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   How to preserve your garden fresh produce!
The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends pressure canning as the only safe way to can meats, fish, poultry, and all common vegetables. Fruits and plain tomato products may be canned by the hot-water-bath method, but pressure canning them will save time and energy.

Use a water-bath canner for pickles, jams, and jellies. Do not blanch in a pressure canner. Use a blancher or covered pot with suitable basket.

To can mixtures of foods (soups, stews, etc.) use the time required for the ingredient with the longest processing time. Sometimes it is better to can ingredients separately (meat and vegetables, for example) and then combine them to heat for serving.
Step-By-Step Instructions for Home Canning
1.   Select quality ingredients at their peak of freshness; prepare them according to a tested recipes. Assemble jars, lids, bands and canning equipment. Check all items to ensure they are in good working condition.

2. Process Acid foods in a boiling water canner. Acid foods include: Jellies, Jams, Preserves, Marmalades and other Soft Spreads, Fruits, Tomatoes (with added acid), Pickles, Relishes and Chutneys.    

3. Process Low-Acid foods in a steam-pressure canner. Low-Acid foods include: Vegetables, Meats, Poultry, Seafood and Combination Recipes (with acid and low-acid ingredients).    

4. Wash jars, lids and bands in hot, soapy water. Rinse well. Dry bands and set aside. Heat jars and lids in hot water (180* F), keeping them hot until used. Do not boil lids. (For recipes requiring less than 10 minutes processing, sterilize jars by boiling them for 10 minutes. At elevations higher than 1,000 feet above sea level, add 1 minute for each 1,000-foot increase.)

5. Fill hot jar with prepared recipe. Leave recommended headspace: 1/4-inch for Fruit Juices, Pickles and Soft Spreads; 1/2-inch for fruits and tomatoes; 1-inch for Vegetables, Meats, Poultry, and Seafood.

6. Remove air bubbles by sliding a non-metallic spatula between the jar and food to release trapped air. Repeat procedure 2 to 3 times around jar.

7. Wipe rim and threads of jar with a clean, damp cloth. Center heated lip on jar with sealing compound next to glass. Screw band down evenly and firmly until a point of resistance is met - fingertip tight.

8. Place jar in canner. Repeat procedure for filling jars until the canner is full. Process filled jars following the method and process time indicated by a tested recipe.

9. When processing time is complete, cool canner according to manufacturer's instructions. Remove jars from canner; set them upright on a towel to cool. Bands should not be retightened. Let jars cool 12 to 24 hours.

