Canning Tips

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Lori LaRizzio’s tips for successful canning as featured on Newswatch 16 This Morning:

1-Assemble jars and other items – Use only standard home canning jars, not old mayonnaise jars, and check these to make sure they are not chipped or cracked. Always use 2-piece lids; purchase lids new each year (the sealing compound will break down on storage) and sort through screw bands to make sure they are not rusted. It’s fine to reuse canning jars, as long as they are not chipped or cracked. Garage sales can be great places to locate used canning jars, just make sure they were designed for canning. Other items that come in handy for home canning include jar fillers, tongs, and lid wands.

2-Use recipes that are up to date  We all want to continue with those tried-and-true recipes, but canning recommendations have changed dramatically over the last 15 years. If you are using recipes that date before 1994, then it’s a good idea to set those aside and find an up-to-date recipe that has been tested for safety.  Buy a new updated canning book and you’ll be more successful.

3-Any jar that fails to seal can be reprocessed in a clean jar with a new lid –  Reprocess within 24 hours. Generally, it is better to refrigerate and use within a few days vs the re-doing process.
Why didn’t my jars seal?
This happens for a few different reasons.

  • There may have been a bit of product on the rim of the jar, making it hard for the lid to get a good hold.
  • The sealing compound on the lid wasn’t fully softened before you applied it.
  • Was your product piping hot when it went into the jars? If not, there may not have been enough heat in the jar to create the necessary vacuum effect.

4-Start with easy recipes using foods that are in season – the price is usually lowest when you’re in season, for example, tomatoes are abundant and affordable in summer. An easy starter would be stewed tomatoes and as you become more confident, go onto to make sauces and salsas but be cautious to only add as the recipe advises canning is scientific and adding too many different spices or non advised items can alter the content even cause bacteria.

5-Decorate jars after canning the contents  –  embellish for Holiday gifts. Items that are appreciated because you took the time and effort to create and make them for special friends and family make sure you follow the canning process to the T!  Label and mark each item canned.  Always inspect jars for signs of discoloration or leakage before using or distributing them.

Ask for jars back! They’re expensive when you have to buy a lot. Always give friends refills when they give the jars back!  Careful planning is key, having everything you need, in order and well orchestrated makes the process flow smoother.  When you start, you should begin the water baths, to heat jars and to heat water in my canner time and practice makes it easier each time!