CAN IT

When we started growing full time, every summer it came down to too many vegetables and fruits and something needed to be done with the surplus.

So, learning practical food preservation has been something I’ve looked forward to every year and have come to enjoy.  Looking at the colorful jars that are stocking the cabinet you get a real sense of food security and a connection with the past – something Grandma would be proud of I am sure.

Canning is easy, you just have to know a few basics.  One of the most important aspect is the difference between low and high acid foods.  Here on the urban homestead we use a simple water bath method to preserve our foods.  With low acid vegetables like beans or peppers without a pressure canner we’ll just pickle instead.

SAFE CANNING METHODS

There are two safe ways of canning, depending on the type of food being canned. These are the boiling water bath method and the pressure canner method.

Boiling Water Bath Method: The boiling water bath method is safe for fruits, tomatoes and pickles as well as jam, jellies and other preserves. In this method, jars of food are heated by being completely covered with boiling water (212 °F at sea level).

High-acid foods contain enough acid (ph of 4.6 or less) so that the Clostridium botulinum spores can’t grow and produce their deadly toxin. High-acid foods include fruits and properly pickled vegetables. These foods can be safely canned at boiling temperatures in a boiling water bath.

Tomatoes and figs have ph values close to 4.6. To can these in a boiling water bath, acid in the form of lemon juice or citric acid must be added to them.

Pressure Canning Methods: Pressure canning is the only safe method of canning low-acid foods (those with a ph of more than 4.6). These include all vegetables, meats, poultry and seafood. Because of the danger of botulism, these foods must be canned in a pressure canner. Jars of food are placed in 2 to 3 inches of water in a pressure canner and then heated to a temperature of at least 240 °F. This temperature can only be reached in a pressure canner.

Can All You Can

Helpful links

Canning Guide

Home Canning

Canning Low Acid and High Acid Foods

It’s great to see those getting on board for our Harvest Keeper Challenge.  Not sure how many are participating since we have over 70 pledges in the comment box and a whole slew of participants over at Freedom Gardens (nearing 800! – WOW)

With what’s coming next on the Freedom Gardens Jordanne tells me it will be THE place to hang out for those growing, eating and preserving their own food.  Can’t wait to see what’s in store.

As we travel our path to freedom, this “sister” site offers an opportunity for others across the world to join us in this journey towards on a sustainable future.

Comments(10)

  1. Sandy says:

    Anais:
    Thank you for taking the time out to educate me on this subject 😉
    I just joined a community garden and have lots of cucumbers I don’t know what to do with.. ;=)
    Now I do.. I am also trying to be frugal.. so buying a pressure cooker (just for canning) is not an option.. But I can always utilize my stock pot and just get a canning kit 😉 for ~$20 to get started.. Thanks for uncovering a whole new world… You guys are such an inspiration to me…

  2. Sandy says:

    Anais:
    Thank you for taking the time out to educate me on this subject 😉
    I just joined a community garden and have lots of cucumbers I don’t know what to do with.. ;=)
    Now I do.. I am also trying to be frugal.. so buying a pressure cooker (just for canning) is not an option.. But I can always utilize my stock pot and just get a canning kit 😉 for ~$20 to get started.. Thanks for uncovering a whole new world… You guys are such an inspiration to me…

  3. ZippityDooDah says:

    I love to can!

    You are sooooo right about that feeling you get looking at all those jars.

    I love eating our home canned applesauce on whole wheat pancakes. I also love throwing together a pie lickity split with the peach pie filling. And the corn! I am in sweet corn country and mmmmmmm it’s sooo good!

    Okay. I’ll stop now:-)

  4. ZippityDooDah says:

    I love to can!

    You are sooooo right about that feeling you get looking at all those jars.

    I love eating our home canned applesauce on whole wheat pancakes. I also love throwing together a pie lickity split with the peach pie filling. And the corn! I am in sweet corn country and mmmmmmm it’s sooo good!

    Okay. I’ll stop now:-)

  5. Sinfonian says:

    My brother and I really want to learn to can. My mother’s done it for years, but only fruit and jams. She uses the boiling water bath method. From our yard she’s canned jams and jellies from our blackberries, plums and pears.

    Unfortunately my 130 SF of garden space is not producing enough surplus to can. Though I may get enough to pickle some cucumbers. We’ll see.

    Thanks for sharing!

  6. Sinfonian says:

    My brother and I really want to learn to can. My mother’s done it for years, but only fruit and jams. She uses the boiling water bath method. From our yard she’s canned jams and jellies from our blackberries, plums and pears.

    Unfortunately my 130 SF of garden space is not producing enough surplus to can. Though I may get enough to pickle some cucumbers. We’ll see.

    Thanks for sharing!

  7. adekun says:

    Really keen to bottle some tomatoes. Never seem to grow enough though. At least have a few green ones for chutney.

  8. adekun says:

    Really keen to bottle some tomatoes. Never seem to grow enough though. At least have a few green ones for chutney.

  9. Laurie says:

    I’ve been making jelly and jam for many years, and pickles with boiling water bath, but this year I’ve begun pressure canning. I’m surprised that it’s so easy, once the rhythm is established. My mother in law found an affordable older canner at a yard sale for us. I used it for a day before the gasket developed a leak, but I found a replacement part easily (online). It is such a good feeling to be able to do this for ourselves! My next canning project is going to be pickled eggplant – I have lots and lots of the tiny variety – and sweet corn now that it is finally ready. Can’t wait!

  10. Laurie says:

    I’ve been making jelly and jam for many years, and pickles with boiling water bath, but this year I’ve begun pressure canning. I’m surprised that it’s so easy, once the rhythm is established. My mother in law found an affordable older canner at a yard sale for us. I used it for a day before the gasket developed a leak, but I found a replacement part easily (online). It is such a good feeling to be able to do this for ourselves! My next canning project is going to be pickled eggplant – I have lots and lots of the tiny variety – and sweet corn now that it is finally ready. Can’t wait!

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