Home canning

If it is canned food, there is absolutely nothing better than home made canned goods.

Something about knowing you put your time and effort into making food your friends and family can enjoy, just brings a sense of accomplishment, and the compliments do not hurt the ego either. Now, imagine you cook in excess and there is some to preserve.

Can homemade sauces, jams and more

Once you have toiled to create the best sauce or jam and enjoyed the first batch over a warm plate of pasta or spread out on a steaming hot biscuit, you are left with one dilemma; how should you preserve your precious prize? One way would be to toss it in a zip-lock bag and hope that it tastes as good as when it was made. Why play Russian roulette with your raspberry marmalade and the snap-seal of some plastic bag when canning is obviously the way to go.

Canning is a great way to store your savory sauces and other tasty treats for later use. Canning works because it heats food to kill bacteria while sealing them in a glass or metal container, which prevents them from spoiling. Have canning supplies handy when you make your sauces or jams. This means that you can keep more of your food fresh for use during the off-season.

Supplies

Remember the story of the ant and the cricket? The ant worked hard to make sure there was food for the winter while the cricket had fun. Being prepared for the winter makes living a lot easier and tastier as well. Some of the tools you will need to can for the winter is a boiling water canner and a pressure canner, jars, lids, rings and of course, hard work gathering the things you want to can. While these items will help you, there are some other things you may want to consider such as recipes, a temperature and pressure guide for canning. Don't for the most important and final part, family and a few friends to share your delights with.

Let’s take a look at some of the common supplies needed to start canning.

  • Boiling-water canner - Basically just a big pot, mainly used for canning jams, preserves, jellies and marmalades.
  • Pressure canner - Similar to a pressure cooker, the lid locks down to keep steam in. This canner is great for thick sauces that are full of fresh vegetables.
  • Canning jars - Commonly called Mason Jars, these are the glass jars that usually come with metal screw on lids. They create very tight seals and are perfect for canning just about anything.
  • Lids and bands - Lids, sometimes known as "flats," should be new and never reused because they may not seal properly the second time. Bands are the screw on portions that go around the lids to help them stay locked in place.

Process

Once you have all of those supplies, it is time to start making use of the vacuum effect that is so commonly used by large canned food distributors. When the jars are heated up in the canner, they become airtight and lock in the same flavor that was present before the canning took place. This is the best way to preserve your preserves and to store your sauces.

If there is usually not enough left to worry about going through the canning process, but you still want to save some for a use later in the week, just make sure that the container you are using can achieve an airtight lock. The best thing to do is to invest in a vacuum sealer. These gadgets will act the same way as a canner does, by extracting out all of the air, but can be used more efficiently on smaller amounts.

The most important thing, and this cannot be stressed enough, is to make sure that there is an airtight seal on whatever container you are using. This will keep the flavors of you goods locked in while keeping the flavors of all the other food in the fridge, locked out. Besides, the last thing you want is your grandmothers grape jam tasting like the fried catfish she made the day before or getting that freeze-dried taste from the frigid freezer temperatures. Practice safe storage.

About storage

While it is always great to can 100 jars of your favorite strawberry preserve, it might help out to have a place to put them all. Make sure you have enough room to store all of your canned goods. The way to store your jars is in a cool room that does not get direct sunlight. This will keep the cans under pressure so they hold the seal. Remember, the heating then cooling off is what created the seal in the first place; getting them hot again will only loosen the seal and cause the goods to spoil.