Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Canning Basics

Canning Basics

Why should you can?

Canning food is an easy and economical way to keep food beyond its normal storage period. Proper, safe home canning procedures control the growth of spoilage microorganisms, such as molds, yeasts and bacteria as well as enzymes, and that increases your food potential. The canning process involves placing foods in jars or similar containers and heating them to a temperature that destroys those microorganisms. During this heating process air is driven out of the jar and as it cools a vacuum seal is formed. This vacuum seal prevents air from getting back into the product bringing with it contaminating micro-organisms.

Safe Canning Methods

There are two safe ways of processing food, the boiling water bath method and the pressure canner method:

1) The boiling water bath method is safe for tomatoes, fruits, jams, jellies, pickles and other preserves. In this method, jars of food are heated completely covered with boiling water (212°F at sea level) and cooked for a specified amount of time

2) Pressure canning is the only safe method of preserving vegetables, meats, poultry and seafood. Jars of food are placed in 2 to 3 inches of water in a special pressure cooker which is heated to a temperature of at least 240° F. This temperature can only be reached using the pressure method