For those of you who are not in the know, canning is what happens when your garden is so awesome that you can’t possibly eat all of the harvest at one time. Ok, not really. But who can possibly eat 20lbs of fresh tomatoes before they go bad? This conundrum was pondered by a brilliant French dude named Nicolas Appert, known as the “Father of Canning.” He invented airtight food preservation, to which we are now reaping all of the benefits. Canning allows us to live in a world with jam, salsa, apple butter, marinara sauce…all the happy things. It can be a process, just ask my fabulous In-Law’s! They essentially canned their entire garden a few years ago, allowing all of us to enjoy the goods for MONTHS!
While preparing recipes for canning is typically a simple task, you need to pay attention to the canning process to ensure food safety. Follow this step by step guide to fabulous food preservation, and you will be on your way to making the ghost of Nicolas Appert proud in no time, since I know how important that is to you!
To start the canning process you will need:
Canning Tools: Make sure to get a set which includes: bubble popper/measure, tongs with handles, jar lifter, magnetic lid lifter, extra wide mouth funnel.
**An important note on canning: recipes will vary in “headspace”, pectin amounts and boiling times. Be sure to follow the recipe exactly.**
Note: Headspace is the amount of space left between the jam/jelly/butter and the top of your jar. It is important to leave this space when canning as it ensures the vacuum necessary when sealing the jar. It also leaves the food room to expand if you are freezing the jars.
- The first step in canning is preparing the jam, jelly or butter you would like to use. Make the recipe ahead of time and keep it hot, as it will assist in keeping foods sanitary and sealing the jar.
- Wash or sterilize the jars, drying with a clean towel.
- Fill the water bath canner with enough water to fully submerge jars, with 1-2″ of water above the lid, heat water until boiling.
- Use your funnel to ladle the hot jam/jelly/butter into the jars, leaving proper headspace as called for in your recipe.
- Wipe the top of jars with a clean dishtowel to remove in excess jam.
- Using magnetic lid lifter, place lid on the top of each jar. Secure the ring of jar until lightly tightened to the first resistance. Do not over tighten as it may cause the jar to break during water boiling process.
- Place jars into the canning rack, and submerge them into boiling water for amount required in recipe, *for Apricot Jam the amount is 20 minutes for a pint and 25 minutes for a quart.* Make sure the water is boiling before starting the timer.
- When the proper time has passed, remove the jars from water, and set on cool place to dry.
That’s it! My friends, family, neighbors and super casual acquaintances (like the guy who refills my propane tank when the regular dude is on vacation) will soon be sick of the amount of homemade goodies they will be supplied with, especially during the holidays! However, I REFUSE to throw out good food and I’m all about spreading love in the form of yummy goodies.
Check out my Honey Sweetened Apricot Jam for canning recipe inspiration!