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
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.