From Asparagus to Zucchini: Vegetable Canning for Beginners

Bell-peppersWelcome to the world of canning vegetables! Preserving vegetables yourself gives you the freedom to adjust cooking methods, ingredients, and flavor to taste—as well as to guarantee a stash of your seasonal favorites throughout the year, impress friends and family, and even save some cash in the process. Let’s start by looking at some of the vegetable canning basics.

Pressure Canning Vegetables

All vegetables except tomatoes, sauerkraut, and pickles are low enough in acid that they must always be processed in a pressure canner. Other methods are simply not safe. Because it takes only one spoonful from one jar of poisoned food to cause serious illness or death, the canner may be the most important investment you make.

All canners work according to the same principle. The pan has a tight sealing lid with a regulator. When a small amount of water (usually 1 to 3 inches) is heated in the canner, it is converted to steam, which builds up pressure and reaches temperatures substantially higher than boiling. At 10 to 15 pounds of pressure, the temperature is 240° to 250° F. Safety features maintain pressure at reasonable levels and auto-release if the pressure becomes too high.

There are two types of pressure canners—those with a dial gauge that shows the pressure, and those with a weight control that makes a noise when it reaches the required pressure. Before using any pressure canner, check to ensure that parts are in good working order and read the manufacturer’s directions, including recommended temperatures for your altitude.

Our preference for pressure canners is the All American Pressure Canner, we have found it to be the best for performance.

Step By Step

1.  After packing Mason Jars and fitting them with lids and screwbands, put the rack in the canner and add 2 to 3 inches of water.  Then place jars on the rack.  If you like, you may fill the rack before placing it in the canner.  Put the lid on the canner and fasten it securely.

2.  Open the petcock or remove the weight.  Heat on high until steam flows out.

3.  Continue to heat on high for 10 minutes before closing the petcock or placing the weight on the vent port.  During the next 3 to 5 minutes, the pressure will build.

4.  When the dial gauge shows the recommended amount of pressure, or when the petcock begins jiggling or rocking, set the timer for the time specified in your recipe.  At high altitudes, increase the pressure ½ pound for each 1,000 feet above sea level.

5.  Maintain a temperature at or just above the specified gauge pressure.  Weighted gauges will jiggle 2 or 3 times per minute or rock slowly, depending on the brand.  Avoid large variations in temperature, which may cause liquid to be forced from jars, jeopardizing the seal.

6.  When the time is up, turn off the heat, remove canner from burner if possible, and let it depressurize.  Do not use cold water to speed depressurization and avoid opening the vent port.  Let the canner sit 30 minutes if loaded with pints, or 45 minutes with quarts.  Some models cool more quickly and have vent locks that indicate when pressure is normal.

7.  When pressure has returned to normal, remove the weight or open the petcock.  Let canner sit for two minutes before unfastening and removing the lid.  Keep your face away from the canner to avoid escaping steam.

8.  Using a jar lifter, remove the jars and place them on a folded towel, allowing at least 1 inch of air to circulate between them. Let cool, then store in a cool, dry, dark place.


Timetable for Pressure Canning Vegetables

Vegetable

Method

Inches of Headroom

Minutes to Precook

Minutes to Process a Pint

Minutes to Process a Quart

Asparagus

Raw pack

½

30

40

Beans, fresh lima

Hot pack

1

Bring to a boil

40

50

Beans, snap

Raw pack

½

20

25

Beets

Hot pack

½

15

30

35

Broccoli

Hot pack

1

3

30

35

Brussels sprouts

Hot pack

1

3

30

35

Cabbage

Hot pack

1

3

45

55

Carrots

Raw pack

1

25

30

Cauliflower

Hot pack

1

3

30

35

Celery

Hot pack

1

3

30

35

Cream style corn

Hot pack

1

Bring to a boil

85

Pints only

Whole kernel corn

Raw pack

1

55

Pints only

Whole kernel corn

Hot pack

1

Bring to a boil

55

Pints only

Eggplant

Hot  pack

1

5

30

40

Mushrooms

Hot pack

½

Boil 5 minutes

45

Okra

Hot pack

½

1

25

40

Parsnips

Hot pack

1

3

30

35

Peas

Raw pack

1

40

40

Peas

Hot pack

1

Bring to a boil

40

40

Peppers

Hot pack

1

3

35

Pints only

Whole potatoes

Hot pack

½

10

35

40

Cubed potatoes

Hot pack

½

2

35

40

Soybeans

Hot pack

1

Bring to a boil

55

65

Spinach and other greens

Hot pack

½

Steam 10 minutes

70

90

Summer squash (such as
zucchini)

Hot pack

½

Bring to a boil

30

40

Sweet potatoes

Dry pack

1

20-30

65

90

Sweet potatoes

Hot pack

1

20

65

90


Boiling Water Processing Vegetables

Even if you don’t have a pressure canner, you can make your own pickles and canned tomatoes by processing in boiling water. Use the same instructions as for pressure canning, using sanitized jars and lids, except in a boiling water bath with water that covers the lid by at least 2 inches. Follow the recommendations in the table below to guarantee safe and delicious tomato products!

Timetable for Boiling Water Processing Tomatoes

Produce

Pack

Pint Processing Time

Quart Processing Time

Headroom(in inches)

Tomato juice

Hot

35

40

½

Tomato juice and flesh

Hot

35

40

½

 

Crushed tomatoes

Hot

35

45

½

Tomato sauce

Hot

35

40

¼

Whole or halved tomatoes in
juice

Raw or hot

85

85

½

Whole or halved tomatoes,
no liquid

Raw

85

85

½

 


Recipes

The following recipes include the most popular vegetable dishes for canning. Feel free to adjust spices and flavors (but not acidity or processing times) to taste. Enjoy your vegetable canning adventures!

Basic Canned Tomatoes

Ingredients

  • 8 quarts peeled and chopped tomatoes
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  •  1 tablespoon salt

Directions

Gently toss tomatoes with lemon juice and salt, then fill jars to 1/4-inch of tops.
Run a slim, non-metal tool down along the insides of jars to release any air bubbles.
Add additional paste, if necessary, to within 1/4-inch of tops.
Wipe tops and threads of jars with damp clean cloth.
Put on lids and screw bands as manufacturer directs.
Process in a boiling water bath for 45 minutes.

Variations
Cook tomatoes over medium-low heat until completely broken down to make tomato sauce, then can as for Basic Canned Tomatoes. Up to 25% of the contents of the sauce may contain herbs or other cooked vegetables, such as roasted peppers, sautéed minced onions, or garlic.
To make a tomato paste, cook tomatoes over medium-low heat until broken down and the volume is reduced by half. Strain through cheesecloth, then can as for Basic Canned Tomatoes.

Classic Dill Pickles

Ingredients

  • 25 pickling cucumbers, 2-3 inches long
  • 4 cups cider vinegar
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons mustard seeds
  • 2 tablespoons celery or fennel seeds
  • 4 sprigs fresh dill
  • 1 cup pickling salt, dissolved in 8 cups water

Directions
Wash cucumbers thoroughly. Soak 24 hours in brine. Drain and pat dry.
Bring vinegar, sugar, and spices to a boil.
Add cucumbers and cook 5 minutes over medium heat.
Pack cucumbers and spices in hot, sterilized jars.
Cover with cooking liquid and seal. Wait a month before opening. Makes 8 cups.


Dilly Beans

Ingredients

  • 4 pounds high quality whole green beans
  • 2 teaspoons crushed dried hot red pepper
  • 4 teaspoons dried dill seed
  • 7 cloves of peeled fresh garlic
  • 5 cups vinegar
  • 5 cups water
  • ½ cup picking salt

Directions
Wash beans thoroughly, remove stems and tips, and cut them as uniformly as possible to allow them to stand upright in pint canning jars, coming to the shoulder of the jar.
Have jars clean and very hot, and lids and sealers ready in scalding water.
In each jar, place ½ tsp of dill seed, one garlic clove, and ¼ tsp of crushed hot red pepper. Pack beans upright in jars, leaving one inch of headroom.
Heat the water, vinegar, and salt together. When the mixture boils, pour it over the beans, filling each jar to ½ inch from the top.
Run a knife down and around to remove trapped air, adjust lids, and process in a 185°F bath for ten minutes after the water in the canner returns to simmer. Remove jars and complete seals if necessary.
Makes 7 pints.

