New to canning? I’ve gathered a few canning tips for beginners to help you get started.
If you’re new to canning, it might be scary to even thing about it. You may have heard horror stories from poorly canned foods. You may have preserved your food in different ways before:
- freezing fruits and veggies is as easy as packing them in freezer bags
- drying herbs is one of the easiest ways to preserve them: just lay them out in the shady and breezy part of your home or garage. Of course, a dehydrator makes things even easier!
- dehydrating is also easy: just wash your produce, slice it and lay it out on your dehydrator
Food Canning Equipment You Need
Safe food canning requires some equipment. You don’t need all the gadgets you heat about, but you need a few basic caning accessories.
This Steel/Porcelain Water-Bath Canner has a 21.5 quart capacity and comes with a jar rack for your convenience. Also, it’s made right here in the US.
If you don’t want to invest in a canner yet, you can use a large soup pot you already have in your kitchen. But then you’ll need some other accessories to help you handle hot jars and lids safely.
You’ll also need some labels to mark your jars once you’re done (these are my favorite labels
Of course, we shouldn’t forget the canning jars. There are many shapes and sizes, so you can have some fun if you wish. Just remember that some jars, while cute, are harder to clean after using (I find square and hexagonal jars harder to clean).
Now you’re all set to start canning. Shall we?
Canning Tips For Beginners
Start With Jam Canning
The Joy of Jams, Jellies, and Other Sweet Preserves: 200 Classic and Contemporary Recipes Showcasing the Fabulous Flavors of Fresh Fruits Jam canning is one of the easiest ways to can, and perfect for a beginner. To start, prepare your fruit by washing, coring and slicing (if needed). Get your canning accessories ready and you’re ready to go.
You can look online for more specific recipes, but jams are so easy, I don’t really use a recipe. Here’s a basic recipe you can adapt depending on which fruits you’re using.
- 1 cup fruit
- 1/2 cup of sugar (some recipes ask for more, and for some you can use less)
- bring your fruit to a boiling, add the sugar and cook for about 10 to 15 minutes stirring often, until it starts to set
- ladle it into your warm sterilized jars, leaving about 1/4 inch head-space
- cover and band your jars, then place them in your canner for 10 minutes
- after 10 minutes remove them form the canner and cool them before storing them into your pantry for safe keeping . I like covering the jars with blankets and leaving them covered for 30 hours or more, until completely cooled off
- label and store
Easy Canning Vegetables
Ball Canning Back to Basics: A Foolproof Guide to Canning Jams, Jellies, Pickles, and More There are some vegetables that easier to can than others, and not all vegetables can be canned. As a rule, if you see it in a can at the supermarket, you can try your hand at canning it.
Best vegetables for canning
Here are some of the bets vegetables for canning:
I personally prefer to freeze my beans, corn and peas. And my favorite vegetables to can are peppers and tomatoes. Here’s a nice list of tomato canning recipes.
If you decide to can beans, you’ll need a pressure canner, not the hot bath canner I enticement above. This is very important, or your beans won’t be safe. Make sure you look up a recipe and follow the instructions religiously: you want to keep your family safe.
The Blue Book Guide to Preservin by Jarden Home Brand is a must have in any kitchen. It has over 500 tried and true recipes, and gives you safety guidelines you need as a canning beginner.
Pickled Vegetables Canning
Some vegetables are best canned pickled: cucumbers, peppers, cauliflower, beets, carrots, pearl onions and others.
The Joy of Pickling has 300 Flavor-Packed Recipes for All Kinds of Produce from Garden or Market. It’s a must have if you’re serious about pickling your harvest.
When you can your pickled produce, your food is very well preserved: the vinegar solution already does a great job preserving the food. Canning ads even more time and allows you to store vegetables that would otherwise go back quickly, even longer.
What Not To Can
Stay away from canning meats or high acid produce like tomatoes in the beginning of your canning career. Those can be a little trickier to can successfully.
Get a few batches of canning under your belt, and invest in some good canning gear (including thermometers and proper canning pots before giving these types of canned goods a try.