass jars (specifically made for canning) and topped with lids and rings. The food is brought to certain temperatures to kill the micro-organisms that cause food to spoil. The end result kills the organisms, pushes the air out of the jar, and creates a vacuum sealed lid that does not allow air back into the jar.

If canned and stored properly, food can be held in these jars for 1 year or more. It is a safe way to store food in your pantry until the next harvest or when the food is in season again.

Two Types of Canning

Water bath canning

A water bath canner is for high acid food such as pickles, jams, peaches, ketchup, and mustard just to name a few. This process uses a large stockpot filled with water and a rack at the bottom of the pot. The filled jars are placed into the stockpot and brought to a boil. The contents are kept at a boil for specific amounts of time according to the recipe you use.

Pressure Canning

A pressure canner is for low acid foods such as green beans, potatoes, and meat. It is a large pot with a locking lid and a pressure regulating device. Some pressure canners are weighted-gauge, and some are dial-gauge canners.

Before using any pressure canning device, please read the manufacturer’s manual. It will tell you exactly how to properly use the equipment so you can get great results.

Getting started

Know your altitude. The amount of pressure used to pressure can is determined by the altitude at which you live. If you don’t know your altitude you can find out at What is my elevation or the National Center for Home Food Preservation.

Always start with a tested recipe. It is imperative to follow the guidelines given on headspace (how much you fill your jar), amount of pressure, and time to be processed. Each recipe will also tell you whether the food should be water bathed or pressure canned. You do not want to risk your family getting sick.

Buy the equipment. Are you ready to get started canning? A great book to start with is the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. Also, read my post Three Ways to Get Ready for Canning Season for more information for a successful canning season.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *