Nutrition Articles

Simple Ways to Preserve Fruits and Vegetables

Canning, Freezing, Drying and Pickling Your Harvest

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Supplies you will need:
  • A large pot
  • Sterilized jars, lids, and rings
  • Thermometer
  • Jar rack and/or jar lifter (jar grabbing tongs)
  • The foods you are canning
How to do it:
  1. Begin by following the directions on your preferred recipe for jam, jelly, sauce, canned vegetables, etc. Prepare your fruits and/or vegetables according to the recipe and fill your sterilized jars with the final product, as indicated by the recipe. Add the sterilized lid and ring and tighten.
  2. Fill your large pot halfway with water and preheat it to 140-180 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Add your canned goods (complete with lids) to the pot. Some canning-specific pots come with a rack that you can load the jars into, which makes for easy removal of the hot jars. If you don’t have such a rack, simply place the jars one by one into the water (and later remove with a jar-lifting set of tongs).
  4. Add boiling water to the pot to bring the water level to 1 inch above the submerged jars; bring the whole pot to a vigorous boil.
  5. As soon as the water begins to boil, start the timer. Cover and reduce the heat to maintain a low boil and process for the recommended time (according to your recipe).
  6. When the time is up, carefully remove the jars to cool on a towel or cooling rack. Use extreme caution, as the contents will be very hot! If you have done it correctly, the lids should be sealed and concave. Check the seals after 12-24 hours.
The pressure canning method is necessary for any foods that are low acid (pH greater than 4.6) because these foods are not acidic enough to prohibit the growth of bacteria (such as Clostridium botulinum, which grows into botulism and causes extreme and potentially fatal food poisoning). Low-acidic foods include red meats, seafood, poultry, milk, and all fresh vegetables except most tomatoes. In addition, all foods that can be canned with the hot water bath method (above) can also be processed using this method.

The heat, up to 240 degrees Fahrenheit, and pressure generated by using the pressure canning method should be effective in killing all harmful bacteria. It isn't necessary to sterilize the jars, lids, and rings when using this method as the canning process itself will kill all harmful bacteria.
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