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Canning Tips

Forget about the mystique surrounding canning. Being familiar with a few basic techniques and precautions turns the task at hand into a far simpler undertaking than you'd ever imagined. Success comes by following an easy formula: Use the best produce you can find, and make sure the jars are properly sterilized and sealed.

Sterilizing
1. Don't use jars with any chips or cracks. Wash the jars, lids, and screw bands in hot, soapy water, making sure to rinse well.

2. Place the jars upright on a wire rack in a large pot, fill pot with hot water until the jars are submerged, and bring the water to a boil. Boil for 10 minutes, turn off the heat, and leave jars in the water. Sterilize the lids according to the manufacturer's instructions.

3. Using stainless-steel tongs, lift the jars from the pot, and place them on a padded layer of clean towels.

Sealing
1. Pour fruits or vegetables into the jars, and wipe the rims carefully. Each jar should be filled up to a quarter-inch from the top.

2. Eliminate air bubbles by poking through the contents of the jar with a chopstick or wooden skewer.

3. Place the lid onto the rim and, using one finger to hold the lid securely, twist on the screw band until it's tight.

4. Put a wire rack on the bottom of a large pot, and fill the pot with hot water. Use a jar lifter to place each jar on the rack. Add enough water to cover the jars by 2 inches, and bring the water to a boil.

5. Boil the jars for 10 minutes; remove from the water with a jar lifter, and allow the jars to stand on the towels for 24 hours. When the jars are cool, check for a slight indentation in the lid, which indicates a vacuum seal.

Comments (17)

  • whatever22 24 Jan, 2015

    Smokeysgal Sept '08 caught my attention. I read all comments again more thoroughly. I also read the instructions again and agree with others that these instructions are horrible. There's a HUGE difference between PRESSURE canning and WATER BATH canning; some foods need one, some foods need the other. Processing times will also vary. "Put fruit or veg into jars, process 10 minutes" is way too vague!! I'm very surprised coming from Martha Stewart. Don't rely on this site alone. Or even at all??

  • Lillibabe 5 Sep, 2014

    The 'Autoclave' mentioned previously by a commenter used only for hospitals is untrue. As an Aesthetic Instructor I am very familiar with this equipment. It is now no longer deemed safe/sterile. Boiling items is however still safe/sterile.

  • homecanner 7 Sep, 2013

    Well I got my canning jars and supplies from http:www.canology.com. When it comes to canning supplies Walmart cannot touch Canology's wide selection of home canning equipment. Great prices and great selection is what it is about

  • blonfrau 2 Sep, 2010

    The only way to sterilize something is to do so with an autoclave (steam - very expensive machine only hospitals have). You are sanitizing the jars in this recipe by boiling them, but no where near sterilizing them.

  • J30 11 Aug, 2010

    I want to start canning but everyone scared me

  • JerseyCook 14 Sep, 2008

    Of course, you have to make sure you are using a recipe intended for canning. You cannot take any recipe and think you are going to can it and have a positive result. Many foods are not intended to be home canned, but we are talking fruits and vegetables here. The Ball canning book is an excellent resource because let's face it, they have been in the industry for hundreds of years, I think they know what they are doing.

  • JerseyCook 14 Sep, 2008

    YOU DO NOT NEED A PRESSURE COOKER. The book on canning by the company that makes Ball jars gives this precise method. I use this exact method to put up barbecue sauce, poached pears, applesauce, pickles, vegetables, tomato sauce and jams. This was the precise way that my great-grandmother and grandmother canned all of the fruit and produce grown on their farm for fall and winter storage. Its what she taught me and I have been doing it like this all of my life without incident.

  • marctwinn 13 Sep, 2008

    If you want more information on canning and proper preservation methods and are unsure of these you can go to your local county extension office sometimes they even offer classes You really miss a lot of flavor if you don't try to can your own fresh food Once you make your own jellies and vegetables you won't want to go back to commercial

  • Smokeysgal 12 Sep, 2008

    I don't see arecipe. Are you freaking out over nothing? All she is telling you is how to sterilize and seal. Not how to cook! Did I miss something?

  • CDNurse 12 Sep, 2008

    Ltabanni, http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/publications/publications_usda.html http://www.homecanning.com/ both will give you safe canning instructions. Wash the jars and rings with hot soapy water and rinse. The jars and contents are sterilized during the canning process. Always use new lids that you have heated as per the package instructions. Follow directions as per the USDA for canning times and pressures.

  • Ltabanni 11 Sep, 2008

    I was so excited to receive the email about canning until I read the comments. Gwen77 said the recipes needed to be specific, but how should you sterilize jars; Valeriescratchard said this was unsafe but didn't say how or why. If anyone else knows a lot about canning I would love to know more. I am very interested in canning but I am pregnant and have my two small children and husband to consider. I want to be sure I don't get anyone sick!

  • Ltabanni 11 Sep, 2008

    I was so excited to receive the email about canning until I read the comments. Gwen77 said the recipes needed to be specific, but how should you sterilize jars; Valeriescratchard said this was unsafe but didn't say how or why. If anyone else knows a lot about canning I would love to know more. I am very interested in canning but I am pregnant and have my two small children and husband to consider. I want to be sure I don't get anyone sick!

  • CDNurse 11 Sep, 2008

    I totally agree with the previous comments. These directions are dangerous and should be removed from the Martha's web pages. You can get safe directions at
    http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/publications/publications_usda.html
    or
    http://www.homecanning.com/

  • Mitziemoo 11 Sep, 2008

    This recipe should be deleted from the recipe file. That is NO WAY to can vegetables! Veges and meats MUST be processed in a pressue cooker! And water bath canning requires different time tables for different fruits. This recipe is a disservice to the public.

  • valeriescratchard 25 Jul, 2008

    This has got to be the WORST description of home canning EVER given! Absolutely UNSAFE instructions given!!!!
    The instructions in the case of jars are written much better

  • gwen77 10 Dec, 2007

    As I was saying, you can find safe recipes at freshpreserving.com, or the USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning (do a web search for this one). Follow those recipes, and you can enjoy *delicious*, safe, home-made canned goods!

  • gwen77 10 Dec, 2007

    I work in the food safety department of a major canning company, and I feel a responsibility to comment on this article. To be sure the preserved food you serve your family is safe, you *must* follow a scientifically-tested recipe. Follow that recipe to the letter, including the boiling or pressure cooker directions, and make no substitutions. Great places to find tested