Thursday, July 4, 2013


Hot Water Bath Canning
 I want to strongly suggest that anyone interested in canning, buy a Ball Blue Book of can find them in book stores, grocery stores, farm and fleet stores, on Amazon, most any place that sells a quantity of canning supplies. Anything I would first start to tell you about canning, would be verbatim from the book. I can offer you many little insights to canning..that are never in the most things..the little details no one tells have to find someone to tell you..and I am that someone!
Food preservation needs to be considered seriously....I have seen lots of people take it as a "fad", and be unhappy with the results..mostly it is because they do not understand what they are doing. I hope I can help.
There are several sizes of canners.They are all steel, blue enamel, with white dots....sort of a signature thing....the smaller size is good for half pints, like jams and jellies, relishes, you can also do uses less water. The medium, is more for quarts, but pints and half pints can be canned too...uses more water..the next largest,  is for the 2 qt size jars...taller, wider , canner, heavier to lift...more water used...and then there is the mega canner...that needs 2 people to lift, as it holds two shelves for jars...uses LOTS of water! need to know your food needs...when you buy a canner. I use a medium I do a lot of things in quarts, and pints, and I started using the smallest one a few years ago..when our family unit got smaller...doesn't need as much water...smaller quantities of food that little canner!
You need a canner with a lid- they come with them, and a jar rack...they come with them too. The extras I strongly suggest you get is a jar lifter. You can find them everywhere. Tongs do not work. I learned the hard way! You also need a wide mouth funnel, the type that will sit down into the mouth of the jar a bit. You need a timer that works. and you need to be not be afraid of a big hot pot of water!!!! At can turn the fires off! You will be safe!
Jars must be canning jars...the old glass mayo jars that were used for years when I was a kid...are not the same quality glass as 40 years ago...they will explode in the canner..or crack. all the jars need to be smooth around the tops, no chips, no cracks anywhere.
Next you need seals, they are made by Ball or Kerr, they are what you put on the top of the jar when you are preparing to seal it and get it in the canner. The underside of the seals are a sealing compound,that is the side you put to the glass. Next is rings, jar rings, also called sealing rings. There are wide mouth seals and wide mouth rings, as well as regular seals and regular rings...these have to do with the mouth size of your jar, wide, or regular.
All the jars need to be washed in hot soapy water, rinsed well, and I stand them in the sink, with a few inches of standing hot water, and cover them with a linen towel to keep them hot..until I need them.
I use a small boil the as many seals in the pan as you think you will need for  one canning....usually 7 jars fit a canner...I always add an extra seal. Bring that pot of seals and water to a boil -boil hard......then turn it to simmer and cover it...keeping them hot til you need them. The heat softens the sealing compound so it will adhere to the glass. The rings just need to be cleaned and lined up on the counter..ready to go when you are.
Now, you pick your canner...large or small....depending on what you are working on. Fill the canner with hot tap water, a good half full, put the jar rack in the canner, but not down in it yet..the handles are able to rest on the top edge of the canner-put it there. You need it up, when time to fill the rack. Put the lid on, put the canner on the stove..on the burner it fits(electric stoves have 2 different sizes, gas are all the same size, use the large burner)..set the heat at med-high. are ready to work your jars!!! I will use applesauce for an example. Applesauce should have been simmering low all along as you do these preparations. Move it over to the counter, I put a linen towel under is HOT! get your jars out of the water, lined up near the applesauce, have your rings at the ready, pull the hot pot of seals off the stove, and put a linen towel under them too.
At this point..your focus is "quick, clean, and hot to hot to hot...' 
Hot product, hot seals, hot jars, hot water, in the canner. Get you nifty canning funnel and start, use a measuring cup as a scoop...and scoop the applesauce in one jar at a time...fill half full, tap it down, keep filling, and tapping...air bubbles can be a problem sometimes so try to have as few as possible. Fill the jars to 1/4" of the top...air can be deadly. When that one jar is it back in the sink of hot water..which you may have to make hot every so often, and cover the jars as you fill them, with a linen cloth..When all your jars are filled this way, take them all out of the hot sink water....wipe the edges of the jar clean, if any applesauce got on it...use a kitchen fork to fish a seal out of the pot, you can grab the edges of the seal,(not the sealing compound..just the metal edges), and place it, rubber side down, direct center of the jar-hold it there..don't let it move..the hot rubber has begun to want to stick there. Grab a ring, put it over the seal, one hand will hold the seal steady-your fingers will be on top of it, the other hand turns the ring, to hard as you can,in one twist. Rings loosen during the canning process. "Double twisting ", the ring, will lossen the sealing compound that has already begun to seal. do NOT tighten the rings when you remove the jars from the canner-their use is done at that point and you can still ruin your sealing compound. jar done! Take the lid off the canner, and put the first jar in the rack..leave the lid off. Continue on until all the jars are filled, wiped, sealed, ringed, and racked.
Now..carefully lower the rack all the way down into the will touch bottom. Jars can be close..but not so close they are knocking..that would cause cracking. Look at your water and be sure you have 2" of water OVER the tops of the jars, if not, add some hot water from the seal pot..or hot water from the sink.Cover, and turn the heat to med/high. have plenty of time to prepare for the next canning, if you are doing more than 7 quarts, so you follow the same steps for seals, rings, rinse the funnel off, get your jars in hot water in the sink and cover them, and put the applesauce pot back on the stove on a low heat. Now, you wait for the 2nd boil...the first boil was going on while you were setting up for the first canning. Boil time is on its own...all hot it was it is full up...more things to get hot...we are going for 212 kill bacteria,molds,and also to suck the air out of the jars too.....
