Safe, high quality home canned foods begin with the right canning equipment, used properly. Why risk losing your time and food dollar through food spoilage?
Before you being canning this season:
Check and assemble equipment to see what you have and what you need.
Ignore the temptation to use peanut butter, pickle and quart size mayonnaise jars. Such jars are not safe for canning. Use only Ball or Mason type jars, with self-sealing lids for home canning, because they are designed to withstand high temperatures. Make an investment by buying canning jars that you can use for more than one season.
Have your pressure gauge checked if you use a dial gauge pressure canner.
Dial gauges should be checked each year for accuracy. Gauges that read high cause under processing and may result in unsafe food. Low readings cause over-processing. Every pound of pressure is very important to the temperature needed inside the canner for producing safe food, so accurate gauges are essential.
On Saturday, April 25 at the Sevier County Flower and Garden Show, Linda Hyder from UT Extension in Sevier County will be available to test the dial gauges of pressure canners at no cost. All that is needed, is the lid with the dial gauge. She will be at the Show from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., by the Sevier County Fairgrounds. (Weighted gauges, that rock or Jiggle during processing, are considered accurate and cannot be tested.)
Make sure your food preservation recipes are complete and up-to-date.
Research has changed over the years. Just because our grandparents used that recipe does not make it safe. The only safe acceptable canning methods now are Water Bath and Pressure Canning. The processing times have also changed over the years. Make sure your canning books are recent.
UT Extension is offering a research based, updated Canning Class Series May 5, May 12, and 19, 2015 from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Sevier County Extension Office. Cost is $50 per participant for the 3 night series. Participants will learn the basics of canning fruits and vegetables as well as learn how to make jelly and can pickles. This is an excellent opportunity for beginner canners, as well as updates for those with experience. Pre-Registration is needed. For questions, or more information, contact Linda Hyder at 453-3695 or [email protected]
Check jars and bands. Discard chipped jars and rusted or distorted bands.
Flat band lids which were left from last year may be used this year. Generally, the gasket in a new lid is good for 5 years from the date of manufacture. Always inspect new lids before using to be sure they are not dented, deformed, or have gaps in the sealing gasket.
Make plans to use up last summer’s produce (both frozen and canned) to make room for new products and prevent waste. Check the jar seals to ensure no spoilage.
For optimum quality, plan to use home-canned food within one year. After a year, the quality of home canned foods may decrease, but is still safe as long as the seal is still intact and there is no sign of spoilage. Always store canned foods in a cool, dark place, preferably between 50 and 70’F. Higher temperatures will cause food to lose quality.
Get that canner out to begin saving those fruits and vegetables for year round enjoyment!
Now, are you ready for canning? I wish you a bountiful harvest or some great trips to local Farmers’ Markets! For more information or questions, call Linda Hyder with UT Extension at 453-3695 or [email protected].