Note: if you substitute ground cayenne pepper for the crushed hot red pepper, use only 1/8 tsp per jar (or prepare for a fiery treat!) Wait at least two weeks to allow the beans to develop their full flavor.


Peter’s Pickled Peppers

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds hot peppers (such as serrano, habanero, jalapeno, or a blend) cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 6 cups vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 medium onion, diced

Directions
Combine the hot peppers in a large pot. Add the vinegar, water, garlic, and onion.
Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes.
Ladle cooked peppers into sterile jars and fill to the top with the remaining liquid, leaving ¼ inch headspace, and lid.
Process in a water bath for 10 to 15 minutes.
Refrigerate jars after opening.


Watermelon Pickles
Choose thick sections of rind for this recipe.

Ingredients

  • 8 cups watermelon rind
  • ½ cup pickling salt
  • 4 cups cold water
  • 1 ½ tablespoons whole cloves
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 2 cups water

Directions
Peel off the skin and trim off any remains of pink flesh. Cut into one inch cubes. Dissolve salt in cold water and pour it over rind cubes to cover (add more water if needed). Let stand 5 to 6 hours. Drain and rinse well.
Cover the rind cubes with fresh water and cook until barely tender, no more than ten minutes, erring on the side of crispness, then drain.
Combine sugar, vinegar, and water; add cloves tied in a cloth bag; bring mixture to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer for five minutes. Pour over rind cubes and let stand overnight. In the morning, bring to boiling and cook until rind is translucent but not at all mushy, about ten minutes.
Remove spice bag and pack cubes in hot, sterilized pint jars. Add boiling syrup, leaving ½ inch of headroom; adjust lids. Process in a 185° F water bath for ten minutes. Remove jars and complete seals if necessary. Makes 4 pints.


Antipasto

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cauliflower chunks
  • 1 cup broccoli chunks
  • 2 zucchini, cut in sticks
  • 2 carrots, cut in sticks
  • 2 celery sticks, roughly sliced
  • 2 medium onions, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup pickling salt
  • 8 cups water
  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 2 hot peppers (such as banana peppers), chopped
  • 2 teaspoons mustard seeds

Directions
In a large bowl, arrange vegetables in layers, sprinkling salt between each layer.
Add 6 cups of water. Cover bowl with plastic film and place a weight on top to prevent the vegetables from floating. Keep the bowl in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning, drain and rinse under cold water for 2 minutes and drain again.
Combine 2 cups water with vinegar and sugar.
Dissolve sugar over low heat.
Divide garlic, hot peppers, and mustard seeds among the jars. Pack with vegetables.
Cover with sugared vinegar, leaving 1 ¼ inches head space. Seal and process 20 minutes in boiling water or 5 minutes in a pressure cooker.
Wait three weeks before tasting. Makes 10 cups.

 

The Meaty Pantry: Everything You Need to Know About Canning Meats

All-American-Pressure-Canner-21-qtAlthough most people hear the word “canning” and think “jams and pickles,” the art of home canning extends to all sorts of foodstuffs, including a wide variety of meat and seafood. So if you’re short on freezer space and don’t care for jerky, never fear: canning help is here!

The most popular meats for canning include beef, lamb, pork, and chicken. They aren’t the only meats you may can, though—domestic rabbits and small game also can well, and use the same simple method as chicken and other poultry.

The largest challenge in canning meat lies in the fact that meat is one of the best breeding grounds for bacteria. It’s essential to use high-quality, fresh meat and to handle it quickly and in extremely clean conditions. In addition, you should only can meat that comes from a known source—and that doesn’t mean knowing the name of your grocery store manager! It is essential to know that the source of your meat was raised in healthy conditions and that the meat was handled properly and with the highest regard to sanitation. In most cases, this means growing and slaughtering your own domestic animals, or purchasing meat from a farmer who you know and trust and whose operation you are familiar with.

