Follow these tips to start canning and preserving food at home with confidence. For more information about home canning, check out these Must-Have Canning Resources, as well as the Ball Canning Website.
From preparing the hot water bath to labelling your final jars, these 10 Easy Steps for Home Canning will give you an overview of what's involved in home canning before you get started.
Make sure you have the right equipment to can successfully with this list of must-haves (and a few items that just make life easier!).
3. Follow Recipes
Proportions are important when canning. Follow recipes exactly and avoid the temptation to add extra herbs or other flavorings. Acid, sugar, and salt are all important elements to successful canning, and additions or subtractions or substitutions in recipes can mess up the levels and threaten food safety.
4. Use In Season Produce
The whole point of home canning is to save the flavor of the season. Use only fresh, in-season, delicious produce.
5. Can One Food Per Day
Keep the work manageable. Work with only one kind of produce per day to avoid canning exhaustion.
6. Make A Lot
Make all the work (and heat) worthwhile. Choose recipes that make at least 4 pints, if not more.
7. Don't Double Recipes
Recipes are tested as written. Instead of doubling recipes, make two batches, cooking one batch while the other batch is processed.
8. Use Bottled Lemon Juice
When canning tomatoes, use bottled lemon juice or Fruit Fresh citric acid for standardized acidity. Fresh lemon juice varies in acidity and can threaten food safety when working with tomatoes or low-acid foods.
9. Add Sugar All At Once
When makign jam or other sweet preserves, add the amount of sugar called for in the recipe to the fruit all at once. It will help the mixture gell properly.
10. Keep Pickles Crisp
Keep pickles crisp by processing them in water that is 180 - 185° instead of boiling. This is hot enough to seal the jars properly, but not so hot that it will cook the vegetables to tenderness.