With the peak of the growing season coming up, I’m seeing tons of friends and fellow bloggers posting about what to do with their harvest! You have a few options: eat em, dehydrate (freeze drying is even better!), freeze, or can it. I typically freeze or water bath can my extras. Water bath canning method is super easy but you will need some basic tools and a recipe with the proper amounts of vinegar and/or other agents to preserve the food. I definitely recommend getting one of the current Ball canning books. It has tons of timeless recipes for everyone to enjoy. Stop by your local home and garden store or check out their website : http://www.freshpreserving.com for a copy. This book has tons of great information and yummy recipes!
Some of the most common mistakes I see in water bath canning:
1) Using the water bath method when they SHOULDN’T. You simply cannot water bath can everything. Meats and many other foods low in acid need to be pressure canned… That’s a whole different blog that I’m not even an expert on (yet 😉).
2) Not cleaning the top brim of the jars after filling. If there is any left over residue from dropping salsa (or whatever you’re pouring) on the lid… You can’t get a proper seal. Not a proper seal = bacteria growth = somebody is going to get sick or worse 💀.
3) Not providing enough head space. You need a 1/4 -1/2 inch of head space in all recipes. This helps prevent moisture from degrading the seal. Trust me, here in 6 months you don’t want to pop open a can of sauce to find out it’s totally molded because it was packed full. Trust the pros here.. leave headspace!
4) Cranking down the lids. This isn’t a competition. We’ve gotta let the air bubbles release.. or you could have an explosive jar. PS those rings are meant to come off after they’ve sealed or else you could end up with a rusted ring. Wait a day or two before taking them off.
5) Not using the proper recipe. Again- reference a recipe that is tried and true. If you’re a beginner don’t risk sickness to try making up a new recipe. Until you’ve done tons of research this just isn’t something you can wing.
I hope this blog was helpful and you learned something new!
Happy canning everyone!