If you are canning wild game, only use meat from a freshly killed animal that appeared perfectly healthy.

The Importance of Pressure Canning Meat and Seafood

All meat and seafood absolutely must be pressure canned, rather than processed in a boiling water bath. Because it takes only one spoonful from one jar of poisoned food to cause serious illness or death, the pressure canner may be the most important investment you make.

All pressure canners work according to the same principle. The pan has a tight sealing lid with a regulator. When a small amount of water (usually 1 to 3 inches) is heated in the canner, it is converted to steam, which builds up pressure and reaches temperatures substantially higher than boiling. At 10 to 15 pounds of pressure, the temperature is 240° to 250° F. Safety features maintain pressure at reasonable levels and auto-release if the pressure becomes too high.

Pressure Canning Step by Step:

  1. After packing Mason jars and fitting them with lids and screwbands, put the rack in the canner and add 2 to 3 inches of water. Then place jars on the rack. If you like, you may fill the rack before placing it in the canner. Put the lid on the canner and fasten it securely.
  2. Open the petcock or remove the weight. Heat on high until steam flows out.
  3. Continue to heat on high for 10 minutes before closing the petcock or placing the weight on the vent port. During the next 3 to 5 minutes, the pressure will build.
  4. When the dial gauge shows the recommended amount of pressure, or when the petcock begins jiggling or rocking, set the timer for the time specified in your recipe. At high altitudes, increase the pressure ½ pound for each 1,000 feet above sea level.
  5. Maintain a temperature at or just above the specified gauge pressure. Weighted gauges will jiggle 2 or 3 times per minute or rock slowly, depending on the brand. Avoid large variations in temperature, which may cause liquid to be forced from jars,
    jeopardizing the seal.
  6. When the time is up, turn off the heat, remove canner from burner if possible, and let it depressurize. Do not use cold water to speed depressurization and avoid opening the vent port. Let the canner sit 30 minutes if loaded with pints, or 45 minutes with quarts. Some models cool more quickly and have vent locks that indicate when pressure is normal.
  7.  When pressure has returned to normal, remove the weight or open the petcock. Let canner sit for two minutes before unfastening and removing the lid. Keep your face away from the canner to avoid escaping steam.
  8. Using a jar lifter, remove the jars and place them on a folded towel, allowing at least 1 inch of air to circulate between them.

The Importance of Cooking Meat and Seafood

Canned meat should also always be cooked. Although it has been a popular American practice in recent history to preserve meat by raw canning, it is not possible to guarantee the safety of meats packed raw.

It is always a better choice to freeze, rather than can, raw or undercooked meat. It is absolutely necessary to use a pressure canner when canning any kind of meat.

Process your cans at 10 pounds per square inch at sea level or 15 pounds per square inch at altitude. This process will destroy any and all bacteria and ensure that your meat is safe to eat. To keep your meat from spending too much time in warm air, work with a small amount at a time while storing the rest in the refrigerator.

As with any canned food, inspect your cans for signs of spoilage before you enjoy the contents.

Signs for Spoilage of Meat Products Include:

  • A broken seal
  • An “off” odor
  • Seepage around the seal
  • Small bubbles in the food
  • A spurt of liquid when you open the container
  • Yeasty or cloudy liquid
  • Mold (even the tiniest amount!)

 Tips For Canning Red Meats

Prime cuts of beef, lamb, pork, veal, and large game should be canned in the largest pieces you can fit in your containers. To can these large pieces, follow these steps:

  • Wipe the pieces of raw meat with a clean, damp cloth. Remove any bones or fat that is visible on the surface of the meat.
  • Place the pieces in a large, shallow pan with ½ cup of water.
  • Cook over medium heat, turning often, until pieces are cooked medium well.
  • Pack meat in straight-sided jars. Add boiling liquid (meat stock or vegetable stock are good choices) until jar is full, leaving an inch of headroom.
  • Process at 10 pounds per square inch at 240° F. Pints should be processed for 75 minutes and quarts for 90 minutes.

