Home Canning Made Simple

Canning is a pastime of mine that I truly enjoy. It is one of my favorite things to do during the summer. I grew up with my Mama making pickles, apple jelly,and a few other things but I remember the pickles and the apple jelly the best. I remember the love she put into each and every jar.

I had never canned before in my life but when I bought my house in Central Maryland it had Mulberry trees/bushes. The birds loved the fruit and made a mess of my car. I asked my mother what I could do with all the berries so the birds wouldn’t be eating them and messing up the car. Car washes can get quite expensive. She told me to make jelly or jam out of the berries. I tried to explain to her I had no clue as to where to begin. She said I would find a way. So I bought a book on jelly making and my canning days began. That first year I must have mad at least 60 half pints of mulberry jelly. It was good and I was hooked.

I have read several books on the subject of home canning and most will scare the pants off of a beginner so I thought I would try to explain canning in plain old country English. I hope I will explain canning in such a way that ya’ll will at least give it a try. It is much easier than it sounds.

EQUIPMENT:

There is a ton of really neat and cool equipment out there for the hard core canner but for a beginner all you really need is a large stock pot with a lid and that can be used as a water bath canner (boiling water canner). You will need something that you can use as a canning rack ( the first time I made jelly I banded extra canning bands together with twist ties and it worked out fine). You do not want the jars coming into direct contact with the bottom of your pot.

This is a basic list of what you will need to begin canning:

1) canning pot with lid

2) canning rack

3) canning jars with lids and bands

4) a couple of sauce pans

5) tongs

6) a tested recipe ( this is really not a time to experiment. Even a slight change in the amount of sugar or whatever ingredient can throw of the balance of the recipe; turning delicious to disaster real quick.

HOW DO I START:

First of you must read the recipe thoroughly . Gather all the equipment you will need. Wash and prepare the fruits or vegetables. Get all spices, sugars,salts, ect together.

WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW NOW:

There are only two things that you need to know at this point and the are your altitude and the food processing method you need to use.

ALTITUDE CHARTS FOR BOILING WATER CANNER AND PRESSURE CANNING:

BOILING WATER CANNER:

ALTITUDE INCREASE CANNING TIME BY

1001 – 3000 feet 5 MINUTE

3001 – 6000 FEET 10 MINUTES

6001 – 8000 FEET 15 MINUTES

8001- 10,000 FEET 20 MINUTES

PRESSURE CANNER:

ALTITUDE WEIGHTED GAUGE DIAL GAUGE

0 -1000 FEET 10 11

1001 – 2000 FEET 15 11

2001 – 4000 15 12

4001 – -6000 FEET 15 13

6001- 8000 FEET 15 14

8001 – 10,000 FEET 15 15

Altitude affect your canning in the same way it effects your baking. So always check the recipe for proper canning times and pressures for your altitude.

This is the beginning information you will need to can successfully. Come back tomorrow for the first recipe in our series on canning and freezing.

We will be canning tomatoes.

Hope to see ya’ll soon.