Our mothers, grandmothers and great-grandmothers did it... why should we break the cycle? Canning and jarring foods are some of the best ways to have top-quality produce out of season, and spring and summer offer endless variety. Invite some friends over to split the work and fill dozens of cans or jars, and then spend your winters with the flavors of summer in your pantry!
How to Can or Jar Properly
There are two basic methods of canning: waterbath canning is used for jams, jellies, preserves and compotes, while pressure canning is used for foods with lower acidity, like meats, sauces, stews and vegetables.
For waterbath canning, you'll need a large stockpot, a canning rack and clean and dried jars with lids and bands. Be sure to use jars specially made for canning as a first-time canner -- here at Organic Authority, we like easy-to-use Ball jars. When your recipe is prepared, bring enough water to cover the jars by an inch to simmer in the stockpot. Wash and dry your jars with very warm water, and carefully fill your jars, leaving at least 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch of space at the top. Close the jars. Ensure that they are closed, but don't close them too tightly, as air will still need to escape. Place the jars on the canning rack and submerge in the simmering water. Cover the pot and "process," or cook at a boil, for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow the jars to sit for 5 minutes before removing them to a dishtowel on the countertop. Allow the jars to sit on the counter, upright, for at least 20 hours. Press on the jar lid to ensure the seal is tight; lids that have not sealed properly will "pop." These jars should be stored in the fridge and eaten first.
For pressure canning low-acid foods, you'll need to purchase a pressure canner. Then, simply follow the instructions for your make and model.
Canning Ideas for Spring and Summer
Once you know the basics of canning, the possibilities are endless! Try:
High Acid (Waterbath Canning Method)
- Garden Fresh Relish
- Fig Jam
- Lemon-Orange Marmalade
- Pickled Spring Veggies
- Strawberry Rhubarb Jam
Low Acid (Pressure Canning Method)