Most organ meats do not can well, with the exception of tongue. To can tongue, soak the meat in cold water for 4-6 hours, scrubbing the tongue and changing the water every two hours. Boil the tongues in a large pot. Skim off the foam that initially rises to the top, then lightly salt the water and continue to cook until the tongue is done medium well. Remove from water, rinse with cool water, then remove and skin or other inedible parts. Pack as for other pieces of meat.

Tips For Canning Poultry

Poultry is canned slightly differently from the red meats listed above. The process for canning poultry includes chicken, turkey, goose, and duck, as well as domestic rabbits, wild birds, and other small game. Unlike with red meat, you may leave the skin on. Pack raw pieces into a large pan, cover with chicken or vegetable stock, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook until meat is medium-well done. Pack meat with broth as for red meat, above.

You may also can the giblets of your poultry. If you have enough liver to process and pack separately from your other giblets, do so. Use canned giblets in meat sauces, gravies, or meat pies. To pack gizzards and hearts, clean and trim off any gristle or fat. Cut gizzards and large hearts in half. Boil in broth until done medium well. To pack livers, first remove any fat and cut away the gall sac and any connecting tissue between the lobes. Cook over medium heat in broth until done medium well—they will cook much more quickly than other giblets, so watch them closely.

Tips For Canning Seafood

It is also possible to can many kinds of seafood. Most fish and shellfish have very low acidity, which means it is essential to only can them with a properly used pressure canner, just as with other types of meat. Freshness is also of the essence when canning seafood, as even a couple hours at room temperature will turn fish unfit to can.

Salmon, lake trout, whitefish, mackerel, mullet, and shad can both be raw-packed, although they should be brined prior to canning. To make a brine, dissolve ¾ cup of pickling salt in a gallon of cold water. Immerse your pieces of fish in the brine, weighing them down if necessary, for one full hour. Drain the pieces but do not rinse them. Other fish and shellfish (aside from clams) should be precooked to medium well before being packed. ½ pint jars should be processed at 10 pounds and 240°F for 70 minutes.

Clams are a special case. Clams should be purchased (or dug) fresh and alive. Once brought home, hold your clams in clean, cool saltwater (not sea water!) made from ¼ cup pickling salt to 1 gallon of water for 24 hours, then steamed open, removed from their shells, and acid blanched in a boiling solution of 2 teaspoons of citric acid powder dissolved in a gallon of water for 2 minutes. Pack and process steamed and acid blanched clams in ½ pint jars at 10 pounds and 240°F for 60 minutes.

A Final Note

When proper procedure and safety precautions are followed, canning meats is an efficient, productive, and delicious way to store food for the future. So be safe, follow directions, and above all, enjoy your adventures in canning!

Read our detailed review on the All American Pressure Canner Cooker. We consider it to be the best on the market and it is manufactured in the US.

Welcome to the Wonderful World of Home Canning!

All American Pressure Canner 21 qtI recently purchased an All American Pressure Canner Cooker and all I can say is what a fantastic piece of kitchen equipment it is. It’s not my first pressure canner but it is certainly the best I have ever owned.

So I thought that it might be a nice idea to give you some ideas so that you can see how easy it is to home can and how it will save you money.

Canning is both a treasured American tradition and an excellent way to share your best homemade goodies with family and loved ones. Home canned vegetables are at least as good as store bought ones, and even better when you have grown them yourself or bought them fresh from a local farmer. Canned foods have a substantial advantage over frozen in that they require no expensive equipment to keep them—just a shelf in a cool, dark, dry place.

If you are a first-time canner you might feel frustrated while you’re getting the hang of it, but after a little experience you’ll find yourself doing it with confidence and skill. You will find few sights more pleasing than the rows of sauces, jams, vegetables, and other foodstuffs that you’ve produced!

Firstly – A Little History

Early in the Napoleonic Wars at the beginning of the 19th century, the French government offered a large cash prize to anyone who could invent an affordable way to preserve large amounts of food. In 1809, Nicolas Appert rose to the challenge after noticing that food cooking inside a properly sealed jar didn’t spoil. As a professional confectioner and brewer, he devised a way to seal food inside glass jars with near-perfect consistency.