You will see steam coming out from around the canner soon as you see that, start timing! Once the timer goes off..turn fires off, ASAP. Lid off, ASAP. This is where you jar lifter becomes your best friend. 
Lay some old towels on a table, with cookie racks over them, have some old pot holders in one hand.....use the jar lifter to grab one jar, pull it up slow, use your pot holder hand to help carry it to the cooling racks. Place, and release...go back for another...same thing for all the not place them too close on the cookie racks..they need air to cool down..and listen for the "POPS", and count them...those are your seals pushing the last air out and sucking down tight. Later, when they are much cooler, you can gently run your finger over the seal....very will feel a "dip" and a "bump"-dip, it is sealed, bump, it is not re-can, as it begins to degrade the food..just put it in the fridge to eat.Be careful not to push the "bump" down, it is will not seal the food....very lightly run your finger over the top of the seal-like a is easy to feel the dip or bump.
This is the basics with hot water bath canning....does not matter what you can...the process is the same every time....same tools, same steps. and if you think hot to hot to hot to hot to will be ok.
After all the jars are out of the canner....put the lid back on the canner and let it cool down a is WAYYY too hot to up and carry.....give it an hour....if you are done for the day....take it outside and dump it on weeds..I have removed poison ivy lots of times with boiling hot water...and any other weed. If you will continue on canning that would still use the same water, until you are done...there may be times you have to add some water  to get the 2" water over the top of the jars.When you know you will be doing another canning...put the lid on and set the fires at med....get it back up to heat by the time you need it-be sure, each time, the jar rack is resting on the rim of the canner....placing jars down in the canner..has caused many exploded jars..too hot too fast...
You do not put salt in the canning water.......just plain old water.
Many foods canned in a water bath usually have a 1/4" head space..less air to get in and degrade the food. Too full and they will push out, and not seal.
That is the down and dirty, basic hot water bath canning!
The next day, the jars are all cooled....wipe them down with cool soapy water....there will be sugars that got pushed out..during the boil..and they may be sticky, and bugs like to find sticky things in pantries! Even wipe the tops down, and dry them all off...goes real quick. Lastly-label! Stick a label on the seal..write the name of the product, and the date. Even if you make a complicated thing like apple nut relish......has to be on the will forget  in 6 mos what it is!!! Get a small spiral note book..just for canning...keep a journal of your,canned 22 qts. applesauce from banks' tree (where we find our apples at times). A journal helps you to keep a food inventory....and by the time you are done with canning will be amazed at all you did!
The importance on getting a canning it has canning times for all sorts of foods-applesauce in quarts has to be timed when the steam starts..for 35 mins, and the book helps you to understand better the whole idea of processing and preserving foods...
Pressure Canning is a whole 'nother world! Heavier canner, uses less water, has a weight to put on top to create so many pounds of pressure steam....but the premise is the same-hot to hot to hot to hot..etc...seals, rings, jars, jar lifter, cooling racks, towels, timers, large mouth funnel. Pressure canners do not need to be pre- a water bath....and the jar holder ring inside...can stay down inside..(some of these have a right side and a wrong side, the wrong side has an edge to it, the edge should be down) to hold the jars..they stand more free in a pressure canner.  Try not to put them so close they knock against each other..close..with a hair between. I think it is 4 c water is all you from the tap.Be sure the inner rubber seal is inside the lid correctly, set the lid on, the lid and bottom pot have locks that will match up...match those up....put the pressure valve on..the valve has numbers on it so you can see what one to use for what food you are canning..the books will tell you....then turn the fire on med....and wait for the jiggle......the pressure valve begins to jiggle and let off time from the first jiggle...when it is done..turn fires off....,wait for the pressure valve to quit jiggling.Use a kitchen fork(I have a 2 prong fork) to remove the fits real nice in the fork will be hot..put it on a pot holder....let the canner cool a few minutes..and twist gently, the lid will not me...the pressure has been released already. Then do your thing...jar lifter, pot holder under the jar as you carry to the counter, back and forth..and you are done! You can continue pressure canning all day..til your food is done......The next day is the same too, wipe the jars down, dry them off, label.
Canning is work....I think it is fun work, but it is hot, heavy, work, and sometimes you do this for many days in a row, if you have a good year. The pots and pans are only the mechanical work...there is a lot to get the food ready..many times..when I know I will be canning soon..I am already preparing the food, one day, two days, ahead...depending on what I am making....
I have scads of recipes...and canning recipes always come with how long to can , in hot water bath or pressure can. So if I give you a neat recipe for wine jelly, or rose petal will get canning times too.
How do you know what foods go in what canner?
Hot Water Bath-high acid foods.
apples,apricots,berries,catsup,cherries,chili sauce,chutney,citrus fruits,currants,fruit butters,fruit cocktail,fruit juices,grapes,jams,marmalades,melons,necterines,peaches, pears, persimmons, pickles, pineapple, preserves, quinces, rhubarb, saurkraut, tomatoes.
Pressure Canning-low acid foods.asparagus, beans, beets (unless they are pickled), broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, corn, eggplant, greens, meats, mixed vegetables, okra, onions, parsnips, peas, peppers, potatoes, poultry, pumpkin, rutabaga, seafood, soups, (not tomato), spinach, squash, stewed tomatoes, stews, turnips, yams, and sweet potatoes.
There are always exceptions to these canning rules with the follow recipes exactly...


