There are a few things you need to do when getting ready to can. After you follow these steps, the next step is to place your jars of food in a water bath canner or a pressure canner to process.
This is an overview of preparing to can, follow a recipe from a reputable source for more details.
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Gather Equipment Needed for Canning:
You will need a pressure canner for low acid foods, such as; meat, beans, most vegetables and a water-bath canner
for high acid foods such as; fruits, tomatoes, jams, jellies, preserves, relishes, pickles, etc. Go here to find the Acid Content of Fruits and Vegetables for Home Canning and Preserving.
You will also need canning jars, lids, and rings, a jar lifter, a jar funnel, an air bubble remover/headspace tool (or a small spatula), a ladle, measuring cups and such, a magnetic lid wand, canning lid rack, or kitchen tongs to lift the jar lids out of the hot water, and a simple kitchen timer. This is a great Home Canning Set for beginners.
Preparing Jars and Lids:
Inspect, wash, and rinse your jars and prepare your lids using the methods in Preparing Jars and Lids for Canning. I usually prepare more jars than I think I will need, just in case.
Putting Food in Jars:
For hot pack recipes, place a jar funnel into the top of your jar and ladle in the hot food or gently pack larger foods in by hand. Add boiling liquid, such as syrup, broth, or water to food according to the recipe you are using, if needed.
To get proper headspace, use a headspace tool or I have used a seam gauge or a small measuring tape to measure the distance between the rim of the jar and the top of the food. Generally beans, corn, peas, and meats are packed/filled to one inch of the rim of the jar. Other foods should be filled to 1/2 inch of the rim of the jar. Take out any excess food or add food, if needed.
Wipe the rim of your jars with a clean, damp cloth. Lift a prepared jar lid out of the hot water and place it on top of your jar with the seal touching the glass rim. (Don’t you love my daughter’s manicure!)
Now you are ready to can!