Thursday, August 09, 2012
Canning 101: Preparing for Food Storage
Pressure Canner: This large pot actually has the ability to pressure cook as it can reach much higher temperatures than a pot on a stove can normally reach. It is also the perfect tool in which to boil your jars of food in before sealing them.
Large Pot: This will be used for boiling some of the preserves and fruits you can, as well as pickled vegetables.
Canning Jars with Seals: Mason jars that come with sealed rings and lids are the safest method of preserving your food.
Funnel: This will be used to fill the jars.
Tongs: These will be used for lifting hot jars from the pressure canner or pot.
Cloth: You will need several clean cloths for wiping down the jars and lids for the safest and cleanest storage.
The Canning Process
The first step you need to take is sterilizing process by boiling all of the jars and lids for at least ten minutes. While you can remove the jars, you should leave the lids in the sterilized water just to be certain that they do not accidentally get contaminated. Once your jars and lids have been sterilized, you can determine which foods you are going to can first. Tomatoes are often a great thing to store as they can be used in a wide variety of different dishes. To can tomatoes, you will need to be concerned about improper acid levels turning them brown. To reduce browning, simply add a little bit of lemon juice to the tomato mixture.
You may also wish to pickle some vegetables. Cucumbers, beans, zucchini, and onions are all popular vegetables to be pickled, but the truth is that you can pickle just about everything. In case of a doomsday event, the more options you have for you and your family will keep the taste buds happier.
If you are going to pickle vegetables, you need to make a pickling solution made up of a 1:1 ratio of vinegar and water, along with pickling salt, and some spices, such as garlic. Once the pickling solution is boiled on the stove, you can then add it to the containers that you have filled with your vegetables to be pickled making sure to only fill up to about a half-inch from the top of the jar. This is part of the next step.
If you or your family members have a sweet tooth, consider also canning some fruit jams and jellies. Jams are typically composed of fruit, pectin, sugar and lemon juice. With jams, the sugar acts as the antibacterial agent.
I’m Vanessa and I wrote this guest-post on behalf of PartSelect, online retailer of household appliance parts.