Summer is the perfect season to enjoy all the types of fruit and vegetables in their peak of usefulness. Our bodies require all the possible vitamins to survive the colder seasons. It is natural to wonder whether there is a way to maintain this healthy ration during the whole year.
Canning is a great answer to this question. Apart from letting people consume healthy, mostly home-grown products, it has additional benefits:
- It’s economical. Prices for all the types of goods, including food, is growing year after year. Having your own canned treats at hand will be a plus to the family budget at any time.
- It’s eco-friendly. With reusable jars you will easily decrease the amount of produced waste.
- It’s a wonderful present. A can of your own jam will please not only all grannies in the world, but also your friends - everyone loves good stuff!
One can say that canning on your own is a hard work, however it is a much easier process than everyone imagines. Below you can find practical hints for a beginner, that will help you to start your own preserving journey.
Let’s first list the equipment you will need.
Canner. The best choice for beginners is to take a really large and deep pot with a lid. It will need to fully surround and immerse the jars in water by 1 to 2 inches and allow for the water to boil rapidly with the lid on.
Funnel. You can use a plastic or a stainless steel one. It will help to keep the jar rims clean, which is essential for ensuring a proper seal.
Jars. Nowadays you can find the jars of any size and forms, depending of the canning type you do. It is not necessary to hustle with metal lids anymore: the market offers a lot of nice-looking and functional jars with removable glass lids (a much better choice for a canned gift).
Spoons, knives and measuring cups. To make sure all the ingredients are ready and fit the jar size.
Accessories to help you handle hot jars and lids safely. Jar lifters, cloths or towels will do.
Labels. If you do a lot of canning, the labels will be at hand to remember the dates and exact products the jar contains.
Once your kit is ready you can proceed to the canning process itself. To preserve some fruit or berry jam you can select the water bath method. In this method the combination of time and temperature destroys mold, yeast and enzymes that cause spoilage while creating a vacuum seal.
The initial and one of the most important steps in canning is sterilization. Wash all your equipment in hot, sudsy water and rinse them well. Then place jars and lids into boiling water for sterilization. Remove the jars, but leave the lids in the hot water until you’re ready to can (this ensures a better sealing).
Since we are making some canned jam, make sure to clean and slice the ingredients you are willing to use. If you do it right before the canning, you will keep the food at its freshest and healthiest.
Start boiling the fruit and add at least a ½ cup of sugar. Keep cooking up to 15 minutes (do not forget to stir often), until the jam starts to set.
Use a canning funnel to fill in the sterilized jars, leaving about ¼ inch head-space. Check the jar for any air bubbles and remove them by using a knife (a plastic one is more preferred).
Next, use a clean and damp cloth to wipe the rims of each jar, carefully removing any food particles. Leaving them might cause the jars to not seal, which will waste all the effort.
Finally, place a lid on the jar, allowing sealing compound to contact the jar rim. Place jar in the canner with the boiling water, ensuring that the water covers jars by 1-2 inches. Process according to your canning recipe (usually from 10-20 minutes in the boiling water).
That’s almost it. After processing, turn the heat off from under the canner and let the jars sit and acclimate for about five minutes before taking them off from the canner. Removing the jar from the hot water allows heat and any air to escape, creating an airtight seal that will keep for at least a year.
Set the jars upright on a towel and let them cool. All the successful cans can now be labeled and stored in a cool and dark place. The ones that will be presented to your family members can be labeled with a decorative label or a postcard.
At Luigi Bormioli, we take pride in our Italian-crafted, superior quality glassware. Your glasses, created using our proprietary SON.hyx ultra-clear formula, will retain their brilliant and transparent appearance and are backed by our 25-year guarantee that guards against chipping on the rim or foot, as well as discoloration or cloudiness resulting from washing. You will enjoy their beauty, durability and strength for many years to come. We aim to enhance your tabletop lifestyle and entertaining experience with a glass for every occasion. When the moment matters, the glass matters.