10 Canning Tips from Experts with 60+ years of Experience.
I can't tell you how often friends and family have asked me, "How do I get better at Canning?" The answer is really simple. Proper canning requires knowledge and a few tools, it's not rocket science. And while your first time might not be perfect, with practice you'll get better at it for sure! In this post, we'll go over 10 tips for getting started. All of these come from experts—the kind who have been there and done that in their own kitchen gardens for more than 60 YEARS.
1. Research, research, research…
Canning can be a fun, rewarding activity, but only if you’re fully prepared first. You can find many different resources related to canning on the internet. One of the best places to start your research is the USDA’s Complete Guide to Home Canning, which you can find here. (1)If you’re a novice canner, make sure to do your research ahead of time. You’ll want to make sure that you have a solid understanding of how to properly Can different types of produce. Remember, when it comes to Canning, knowledge is key! It’s a skill that requires years of experience to master fully. But if you’re very proactive and conscious about learning – you’ll be shocked at your improvement.
2. Start simple – “Can What You Eat and Eat What You Can”
Start simple. In the beginning, you will want to focus on foods that you already eat and enjoy. Don’t try to Can something that you don’t like or don’t have the right equipment for.
You can add more depth later on by experimenting with different recipes or making your own specialty products such as jams or jellies—but this is not necessary at first!
Start small and work your way up from there. When in doubt and confused, remember to can what you eat and eat what you can.
3. Prepare Ahead
Proper station setup is essential when canning, but it's also important to get organized. Here are some tips for preparing ahead:
- Have a plan. When canning, it's important to know what you're doing and how long things will take. Make sure that your plans include all of the necessary steps..
- Get organized! Having your lids, rings, jars, and jar grabber ready to go ahead of time will make things much easier when it comes time for actual cooking and processing later on down the line—and having everything laid out in front of you makes this easier than if there was just one big mess all over your kitchen countertop!
- Above all, make sure you did your research and as much as possible have a printout of your recipes with procedures & instructions.
4. Clean your jars and lids.
Make sure to thoroughly clean all jars and lids before you can with them. While it’s not a bad idea to soak the jars in water (with the lids stacked on top) ahead of time, you’ll have more flexibility if you clean them immediately before canning.
You can either wash them by hand or put them in your dishwasher. You’ll also want to ensure that the jars and lids are clean before you use them.
This will help to prevent any contamination or food spoilage during the canning process, which could ruin all the effort you put into it.
Always make sure to use new canning lids. Lids are designed to be used only once.
Gasket compounds in used lids may fail to seal on jars, resulting in unsafe food the second time.
Note: You only need to pre-sterilize jars that will spend less than ten minutes in a boiling water bath. The jars will be sterilized DURING processing in the canner when the processing time for canning a food/recipe is 10 minutes or longer (at 0-1,000 feet elevation).
Though sterilizing your jars won’t lead to anything seriously harmful, it will still require more time and energy for you to do so – which is unnecessary.
If you looking to stock up on some lids check out our Denali Lids.
5. Read the recipe thoroughly until you fully understand it
Always be sure to read the recipe thoroughly before you begin canning. You might find that certain produce items require additional prep (such as blanching or precooking) before you can them.
This is especially common when it comes to vegetables that are harder to can like corn and green beans. You also want to make sure that you understand the suggested processing times for your produce.
You can find this information in most canning recipe books or online.
6. Make a list
What list should I make? Hear me out, this is a GEM when it comes to your improvement.
First, make a list of what you need to buy. It's easy to forget that some items are on your shopping list and others aren't.
If there's something in the latter category, it might be a good idea to cross it off the list so that you won't forget about it later (because then you'll have no choice but to go out and buy more stuff).
Most importantly, always keep a list of your successes and areas to improve. Also, make a list of your family & friends’ favorite flavors or recipes. Having this list will bring you so much convenience.
7. Learn pressure canning
While many people are familiar with water bath canning, pressure canning is less common. That doesn’t mean that it isn’t just as safe, though.
In fact, pressure canning is actually a safer process for canning certain items, such as meats, soups, and stews.
While it may sound intimidating, pressure canning is actually a very easy process.
You just need to make sure that you have the proper equipment (such as a pressure canner, which should be a Denali Pressure Canner of course) and follow the proper recipe and instructions.
Our pressure canner has additional build in safeties so it is a go to option for anyone getting started with pressure canning.
8. Help someone first
If you have never done any canning before, make it a point to help someone who’s already experienced in Canning & food preservation.
Not only will this give you the opportunity to ask lots of questions and learn more about canning, but it will also ease any anxieties or insecurities you may have about canning.
Find a friend or family member and ask them if they will teach you how to can. Not only will this help make the process less intimidating, but it will also help you keep your canning costs down.
9. Ask Questions
You can ask lots of questions, but it's best to start with the experts. Ask your friends and family if they have any advice or recommendations for how to can safely and effectively.
If you live in an area where there isn't a lot of information about canning, then ask the librarian at your local library for help, or of course, you can always use the internet.
You may also want to check out books about home canning—they often contain useful tips for beginners who are just starting out.
We’d also love it if you join our private Facebook group community where everyone is welcome and ready to assist & answer your questions!
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10. Don't be intimidated, you got this! ❤️
Don't be afraid to ask questions.
Don't be afraid of the process.
Don't be afraid of the equipment.
Don't be afraid of the results!
And finally, don't ever think that you have failed if you have a little bit of canning left over in your jam jars after processing has finished. You may get lucky and have a few extra jars worth saving—that's just one more reason to love this hobby!
There are many canning tips out there and we hope that you have found this useful.
As the saying goes, “If you can't beat them, join them!”
If you are new to canning or have never tried it before, do not be intimidated! The more you do it, the more you get better at it.
Do not forget to join our exclusive Facebook group to join fellow canners and gain valuable insights about Canning!
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