Friday, September 12, 2008

Bringing Back Home Canning

Bringing Back Home Canning I have noticed this year that the number of people interested in home canning has been on the rise. I attribute it to the increasing cost of food and the concern for food safety. So if you are one of the many people out there who is dusting off Mom’s old canning jars to put up those tomatoes, here are a few tips and reminders for you. Canning jars last for years if you take care of them. However, with the hard water in our area they often look dingy. This is result of a hard-water scale that forms on them during the processing. This can be removed by soaking jars for several hours in a solution of 1 cup vinegar and 1 gallon of water. Inspect your jars to make sure they are free of cracks or nicks in the rims. Check that you have enough jars, lids and screw bands before you get started. The lids need to be new (no recycling here!) and the screw bands rust free. Jars can break in a canner for a number of reasons. Usually it happens when people try to can in commercial food jars (like mayonnaise jars) rather than a canning jar made of tempered glass. Other causes include putting the jars directly on the bottom of the canner without a rack, putting hot food in cold jars, putting jars of cold or raw food into boiling water rather than hot water, and using jars with hairline cracks. Another reminder is to remove the screw bands after the jars have cooled completely. Wash the screw bands and dry them completely before storing. They can be used over and over as long as they are not rusty. However, never reuse the flat lids as you will probably experience a much higher rate of seal failure. Leaving the screw bands on during storage will result in the bands rusting onto the jar. It may also hide an unsealed lid. If your jars have sealed properly, they will not need that screw band to keep the lid in place. Make sure you are following up-to-date canning recommendations. If you would like the latest information, go to for the latest processing times and recipes.

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