Living in a homestead presents its own set of challenges. Depending on whether you’re living off-grid or not, you may or may not have a refrigerator. Since you’ll be growing your own fruit and vegetables, and even raising livestock for meat, you may have more food than you can consume.
While you can sell the excess produce for money, you may also wish to keep some of the food for a later date. Canning is one of the best ways to preserve your food and make it last.
Don’t panic. It really isn’t as difficult as you think. Once you know how to do it, it will be a piece of cake.
Before starting, there are a few supplies that you will need. Canning jars, lids, and metal rings are essentials. You can’t just use any old jam jar and try to can your foods. Good canning jars will resist corrosion and the lids will form an airtight seal.
You’ll need a wooden spoon to mix the content that’s placed in the jars. This will help to remove air bubbles in the food. You’ll also need a pot that is deep and wide enough to hold several jars and the boiling water. It’s best to can several jars at once to conserve fuel.
Get a funnel and a wide pan. The funnel will be used to pour the foods/liquids into the jars and the pan can be used to preserve the foods and mix them before storing the food in the jars.
There are 2 types of canning: boiling water bath and pressure canning.
If you’re canning poultry, seafood, meat, soup stocks, unpreserved vegetables, beans, etc. you MUST use pressure canning. You absolutely CANNOT use the water bath method with these foods.
In this article, we’ll look at the water bath method which is slightly easier. You’ll not need a pressure cooker to use this method.
So, how do you do canning in a water bath?
- Fill your pot with water and start boiling it.
- Wash the jars and lids thoroughly.
- Place jars, rings and lids in the boiling water to sterilize them.
- Use a jar-lifter to and remove the rings and lids and place them in a clean bowl and let them cool.
- Take out jars and place your pickled food or preserved fruits in them. Use the funnel to add the mix and juices, etc. Use the wooden spoon to stir the mix gently to release pockets of air that may be trapped in the food.
- Wipe the edges of the jar clean and screw on the lids. Do not screw the lids on too tightly.
- Place sealed jars into the pot with water and start boiling again. Allow jars to sit in water for required duration.
- When done, remove jars and place them on a shelf to cool undisturbed for 12 to 14 hours.
Once jars are cooled, check the lids. Press the lid on the jar and see if it moves. If it doesn’t, there’s a tight seal. If the jar pops up and down, that means the seal isn’t tight and you’ll need to consume the food. Do not try to reseal the jar.
That’s how boiling water bath canning is done. It can be used to can a large variety of preserved vegetables, fruits and much more. Even if you live in a house in the suburbs or an apartment in the city, you still can give canning a try.
It’s not reserved for homesteaders and once you get into the swing of things, you’ll enjoy canning your favorite jams and fruits.
Wishing you much peace, happiness, and success,