I didn’t know what food canning was when I started.
I tried finding some canning instructions for beginners, but couldn’t find a great comprehensive guide on what I needed to do. Lucky for me, I have relatives who can, and found that it is quite a simple process. I ended up making some jam preserves for my first time which tasted great.
It only works with high acidic foods, such as apples, cherries, and grapes.
Basically any sort of food that has a of 4.6 and higher on the PH scale.
The food canned using this method is usually good for about 6 months to a year.
In a survival situation, if you had to you could probably still eat the food to the latest of 1 1/2 years, but that would be pushing it.
Another method of preserving food is to use a pressure cooker.
This method is good for the lower acidic foods, such as, meat, vegetables and certain fruits. When canning this way the food can last up to 5 years! I currently do not have a pressure cooker but plan to buy one soon so I can store food in my basement.
Here is the list of items needed to can your own preserves.
- Large pot- needed for boiling the jars to get rid of the bacteria and to keep the jars hot until you can get the preserves into them.
- Canning pot– to place the filled jars into to boil.
- Mason Jars– make sure you have new lids and rings for a good seal.
- Jar grabber- this is so you can get the jars out of the hot water without burning yourself.
These are the ingredients I used, each recipe is different.
- Fruit- 5-6 cups usually of apples, cherries, peaches, grapes… anything with a high acid count. I used 6 cups of crushed raspberries for my preserves.
- Sugar- 4-6 cups of sugar, different amounts of sugar are needed for the preserves, usually between 4 to 6 cups. The raspberries have a high amount of pectin, so I only use 4 cups with them.
- Pectin– different fruits require different amounts of pectin, which should be on the container when you get it. I used 8 tablespoons of pectin.
- Lemon juice-1/4 cup, to make sure the acid is high enough, and it won’t affect the flavor.
This is the canning hot water bath directions to make your own preserves
- The jars must be prepared and examined before adding preserves. Check to make sure there are no cracks, chips, or issues with the jars. I would recommend getting new lids and bands, if you don’t I would make sure its going to seal. Make sure there is no rust in the bands and that the lids are still good. Make sure you wash the jars, lids, and bands with soap and water. After doing this the jars should be sanitized, which can be done by boiling them in a large pot for 10 minutes. Keep the water hot so the jars don’t crack when adding the hot preserves.
- Next you want to prepare the fruit or whatever you’re planning to use. I washed the fruit in cold water then placed them into a measuring cup to get at least 6 cups crushed up. They don’t have to be completely crushed up if you like chunks of fruit in your preserves.
- Measure out your sugar, pectin, and jam. Each type of fruit will require a different amount of ingredients. Which can be found on your package of pectin. Fruit naturally makes pectin, so when you crush them up it release it. So it just depends on the fruit you’re using.
- Mix your fruit and lemon juice together in a large pot. Slowly stir in the pectin while bringing the mixture to a rolling boil, stirring constantly. Pectin helps set the preserves and occurs naturally in fruit. This is what makes the jam thicker, so you can add more or less depending on what type of thickness you want in your jam.
- Add in the sugar and continue stirring back to a full boil. Keep at a full rolling boil for one minute and make sure the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and skim foam off the top. (optional)
- Check to make sure the preserve are at the thickness you want. Take a spoon and pull some out and let it cool down. If its not thick enough add a little more pectin and return to a full boil for one minute.
- Warm the lids and bands in hot water, the water should not be boiling as this can ruin the seal on the jars. This may also be a good time to re-check the seals to make sure each one is good, this will make sure you have a seal when you place the jars in the boiling water.
- Take the jars out of the water and fill them to 1/4 from the top of the jar with the preserves. Wipe off the rim of the jar and put the lid and band on. Then place the jars in the boiling water canner. make sure there is a couple inches of water over the cans.
- Boiling of the canning jars takes about 5- 10 minutes for a good seal. 5 minutes is best, if they are in to long the jam will get dark and not set properly. You will have to boil the jars longer if you are higher in altitudes.
- Remove the jars and place them on a towel where they can cool. I like to let them cool overnight. Make sure there is a good seal after they are cooled by pressing gently on the center. If you hear a popping sound its not properly sealed. You can re-attempt to seal the jar or use the preserves if you don’t plan to store it. I like to write the date on the top so I know which ones are newer, but its not necessary.
After canning this way I’m looking into getting a pressure cooker and canning my own meats and vegetables as well.
Especially since foods canned this way can last for much longer then the boiling water bath method.
If you are interested in getting your own cannning kit, Amazon has a real good canning kit, the Granite Ware 0718-1 Enamel-on-Steel Canning Kit, if you want to try this at home for yourself.
It comes with 21-quart canner, canner lid, 7-jar rack, 9-inch colander, lid wrench, funnel, tongs, jar lifter, and magnetic lid lifter.
This kit is also quite cheap and amazon offers 100% free shipping.
Stay safe, and stay prepared,