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PAL Questions: 1 - Garden Tools:
I've never done any canning before but now that I've started growing more of my own fruit and vegetables I want to know how to do it safely! I've heard about a few different canning processes (water bath and pressure). Is one method or another best for certain types of food?
There is a very helpful article for canning beginners in the July/August 2012 issue of Urban Farm magazine, entitled "Oh, You Know I Can!" by Lindsay Evans. You mention the only two canning methods which the article says are approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as safe, water-bath and pressure canning. Their National Center for Home Food Preservation has extensive information. Here are excerpts:
Proper canning practices include:
- carefully selecting and washing fresh food,
- peeling some fresh foods,
- hot packing many foods,
- adding acids (lemon juice or vinegar) to some foods,
- using acceptable jars and self-sealing lids,
- processing jars in a boiling-water or pressure canner for the correct period of time.
Methods that are NOT recommended are open-kettle and steam canning, or using the oven or microwave to process filled jars.
The article has a handy list of which foods work best with water-bath canning, and which with pressure canning. Generally, high acid foods (pH level of 4.6 or less) can be processed with the water-bath method and low acid foods (pH of 4.6 or more) must be canned using pressure. High acid foods include apples, apricots and other stone fruit, berries, cherries, lemons, pears, tomatoes, pickles and sauerkraut. Low acid foods include asparagus, beets, carrots, corn, green beans, lima beans, rutabagas, and turnips.
Here is a link to more canning information from the National Center for Home Food Preservation.
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April 19 2012 16:02:30