Preserving food in jars is a great way to stretch your food budget, reduce waste, and enjoy fresh and delicious food year-round. If you want to preserve your food in jars for years, the best and most popular method is canning with water bath. Here are some steps you can follow to ensure your canning efforts are successful:
Start with fresh and clean jars and lids: Before you begin canning, make sure your jars and lids are clean and free of cracks and chips. Boil the jars and lids for 10 minutes to sterilize them, and keep them hot until you’re ready to fill them.
Fill the jars with your chosen food item: Whether you’re canning fruits, vegetables, or meats, make sure you pack them tightly into the jars, leaving enough headspace at the top. Add any seasonings or liquid that the recipe calls for.
Seal the jars: Wipe the rims of the jars to ensure they’re clean and dry. Put the lids on the jars and tighten the screw bands until they’re finger-tight.
Process the jars: Put the filled jars into a canning pot or large stockpot filled with hot water. Make sure the water covers the jars by at least an inch. Bring the water to a boil and let it boil for the recommended amount of time (usually around 10-15 minutes). Remove the jars from the water and let them cool completely.
Check the seals: Once the jars have cooled, check the seals by pressing down on the center of the lid. If it doesn’t flex, it’s sealed! Any jars that didn’t seal properly need to be refrigerated and eaten within a few days.
By following these steps, you can safely can your favorite foods and enjoy them for years to come, whether you’re making jams and jellies, pickles, or even canned meats. Happy canning!