Home canning emerged as an industry with the Mason jar, patented in 1858. Ever since then it’s been an American folkway to home can pickles, preserves, and other delicious foodstuffs for stocking pantries and sharing gardens with friends and neighbors.

Getting Started

Good planning is the secret to satisfying canning. Be prepared with all the utensils, ingredients, and information you’ll need before starting. Begin with more than enough time, so you don’t run the risk of cutting corners on processing times should any step go long.

Norpro Home Canning KitUse the following equipment, making sure that everything is clean:

  • Jars (Most processing times specify using pint or quart jars. Both are available with either a wide or regular mouth. Wide mouths are easier to fill, but cost slightly more than regular jars. Test all jars by running your finger around the lip. If there are any cracks or flaws, the jars are not up to canning standards and will not seal.)
  • Two part jar lids—a screwband and a one-use lid (Screwbands can be stored in a dry place and used again next year. Don’t reuse the domed lids, however, as the rubber inside is only good for one sealing.)
  • An inexpensive jar lifter for removing hot jars from a pressure canner
  • Hot pads
  • Canning funnel
  • Knives
  • Cutting boards
  • Kettle
  • Colander
  • For boiling water bath canning, a deep kettle with a lid and rack
  • A teapot for adding hot water as necessary
  • If pressure canning, a pressure canner and rack

Preparing Food and Jars for Canning

  1. Clean the food. If needed, cut it into uniform pieces. For raw-pack processing, set prepared food aside. For hot-pack processing, place food in a large saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Simmer 2 to 5 minutes.
  2. Sterilize clean jars by filling them with hot (not boiling) water and lowering them onto a rack in a water-filled pot. Make sure there’s at least one inch of water above the rims. Bring water to a boil and keep it there for ten minutes. Keep jars consistently hot throughout the process.
  3. Remove a jar, empty it, and fill it immediately with food. If using raw-pack method, pack it tightly. If using the hot pack method, fill the warm jar loosely.
  4. Add very hot water, syrup, or juice, according to the recipe, until it covers the food. Allow proper headroom.
  5. Remove air bubbles by inserting a non-metallic utensil and firmly pressing the food.
  6. Carefully wipe the jar rim with a clean towel to allow for a good seal.
  7. Apply the lid and secure it with the screw-ring.
  8. Repeat steps 3, 4, and 5 until all jars are filled. Reserve water used to sterilize the jars for the canning process.

Boiling Water Bath Canning

A boiling water bath is the cheapest and easiest method of canning for preserving high-acid foods. These include all fruits, all pickles, and those vegetables to which vinegar has been added, raising the acidity to a sufficient level. Warning: DO NOT use boiling water bath canning for other vegetables—they absolutely must be pressure canned. That said, here’s how to water bath can your high-acid foods:

  1. Lower your packed and prepared jars into simmering water with a jar lifter. The jars should stand on a rack placed at the bottom of the pot. Note that cold jars should be put into water that is warm but not yet hot; they will crack if exposed to a sudden change in temperature.
  2. Add enough water to cover the jars by 2 or 3 inches. Put on the pot lid, bring the water to a roiling boil, and then begin counting the processing time.
  3. When the recommended time is up, remove the pot from the heat and take out the jars with a lifter. Old jars should be treated with extra care, so leave them in the water until the boil has stopped. Be careful not to knock your jars together—they break easily when hot! Don’t cover the cooling jars.
  4. Leave the jars to sit until they have cooled thoroughly, then test the seal. Do this by pressing hard on the center of each lid. If the lid does not move downward or give, your seal is complete. (Any unsealed goods can be refrigerated and eaten within a day or two.)
  5. Store the jars in a cool, dry, dark place for no more than a year.

