Home Canning For Beginners
Commercially canned fruits and vegetables are processed with the main goal of producing a large quantity of product as inexpensively as possible. They are usually processed with a high amount of sodium and some even include monosodium glutamate (MSG).
When you home can your own fresh fruits and vegetables, you know exactly what ingredients are contained within the jars, and you also know the quality of the food items that were canned. Plus, there is no comparison to the taste of home canned foods as opposed to those purchased from a store.
For those of you who would like to try your hand at home canning, let us first begin by saying “Congratulations!” and “You Can Do It!”!
What Supplies Do I need for Home Canning?
For this article, we are going to explain how to can green beans. The supplies needed are:
- Glass canning jars:
- These must be jars that are specifically manufactured to be used for home canning. They are very thick, with the name brand of the jars indicated by raised lettering in the glass of the jar. Do NOT use any other type jars for canning such as peanut butter jars, mayonnaise jars, etc. due to the risk that those types of jars could explode during the canning process.
- Canning jars generally come in three sizes (half-pint for jellies, pint,. And quart). Decide which size will work best for you and your family before purchasing.
- Lids and bands:
- These are usually sold in the same part of the store that sells the jars. The lids need to be dome lids that are especially manufactured for canning.
- Pressure cooker
- Jar Lifter
- Jar Funnel
- Pot holders and towels within easy reach.
- Large stock pot or Dutch oven
- Rubber spatula with small head
Steps To Home Canning For Beginners
Pick, string (if necessary) and break green greens into desired piece sizes. Wash the beans thoroughly, and drain.
Wash the jars, bands, lids, and all utensils that you plan to use in very hot, soapy water and rinse thoroughly in hot water and keep the jars covered so that they will not cool off before time to fill them.
Alternative: run the jars and bands through a sanitizing cycle of an automatic dishwasher. This is a great method to use, if a dishwasher is available, because the dishwasher is insulated. This makes it easy to keep the jars and bands hot until time for filling them.
The next step is to prepare the beans to be packed into the jars. It is possible and acceptable to pack the beans raw; however, you can also cook the beans slightly until they are pliable. It is easier to fill the jars to capacity when the beans are cooked. Also, it is just best when canning that everything be as hot as can be tolerated by the cook.
Fill the stock pot or Dutch oven with hot tap water and heat on the stove over medium/high heat. If the water comes to a boil, just turn the heat to a low setting and keep this pot of hot water nearby as you work.
Place the lids in a small saucepan, cover with water, and heat to boiling on the stove.
Pack the jars with the beans, being careful to fill the jars to within one inch of the top of each jar. If using the cooked-bean method, just ladle the beans with the water in which they were cooked, using the jar funnel to help avoid spills. If the bean-cooked water becomes depleted, use the hot water nearby to finish filling up the jars to capacity.
Add one-half teaspoon of salt to pints, and one teaspoon of salt to quart jars.
After each jar is filled, insert the head of the rubber spatula all the way to the bottom of the jar, and move it around the interior of the jar in a circular direction to remove air bubbles that are present, but not visible to the naked eye. Once this is done, you will probably noticed that the jar’s contents dropped in depth just a bit. It is okay to go ahead and add additional beans and/or water to bring the level back to within the one inch level again.
Using a clean kitchen towel, wipe the rim of the canning jar to remove any residual liquid.
Use the tongs to remove a lid from the saucepan and very lightly dry the rubberized seal part of the lid as well. It is very important that the lid and jar rim are both dry as any moisture at all will prevent the lid from sealing properly. Screw a band in place to secure the lid to the Cjar.
Keep the filled jars covered and warm while you work. When all jars have been filled, use the jar lifters to place the jars into the pressure cooker and process according to the manufacturer’s directions for the cooker. When the processing time has completed, allow the cooker to cool (also according to manufacturer directions).
When cooled sufficiently, use the jar lifter to remove the jars from the pressure cooker and place them on a towel in a draft-free location. Cover and allow the jars to continue to cool.
You will hear multiple popping noises as the pressure inside the canning jars decreases as the jars cool, causing the lids to “pop” as they seal.
After the jars are completely cool, test the lids to see if the dome is inverted. If the dome is raised, the jar is not sealed and you will need to either cook and eat the contents right away, or process again with a new lid.
Once The Canning Process Is Complete
There are few things as satisfying as seeing a nice row of beautifully home-canned vegetables. Plus, it is comforting to know that, when you eat the vegetables later, you know exactly where the vegetables came from, how they were prepared, and the ingredients contained within each canning jar.
Learn to Can! Learn a new skill this year with this how-to video and online tutorial.