10. After jars are cool, test for a seal by pressing the center of the lid. If the lid does not flex up and down, the lid is sealed. Remove bands. Wipe jars and lids with a clean, damp cloth. Label and store jars in a cool, dry, dark place.
PRESSURE CANNER   (follow manufactures direction for water in canner)
Size Canner Amount of Water Half Pint Jars Pint, Reg. Jars Pint, Wide Mouth Quart
8 Qt. 2 Qt. 8 6 5 -
12 Qt. 2 1/2 Qt. 13 10 8 7
22 Qt. 2 1/2 Qt. 36 20 16 7
*Add extra pint of water to canner if processing less than full capacity.
Jar Size                                                     Salt
Half Pint (8 oz.)                                        1/4 tsp.
Pint (16oz.)                                               1/2 tsp.
Quart (32oz.)                                              1 tsp.
                     *Vegetables and meats can be canned successfully with or without salt
  Processing Times Processing Times  
Asparagus 30 40 10
Wash, grade, and trim off scale.Cover with boiling water. Cook 2 minutes. Pack hot, cover with liquid. Leave 1/2 in. head space. Add salt. Adjust lids. Process      
Beans, Lima (fresh) 40 50 10
Shell. Grade. Bring to a boil. Pack hot and cover with water. Leave 1 in. head space in pints. Leave 1 1/2 in. in quarts.  Add salt. adjust lids. Process.      
Beans, String or Wax 20 25 10
Wash. String. Cut in pieces. Boil 5 minutes. Pack hot. Cover with boiling liquid. Leave 1/2 in. head space. Add salt.  Adjust lids. Process.      
Beets 30 35 10
Wash. Retain 1 in. of the stem. Cook in canner with 1 -1 1/2 cups water at 15 lbs. for 6 minutes. Cool canner under faucet. Cover beets with cold water. Slip off skins. Cut in 1/2 in. slices. Pack in jars. Cover with fresh boiling water. Leave 1 in. head space. Add salt. Adjust lids. Process.      
Carrots 25 30 10
Scrape. Slice or cut as desired. Boil for 5 minutes. Pack. Cover with hot liquid leaving 1 in. head space. Add salt. Adjust lids. Process.      
Corn (whole kernel) 55 85 10
Remove husks. Cut kernels from cob. To each quart of corn add 1 pint boiling water and 1 tsp. salt. Boil 1 minute. Pack loosely. Cover with hot liquid. Leave 1 in. head space. Add salt. Adjust lids. Process      
Greens 70 90 10
Can only very fresh, tender greens. Wash carefully. Remove tough stems. Boil in small amount of water. Pack loosely. Cover with hot liquid. Leave 1 inch head space. Adjust lids. Process.      
Okra 25 40 10
Wash and trim. Cook 1 minute. Cut into 1 in. lengths. Pack hot and cover with boiling water. Leave 1 in. head space. Add salt. Adjust lids. Process.      
Peas (fresh Blackeye, Cowpeas, Blackeye Beans) 45 40 10
Shell and wash. Bring to a boil. Drain. Pack loosely and cover with boiling water. Leave 1 1/2 in. head space. Add salt. Adjust lids. Process      
Peas (green) 40 40 10
Shell. Use only young, fresh peas. Bring to a boil. Pack loosely and cover with boiling water. Leave 1 in. head space. Add salt. Adjust lids. Process.      
Potatoes  35 40 10
Wash, pare and cut into 1/2 in. cubes. Or use whole if 1 to 2 1/2 inch in diameter. Boil cubes 2 minutes; whole potatoes 10 minutes. Drain. Pack and cover with boiling water. Leave 1 in. head space. Add salt. Adjust lids. Process.      
Pumpkin or Hubbard Squash 65 80 10
Peel and cut into 1 inch cubes. Cook until tender. Pack hot. Leave 1 inch head space. Adjust lids. Process.      
Sauerkraut 10 15 5
Heat well-fermented sauerkraut to simmering. Pack hot and cover with hot juice. Leave 1 inch head space. Adjust lids. Process.      
Summer Squash (Zucchini) 30 40 10
Wash squash. do not pare. Cut into small pieces. Boil 2 or 3 minutes. Pack hot and cover with boiling water. Leave 1 inch  head space. Add salt. Adjust lids. Process.      
Most boiling water canners are made of aluminum or porcelain-covered steel. They have removable racks and fitted lids. The canner must be deep enough so that at least one inch of briskly boiling water will be over the tops of jars during processing. Some boiling water canners do not have flat bottoms. A flat bottom is more energy efficient on an electric range. A ridged bottom can be used more efficiently on a gas burner. To ensure uniform processing of all jars with an electric range, the canner should be no more than 4 inches wider in diameter than the element on which it is heated. If you have a ceramic top range, check the manufacturer's instructions before you begin to can.
Steps for Successful Boiling Water Canning
1. Fill the canner halfway with water.

2. Preheat the water to 140 degrees F. for raw-packed foods and to 180 degrees F. for hot-packed foods.

3. Load filled jars, fitted with lids, into the canner rack and use the handles to lower the rack into the water, or fill the canner, one jar at a time, with a jar lifter.

4. Add more hot water, if needed, so the water level is at least 1 inch above jar tops. Cover with the canner lid.

5. Turn heat to its highest position until the water boils vigorously.

6. Set a timer for the minutes required for processing the food.

7. Lower the heat setting to maintain a gentle boil throughout the process schedule.

8. Add more boiling water, if needed, to keep the water level above the jars.

9. When jars have been process for the recommended time, turn off the heat and remove the canner lid.

10. Using a jar lifter, remove the jars and place them on a towel, leaving at least 1 inch of space between the jars during cooling.
Canning Tomato Products

Dip tomatoes in boiling water 1/2 minute; dip quickly in cold water. Cut out stem ends and peel.

For cold pack: Pack tomatoes, pressing gently to fill spaces. Leave 1/2 in. headspace. Add no water. Add 1 teaspoon salt to quarts. Adjust lids. Process in boiling water bath 35 minutes for pints, 45 minutes for quarts.

For hot pack: Quarter peeled tomatoes. Bring to boil, stirring constantly. Pack boiling hot tomatoes into hot jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Add 1 teaspoon salt to quarts. Adjust lids. Process in boiling water bath, 10 minutes for both pints and quarts.

