Canning: A How-To for a New Hobby

One of the really great projects people embrace during the fall season is that of canning. Canning is the practice of preserving food, and it is a great way to store delicious fall flavors through the later months and colder seasons. When decorated they even make really great gifts! Canning can be quite the process, but the effort always pays off when you can open a sweet new jar of jam, or bring out some delicious pickled vegetables for Christmas dinner. Try this fun project with your family and learn how to store your favorite flavors all year round!canned-veg_300

The Basics

Canning is successful when ingredients are heated to a specific temperature, so that any germs they carry are killed. The heating of the ingredients also causes the air in the jar to escape, which will help to “seal” the jar. As a result, no germs or bacteria are able to enter the jar, leaving your food in perfectly good condition until you decide to open it.

What do you need?

There are a few specific things you need for canning. These include:pickled-beets-2

  • Canning Jars, lids & bands
  • Vegetable or fruit
  • Pressure Canner or Water-Boiling Canner
  • One large pot

For your brine you will need:

  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp. of salt

beets7Pressure canners are generally used for vegetables, while water-boiling canners are used for fruit. Water-boiling canners do not generate as much heat as pressure canners; however this is fine for fruits because of their acidic components, which stop bacteria from growing inside the jar.

General Canning Instructions

The various vegetables will have specific directions, but today we’re looking at beets! Beets are a great option for appetizers, salads or side ingredients for the holidays. Their earthy and unique taste adds a refreshing flavor and bright color to your plates. Follow these directions to can beets:

Prep:

  1. Place your glass jars and lids in the dishwasher to be cleaned.
  2. Once finished, leave in the dishwasher to remain hot until ready to be filled.

Directions:

  1. Clean your beets
  2. Leave at least 3 inches of stem intact as well as the root
  3. Place the beets in a large pot and boil. When the outsides are tender but still hard in the middle, they are ready. Larger beets will take longer so Canning-Beet-in-Jarcontinue to check on them with a knife. Larger beets could take as long as 25 minutes.
  4. Fill your pressure canner with approximately 3 inches of hot water
  5. Remove your beets and allow them to cool. Skin should fall off easily; use gloves to remove the stem and roots
  6. Begin heating your brine ingredients in a pot
  7. Using a knife, remove the skin of the beets and cut into smaller chunks
  8. Pack your beets into the hot canning jars leaving 1 inch of head space at the top
  9. Pour your boiling brine into each of the packed jars
  10. Close jars tightly and place in boiling pressure cooker; make sure the jars have at least half an inch of water above them
  11. Let them sit for at least 10 minutes in the boiling water bath
  12. Remove and let jars cool. A popping sound will tell you they’re sealed!

Things to Remember

  • Make sure that the jars, lids and their bands fit perfectly well together to prevent air escaping
  • Check the rim for any debris or food that can also allow air to escape
  • Leave some space at the top of the can to allow ingredients to expand in the jar
  • If you have a lot of a vegetables to can, try canning them based on size
  • Always supervise while pressure cooking and handling hot objectsbeets5

Canning is a fun hobby to begin in any season, but it’s especially perfect if you’ve bene honing your gardening skills all summer! What kinds of vegetables are your favorites to can? Do you have any tips for an easier canning project? Let us know!

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