By Angie Sullivan
Want to enjoy that summer bounty long after the season ends? You can with canning. You might think that canning is only for your mother’s generation, or that it is way too hard for you. Well, if you have the right tools, canning can be fun and provide you with some delicious food storage from your own kitchen.
Before you start, there are some things you need to know. First, there are different types of home canning. These include Hot Water Bath, Steam Canning, and Pressure Canning. Hot Water Bath and Steam Canning are wonderful methods for foods that are high in acid, like fruit. Neither Hot Water Bath nor Steam Canning are recommended for vegetables or meat. Pressure Canning is the safest method for vegetables and meats, as they require a much higher temperature to preserve safely.
If you own your own trees, or if you have access to a source of lowpriced fruits, home canning will save you money. The initial expense of cans and a canner may seem prohibitive, but, if properly sanitized, you will be able to reuse the canner, cans, and rims for years to come . You will need to buy new lids for each batch of canning since they can’t be reused.
You have a few different choices when it comes to preparing your home-canned goods. You can slice, dice, puree, or put food in whole. If you puree your fruit, you might want to consider a food strainer or food processor to make your job easier. You can choose whether to seal the fruit in water or in sugar syrup. You can even choose whether to pack in light, medium, or heavy syrup. Each fruit requires different times. The different methods and cook times for meats, vegetables, and fruits vary, but your canner will come with a list of preparation instructions and boil times for the items you choose to can. Be sure you follow the instructions included with your canner to ensure you get the proper seal for your produce.
With the right tools, plus a little time and effort, you can reap the benefits of canning. As you gaze at a shelf full of home-canned goods, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment.. Not to mention the savings you’ll experience by preserving food in your own kitchen.