jaz@octoberfarm said...

thank you so much for all of this information! i am planning on canning soon and this will really be helpful!

Fionalina said...

I agree with Jaz Sue Ann -I really appreciated what you wrote it must have taken a long time to write it and think I may try tomatoes as a start -

Is a pressure canner the same as a pressure cooker ?

also could you improvise using a strong sturdy cooking pot with a trivet in the base if you just wanted to do a few jars as practise



New York State Of Mind said...

Happy Independence Day,
I hope you are all enjoying today. It is suppose to hit 80's again today.


ga447 said...

Great summary. You are so right, you need to take canning seriously. The results are so worth it.

plaingrl said...

Thanks for the info! I would love to can (I love love LOVE home canned applesauce and apple butter!). I would have to buy all my fruit b/c I live in an apt and can't have a garden. Have u ever heard of turing the cans upside down after u fill them for about 30 mins? A blogger I follow wrote on her blog that that is a trick u can do to make the cans seal.
Is pasta sauce and pizza sauce high acidic or low?

Anonymous said...

Sue Ann....

Thank you SO much for the info - Here is my question (please). I would like to make spaghetti sauce from the tomatoes in my garden which I have done many times. To can it though, do I pressure canner it (if so how long and what weight) or water bath can it. I am thinking of using pint jars since this will just be for hubby and I.....Thank you so much for your time, I appreciate you sharing your expertise with this rather inexperienced canner (me!)


SueAnn said...

You hot water bath spaghetti sauce....a pressure canner is the same as a pressure is helpful to note that it is for canning...Presto is one company that makes them..there are also two with a dial gauge and a weighted gauge(has pounds of pressure marked on it). not turn jars upside down....yes..they MAY seal..and if they do..they are not pressure sealed, as in the hot water bath...and may leak air in...after time..and will spoil. remember...spoilage is at first invisible to our eyes...salmonella is a killer!!! Spaghetti sauce for pints is 35 mins from start of the steam. You can use a different pot..than the enamel has to have the cover 2' over the jars...and the the jars do not touch and rattle next to each other.. a towel on the bottom of the pot would suffice...instead of a trivet. You can buy the smaller canners...for pints...I love mine! They are no more than 20 least here in Ohio.
It is raining dogs and cats here today! Our Memorial Day was in the 30's! And now the 4th is WET!
Thank-you for all your nice remarks!Hope you have a nice day today!

New York State Of Mind said...

Hi Folks,
I am sure Sue Ann will answer your questions. With this being the 4th of July, I am sure she and her family are enjoying it.

I have been busy today. First I got up and saw that only tomorrow's post and Elmer's were on, so I added some of Jean's recipes for Wednesday and a post for next Friday.

After that I went to Elmer's home to meet him and his wife again. I met them at David's grandmother's funeral, but I met so many people, I can't remember them all. Elmer and his wife, Anna, are very nice people. I showed Elmer the pictures of buggy so a post will be coming up there.

Also, got some pictures on the way over and back to Elmer's of items for posts. So this weekend, I will be putting more posts on. I like to put them ahead a week or so just in case something comes up.

So I have been busy today and it's only 2:00PM. I guess it's nap time now.


kymber said...

Marilyn - please thank Sue Ann for these detailed posts on canning - as you can see, people are very much enjoying them, as am i! Happy Independence Day to you Marilyn - i hope you got that nap and then i hope that you are going out to celebrate! pass on a Happy Independence Day message to all of the folks that write here. and tell Elmer that i am happy that he will post here and i look forward to his posts!

your friend,

New York State Of Mind said...

Hello Folks,
Well, I am back. Happy 4th of July to everyone and yes, I did get my nap. I guess Sue Ann and I were commenting at the same time. LOL

Elmer is looking forward to the post on here-wonders what kind of reception he will get. He surprised me when I met him as I am 5 ft 3 in and he is a bit smaller than me. Anna, is just a bit taller than I am. When we talked, Elmer, told me to feel free to wear shorts to their house. He said even thought they dress different, my shorts would be acceptable-so I did. Usually when I got to Mennonite home I wear a shirt or slacks except Jean's or Martha's because they told me shorts would be fine. If I am going to their home and know other Mennonites or Amish will be there, I still wear a skirt or slacks. When going to their church I always wear a skirt and blouse.