To ensure safe acidity in whole, crushed, or juiced tomatoes use the following recommendations.
Acid Pints Quarts
Bottled lemon juice 1 Tablespoon 2 Tablespoons
Citric acid 1/4 teaspoon 1/2 teaspoon
Vinegar 2 Tablespoons 4 Tablespoons
Add acid directly to the jars before filling with product. If desired, add up to 1 Tablespoon of sugar per quart to offset acid taste. Vinegar may cause undesirable flavor changes.
Recommended process times for tomato products in boiling water canner
Product Style of Pack Jar size Minutes of processing at different altitudes 0-1,000 ft Minutes of processing at different altitudes 1,000-3,000 ft.
Tomato juice Hot Pints 35 40
    Quarts 40 45
Tomato Vegetable juice blend Hot Pints 35 40
    Quarts 40 45
Tomato sauce Hot Pints 35 40
    Quarts 40 45
Ketchup Hot Pints 15 20
    Quarts - -
Chile Salsa Hot Pints 15 20
    Quarts - -
For tomato recipes see my recipe page.
Freezing Procedure
Preparation. Select fresh, tender vegetables. Lettuce and other salad greens, green onions, cucumbers, celery, tomatoes, and radishes should not be frozen since they lose crispness and texture. Wash, trim and sort vegetables according to size following the freezing chart that follows.

Blanch vegetables to prevent any off-flavors (see directions for blanching).

Packaging. Moisture-vaporproof containers are essential. Rigid containers might be glass, aluminum, plastic, or heavily waxed cardboard. bags and sheets made of moisture-vaporproof materials such as heavy foil, cellophane, plastic, or laminated papers are suitable. Pack vegetables tightly to eliminate air.

Sealing. Leave 1/2 inch headspace between packed vegetable and top of container to allow food to expand. Follow manufacturer's directions for sealing containers. Label with contents and date.

Freezing. Freeze at 0 degrees or below in small batches. Keep stored at this temperature until ready to use, up to 8 to 12 months.
Never refreeze vegetables.

Blanching Vegetables

Blanch vegetables before freezing to stop enzyme action. It helps retain fresh flavor and appearance. Water blanching is best for most vegetables. Broccoli, sweet potatoes, and winter squash may be blanches using steam or water method.

Water blanching. Place 1 pound prepared fresh vegetable in wire-mesh basket. Immerse in 1 gallon rapidly boiling water in large kettle. Cover and boil for time indicated in chart that follows. Allow 1 minute longer boiling time at 5.000 or more feet above sea level.

Remove promptly when time is up. Chill quickly by putting basket of vegetables into a pan of cold or ice water. Change water frequently. Allow about as much time for cooling as for blanching. Drain well.

Steam blanching. Use kettle with tight lid and rack 3 inches off bottom. Add water 1 to 2 inches deep; bring to rapid boil. Keep heat high. Place vegetables in single layer in basket; lower onto rack. Cover and steam for time in chart. Steam 1 minute longer at 5,000 or more feet above sea level. Remove vegetables and cool in ice water, as for water blanching.

Blanching Vegetable Preparation Boiling Water Steam (on rack over boiling water)
Asparagus Wash, trim; cut to package length or in 2 inch pieces. Sort according to stalk thickness. Small stalks - 2 min.

Large stalks - 4 min.
Beans, green Wash; remove ends. Cut in 1 or 2 inch pieces, or french cut. 3 min.  
Beans, lima Shell, or leave in pods and shell after blanching. Small - 2 min.

Large - 4 min.
Beets Wash and sort according to size, leave 1/2 inch stems. Cook till tender. Peel; cut up. Small - 25 to 30 min.

Medium -45 to 50 min.
Broccoli Wash; peel stalks; trim, cut into medium pieces 5-6 inches long, no thicker than 1 1/2 inches. 3 min. 5 min.
Brussels Sprouts Cut for stem; wash carefully. Remove outer leaves. Sort according to size. Small - 3 min.

Large - 5 min.
Carrots Wash; scrape or pare. Cut into 1/4 inch slices or leave whole if small and tender. Sliced - 2 min.

Whole - 5 min.
Cauliflower Wash; cut into 1 inch pieces. 3 min.  
Corn, on cob Husk, remove silk, wash and sort. don't use overmature corn. Small ears - 7 min.

Med. ears - 9 min.

Large ears - 11 min.
Corn, kernel Blanch ears; cool, then cut off corn. 4 min.  

Beet or Chard




Wash thoroughly. Cut and discard thick stems and imperfect leaves 2 min.

2 min.

2 min.

2 min.

3 min.

3 min.
Mixed Vegetables Prepare. Blanch separately for times given, mix together after cooling.    
Peas Shell peas. Discard starchy peas. 1 1/2 min.  
Potatoes, sweet Cook till almost tender with jackets on. Cool; pare and slice. dip in solution of 1/2 cup lemon juice to 1 quart water. Or mash; mix 2 tablespoons lemon juice with each quart. Cook 30 - 40 min. Cook 45 - 60 min.
Rutabagas and Turnips Wash, cut off tops, peel and cut into 1/2 inch cubes. 2 min.  
Squash, summer Wash. Cut in 1/2 inch slices 3 min.  
Squash, winter Cut into pieces; remove seeds. Cook till soft; remove pulp; mash. Cook quickly. Cook 15 min. Cook about 20 min.