8 Recipes For Canning Vegetables This Summer- Come and take a look at these easy recipes that might convince you to start canning for winter.
Principles About Food Preservation
When gardens overflow with the harvest, it is time to capture the abundance of the summer season.
If you are like me, living in a cold climate where winters are long and summers are short, you want to take advantage of any opportunity you have to preserve as much of the local fruits and vegetables available.
The irresistible appeal of canning and preserving is timeless. Let the whole family join in the fun of harvesting, preparing, simmering, and preserving homemade products.
Seal the freshness of the season in jars. You will be amazed at the sense of accomplishment you feel when you place your trophies on the pantry shelf.
Home Canning Principles
Understanding how to prevent food spoilage and deterioration is the key to canning safety. Microorganisms, like molds, yeasts, and bacteria, while some beneficial and harmless, can develop on the surface of foods and vegetables.
Food affected by bruising, insect damage, and disease is more likely to have greater levels of microorganisms associated with spoilage.
Canning interrupts the normal spoilage and decaying cycle of food by heating the food contained in a home canning jar that has been closed with vacuum sealing caps.
When heat is applied to these jars, at the correct temperature, it destroys potentially harmful microorganisms. Also, during the cooling process, the lid seals onto the jar blocking and preventing bacteria to enter and contaminate the food inside.
Proper storage and handling of seals jars also help that your beautiful jars full of goodies will stay free of spoilage and delicious for a long time.
Quality fresh products
This is a must. You cannot make good food using bad ingredients. Select produce as its peak from your garden or Farmers Market and make sure the variety is best suited for canning or for that specific recipe.
It is best to can fruits and vegetables as soon as you bring them home. When you are ready to can, discard heavily diseased, moldy, overripe, or insect-damaged food.
Mold, Yeasts, and Botulism
Some molds are harmful to eat. Yeasts, which are also fungi, cause fermentation, making the product unsafe to eat. The acid in foods and also the added one in most canning recipes protect against the growth of bacteria.
That's why it is important to handle the canning process carefully and make sure we do it right.
Boiling water processing heats the food at 212F, more than enough to destroy the molds and yeast without destroying the quality of food.
However, botulism is food poisoning caused by the bacteria named Clostridium botulinum (fancy name for a nasty creature!).
This bacteria develops in low acids in the absence of air in most environments- perfect conditions inside of a jar of canned meats or low-acid foods.
It is destroyed by pressure canning which is a method that sterilizes the jars at 240F temperature.
Buy products that are fresh, wash them thoroughly, peel and blanch when necessary, remove spoiled or damaged parts, and can properly by cleaning and sterilizing jars, lids, and any instruments you might use.
Also, follow the recipe exactly and do not play with the ingredients, as there is a risk to alter the acidity inside the jar and promote spoilage.
I am not going into details about different types of foods and how acidic they are, but I will give you a few examples of foods that need to be processed differently.
High-acidic food examples
Pickles, apricots, plums, apples, sour cherries, lemons, peaches, sauerkraut, pears, tomatoes, etc. (process them at 212F in boiling water)
Low-acidic food examples
Green beans, spinach, asparagus, carrots, okra, lima beans, turnips, etc. (Process them at 240F in a pressure canner)
What kind of jars and lids do I need to use for canning?
Glass jars, like Mason jars, are the ones recommended for canning in the United States. They come in a variety of sizes and styles and can be purchased in stores or online.
They are designed to fit canning lids, ensuring a good seal on the food. Make sure you use good quality lids and discard old ones that are rusted, or in bad shape.
Do I need any special equipment for canning?
A good food scale and a food processor are life savers. The food processor makes your life so much easier if you have to chop big amounts of carrots, onions, peppers, and other vegetables. Make yourself a nice gift and get one.
You will also need a jar lifter, a jar funnel, and a lid wand. You will thank me for the ideas when you will see how powerful these tools are in food canning. Plus, the investment is once, as you can reuse all these tools year after year.
Planning for canning foods
For some people the canning season starts with planting a garden. For others, it begins with a visit to a Farmers Market. No matter the source you choose for your fresh produce, plan well in advance to determine your needs.
- Make sure you have enough jars, lids, ingredients for the recipes and tools that are in good shape.
- Shop for any supplies you might need.
(Planning and shopping in advance will help prevent any interruptions in the canning process and also avoid any shortages when canning supplies are in demand.)
- Start canning as soon as you bring the produce at home.
- Do not make substitutions or change the recipes. This will ensure that the final product will be safe to eat.
- Set aside enough time to prepare and process the recipes to be preserved. Once the processing of a recipe is started, it should not be interrupted.
If you don't have a lot of time, can in small batches. I do this all the time as I like to go almost every week to the Farmers Market and get something interesting.
Foods canned should last about a year unless the recipe tells you differently. After one year, natural chemical changes may occur that will affect the quality, flavor, color, or texture.
For this reason, food stored the longest period of time should be used first. Make sure you label each jar with the date the product was canned, as well as the type and variety of the product in the jar.
Storing the opened jars :
Once a can is opened, the leftovers have to be refrigerated or frozen until used again. However, they should be consumed within a few days.
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