Canning Safety

Never taste even a bit of canned food that you suspect may be spoiled. Examine jars carefully to detect signs of spoilage, which may include:

  • Mold on the outside of the jar
  • Food leakage
  • Mold inside the lid
  • Darkly discolored food
  • Food that appears shriveled, spongy, slimy, or cloudy
  • Liquid that seems to bubble
  • An off odor
  • Contents that shoot out of the jar when opened

If you think that any of your unopened food has spoiled, detoxify the food and the jars before disposing of them. Do this by placing the unopened jar in a pot of boiling water for 30 minutes. If the jar has been opened, empty the contents into a saucepan, thin them with water, and boil for 30 minutes. Boil the empty jar in water separately, then recycle—do not reuse!

Finally, remember to wash your hands thoroughly with hot, soapy water immediately after handling any spoiled food or contaminated item.

Additional Tips for Successful Canning

  • Add butter to jelly, jam, and preserves to prevent foam from forming during the cooking process. If you leave the butter out, skim off the foam before ladling the cooked food into jars.
  • Measure all the sugar into a bowl before beginning the recipe. Many canning recipes call for a large volume of sugar to be added when a mixture is already boiling; measuring ahead simplifies this step and prevents mistakes.
  • Use a ruler to measure volume. Some recipes call for a mixture to be reduced by a certain amount. To ascertain this easily, insert a clean, wood ruler into the pan before cooking and measure how far up the mixture comes. Then cook as directed until it has reduced by the percentage specified. For example, if uncooked mixture measures 4 inches in pan and recipe says to reduce by half, cook it down to 2 inches.
  • Do not double the recipes. If you want to make more, cook successive batches.

Recipes

We suggest starting your home canning adventure with some basic fruit preserves—they’re some of the easiest, least technical, and most popular canned goods. Your early success will inspire you to keep learning!

Strawberry Jam

Ingredients

  • 5 cups crushed ripe strawberries
  • 4 cups sugar

Directions

Place strawberries and sugar in a heavy saucepan and slowly bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring often, until thickened, about 15 minutes. Ladle into hot, sterilized jars and seal. Makes 3 ½ cups.

Options: Add ¼ cup of lemon juice or your favorite liqueur, 2 teaspoons lemon or orange zest, or ¼ cup minced mint or tarragon.

Apple Jelly

Ingredients

  • 2 lemons
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 pounds cooking apples (about 12 medium)
  • 6 cups sugar

Directions

Cut lemons in two and slice thinly, removing pits.

Soak in water overnight.

Cook over moderate heat until peel is tender, about ten minutes. Peel and core apples, then cut into thin slices.

Combine apples, sugar, and lemons with their liquid. Bring to a boil while stirring. Reduce heat and cook until thick, about thirty minutes.

Ladle into hot, sterilized jars and seal. Makes 4 16-ounce jars.

Grape Jelly

Ingredients

  • 4 pounds grapes
  • 7 cups sugar
  • 3 ounces of liquid pectin

Directions

Sort, wash, and stem ripe grapes. Crush them in a pot or kettle, add ½ cup of water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about ten minutes. Turn into a damp jelly bag and drain well; do not squeeze.

Hold the juice overnight in a cool place, then strain through 2 thicknesses of damp cheesecloth to remove the crystals that form.

Measure four cups of juice into a large kettle, add the sugar and mix well.

Bring quickly to a full boil that cannot be stirred down. Add the pouch of pectin, bring again to a full rolling boil and boil hard for one minute.

Remove from heat, quickly skim off the foam, and pour the jelly into hot ½ pint jars, leaving ¼ inch of headroom. Cap with a screwband lid.

Process 5 minutes in a boiling water bath, then cool upright and naturally.

Orange Spice Marmalade

Ingredients

  • 8 oranges
  • 2 lemons
  • Water as needed
  • 9 cups sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger

Directions

Cut lemons and oranges in half lengthwise, then into thin slices, removing pits as you go. Measure and add 1 ½ cups water for each cup of fruit. Soak overnight.

In the morning, bring fruit, spices, sugar, and water to a boil and cook for 20 minutes. Ladle marmalade into hot, sterilized jars and seal. Makes about 6 cups.


We invite you to read our review on the All American Pressure Canner/Cooker

Blog of the Week – Chasing Tomatoes

I have been doing what I love best, perusing the internet looking for interesting blogs when  I came across ‘Notes from the Cookie Jar’.

