You may have been interested in canning but not sure where to start. Why not give it a try this year? There is only so much room in your freezer and fridge. Preserving your food is eco friendly as it reduces food waste and the produce will last longer as it will be shelf stable. Preserving at home also tastes better and is fresher as you are able to can your product at its peak ripeness and adjust the flavorings to your taste preferences.
There are 2 popular canning methods:
- Using a pressure canner.
- In order to prevent the growth of botulism, food that is not acidic enough must be cooked under pressure in order to reach the correct temperature of 240 – 250 degrees. This is typical with fresh vegetables, seafood, poultry and red meats.
- Using hot water canning.
- This method is used with foods that have a high acid pH value of 4.6 or lower. Fruits, jams and jellies can be canned using this method, and fruits and vegetables that have added acidity to make them “pickled”, are also done in this method. The acid in these types of foods is enough to block and destroy the botulinum bacteria when heated.
Canning equipment required:
- Canning jars and seals – Mason jars are the most popular and are available at most departmental stores.
- Funnel – Makes the task of filling the jars much easier with less spillage
- Lid wand – Allows you to remove the lids more easily from boing water and pretects your equipment from contamination.
- Ladle – A flexible silicon one will ensure that every last bit has been scraped out of the pot.
- Water bath canner – Used for canning high acid food.
- Pressure canner – Used for low acid food.
- Jar lifters – Rubberized lifters allowing for the safe removal of jars from the hot water.
How to Can:
- Get a tried and tested recipe from the internet. It is very important to get the correct recipe for the type of foods you are proposing to can.
- Sterilize the products that have to be processed in boiling water for at least 10 minutes.
- Cook the food according to the recipe.
- Fill the jars using the above equipment – jar lifters to remove the jars from the hot water, lid wand to grab the rings and lids from the hot water, ladle to scoop the contents into the jars
- Clean the jars and cap them. Wipe the rim of the jar and place the self sealing lid onto the rim of the jar and tighten.
- Process the jars by placing them in the hot water bath or pressure canner, using the recipe to dictate the processing time.
- Cool the jars for several hours. The jars will pop creating the vacuum seal.
- Remove the rings once cooled. They are no longer required to hold the lids. Press down on the centre of the jar to ensure they have completely sealed.
- Label and store your jars in a cool dry place until ready to eat. Once a jar has been opened, it must be stored in the refrigerator.
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