Water Bath Canning
“Water Bathing” as I call it, is the process for preserving fruit and vegetables with a high acid content. These include fruits, pickles, relishes, tomatoes, fruit jams, butters, marmalades and preserves. (Some of the newer hybrid tomatoes don’t have sufficient acid for water bath canning, so you’ll want to add about 2 tablespoons of lemon juice per quart to these varieties to insure adequate acidity for water bath canning). Water Bathing uses the boiling water temps of 212 degrees to kill any bacteria that may be hanging around on your food, even after you’ve washed / prepped it.
If you live at higher elevations, you will need to adjust your processing time. For each 1000 feet above sea level, the rule of thumb tends to be add one minute–check your Ball Blue Book and know your elevation! Most foods will process in 10 minutes to 90 minutes—-depending on the food, style of packing, and jar size. I always recommend referring to your Ball Blue Book of Canning and another great place to ‘check in’ is with your county or state extension office, each year. Canning is fun (and a bit addictive!) and some very SIMPLE safety tips, used every time, will ensure great results!
Canning & Equipment Preparation
1. Gather all of your canning utensils and equipment, get everything set up and ready to go ahead of time.
2. Place water bath canner, filled half full with water, on a large stove burner and bring to temperature. Make sure your rack fits well in your canner. When you go to place your jars into the bath, the water level in the kettle should be large enough to cover the tops of your jars with at least 1-2 inches of water when they are put into it for processing. ( I use the water in my jars–see step #3–when I am ready to start filling them with food, to continue to fill the canner as needed to level– rather than waste the water)
3. I wash and rinse my jars in HOT water and fill them with HOT water and let them sit to temper the glass as not to crack my jars when they hit that boiling water! While I am doing this, I check all of my jars for any nicks or cracks and throw away any that are damaged. When canning, never reuse the lids as used lids will not seal completely and may cause your canned foods to get an unseen bacteria—botulism. Unless of course you are using Tattler Reusable lids! It is always better to be safe when you are canning then to try taking short cuts.
4. Once I have all my equipment and jars prepped, I am ready to can!
5. Depending on WHAT I am canning, I will prep my food as needed to time it out so I have my food that I am canning AND my equipment all prepped at the same time!
6. Always cool canned jars/food on a thick towel that you’ve laid out ahead of time, for 24 hours, out of any drafts. This will ensure a slow, proper cooling of the jars, and setting of the lid/seal. I mark the lids with the month/ year and what is in them. 🙂