This blog has lots of interesting information  – in fact it was the first post I came across entitled Parents Bullying Survival Guide, that led me to investigate further into the blog. Lots of really good reading about a variety of subjects.

This led me to another blog also owned by ‘Scattered Mom’, named ‘Chasing Tomatoes’.

And here I found recipes to truly whet the appetite.

The very first image of the Maple Ginger Glaze Salmon drew me in. Being a lover of Salmon,  I am always on the lookout for interesting sauces to try out with it. But the intriguing part of this recipe is not only the yummy sauce but the novelty of cooking the salmon on a cedar plank. Scattered Mom states that using a cedar plank to cook the salmon on is generally something you would do on a barbecue, however she has adapted the recipe so that you can cook it using the plank in the oven.

Another yummy recipe is the Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins these look and sound delicious. The food photos on  Chasing Tomatoes really invite you to get into the kitchen and start cooking.

We are always looking for healthy alternatives to eating and followed Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution shows plus his 30 minute meals program. Everything Jamie does is aimed at promoting healthy eating habits by using fresh produce.

Well Scattered Mom is part of the Jamie Oliver Food Revolution, rating a mention from Jamie Oliver on Twitter and a mention in his newsletter video for Food Revolution Fridays and Food Revolution Road Trip.

Believe me, you will find lots to interest you on both blogs. And you can join Jamie Oliver’s food revolution and set your family on the path to better health through healthy eating.


 

 

Why is Non-Stick Cookware so Popular?

The use of non-stick cookware in the United States spread like wildfire following its introduction to the market by DuPont in 1945. And, the American chef, professional or otherwise, has really never looked back.

It should be noted that the term “non-stick” can be applied with different meanings. Some refer to the non-stick qualities of cookware materials like iron or stainless steel. Here, though, it is being used to describe Teflon or other PTFE coatings.

And, there have been advancements. The 1980s saw the introduction of ceramic-based non-stick surfaces that have been infused with everything from titanium to diamonds to increase its strength. But, they still fall within the non-stick class of cookware.

Non-stick cookware is everywhere. It would not be far-fetched to guess that there is at least one piece of non-stick cookware in every American kitchen today.  It is the go-to cookware for nearly every cooking demographic in the country, whether you’re an amateur or pro, young or old, on a budget or in the money.

What makes non-stick cookware so popular? It comes down to three things: it’s inexpensive, there’s a lot of it out there and it gets the job done.

Cost

You can get a complete non-stick cookware set for as little as $30. There’s just no other type of cookware that can offer that price point. It will not be the greatest set in the world, but for someone on a budget who needs a way to heat up soup it’s just the ticket.

On the other hand, you can find high-quality non-stick cookware sets for as much as $600 or more.

The advantage is that non-stick cookware is not beyond the reach of any budget. But, why does the price for non-stick cookware fluctuate so much?

Variety

It’s not so much what’s on the inside as what’s on the outside when it comes to non-stick cookware. The non-stick polymer coating can be sprayed on to a variety of metals, which can be incorporated into any number of designs with varying build quality. That way, you have your choice between an $8 non-stick aluminum pan and a $140 non-stick stainless steel pan with a copper core.

Cooking Ability/Quality

Why do people love non-stick cookware? Well, because food doesn’t stick to it! Good non-stick cookware can be used even without butter, oil or spray and food will still slide right off of it. This paves the way for healthier cooking, too, which only adds to the value.

Since a non-stick polymer can be applied to any metal you are not really limited in the quality of non-stick cookware that is available. A non-stick polymer is most commonly applied to hard anodized aluminum to create affordable cookware of good quality, but it can just as easily be applied to stainless steel cladding, titanium, bronze or even porcelain enamel.

So, whatever cooking benefits you’re seeking, whether it is light cookware, cookware with good heat conductivity and so on, you should be able to find it with a non-stick coating if that’s what you prefer.

Non-stick cookware is also easy to care for as long as you take care not to scratch or chip the coating. If you follow this simple rule your non-stick cookware will provide years of service at a price that fits your budget.