Episode 118 S3-37
The Walls of Freedom Ch 37
Sara F. Hathaway
There are two canning methods that you can use to preserve your garden goodies. The first is called the hot water bath method. This method can only be used with acidic foods like tomatoes and anything pickled. The next method is called pressure canning. This method can be used to can anything.
The hot water bath method is the easiest way to can. The first thing you need to do is prepare your food. Lets use tomatoes as an example. Put the tomatoes in boiling water until the skin cracks. Peel the skin off and cut off the top where the stem connected. Then put the tomatoes straight in jar, pack tightly by pressing with your fingers, and add 1 Tbsp. Kosher Salt. Alternatively you could make your tomatoes into salsa, marinara, stewed, etc and then put them in the jar. Make sure to leave ¾” head space. Head space is the area between the top of your product and the top of the jar. A canning funnel will help to make loading the jars easier.
After you have the jars packed, wipe the lid and the top of the jar with a clean, damp towel. Make sure both surfaces are clean to ensure a good seal. You should have your canner ready with a large amount of boiling water. There are baskets or plates that you can use in the bottom of the canner. These protect the jars from rattling together and breaking during the process. It is not essential to use one but it never hurts. Place the jars in the canner.
The boiling water should come to 1" above the top of your jars. If you have too much water, simply remove the excess. However, if you did not put enough water in, you will have to remove the jars, add more water and bring it to a boil again. Thus, you should error to the side of more water at the start so that you do not need to add more. Special note: if you have hard water you can add 1-2 Tbsp of distilled vinegar to prevent water spots on your jars. Also, adding and removing jars is always easier with a pair of canning tongs.
The tomatoes will need about 15-20 minutes in the canner. I highly recommend that you pick up a good canning book. They are small and inexpensive but worth their weight in gold. The book has cook times for all sorts of fruits, vegetables and other recipes. Both Ball and Kerr make great canning books.
After you remove the jars from the canner, listen for the pop. You should no longer be able to press in the center of the lid and make it go up and down.
Pressure canning can be a little intimidating but once you learn the process, it gets easier. The first thing you want to do is read the instructions on your pressure canner thoroughly. Familiarize yourself with the canner and attend to any maintenance items suggested by the manual.
Then you prepare your food. Let's use green beans as our example here. First you want to wash and blanch the beans. Blanching is a process where you put the vegetable into boiling water and then into ice water. After the vegetables are blanched, pack them into pint jars, add one tsp. Kosher Salt. Then fill the jar to 1” below the top with boiling water. The 1” inch head space is critical with pressure canning!
Remember to read the direction for your canner and follow them exactly! The book that came with your canner will tell you the amount of water you should have in your canner. It's usually about a quart. Make sure you follow the directions for putting the lid on correctly, pressure canners are dangerous and can explode. It is essential that you do this step correctly. Then, bring the canner to pressure. Typically, an indicator will pop up. Apply weight as directed by instructions. This will vary by vegetable and elevation, refer to your the book the came with the canner, the Ball Book or the Kerr Book for specific weights and cook times.
Wait for time suggested by your canning book. Turn off heat and wait for pressure to release. Then, unpack your jars. When they cool, you should hear a popping noise. This indicates they have sealed.
Featured Quote From Today's Chapter:
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