Canning and Preserves

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  • I just checked my canner instruction book... I follow the directions for canning meat, just to be on the safe side. They say to process pints or quarts for 50 minutes at 15 pounds pressure. If your soup has no meat, you might be able to go with less time, but I just go with 50 minutes to be safe.
  • I want to learn to can and freeze fruit andveggies really badly. I have mentioned that to folks and I usually wind up with a book in my hand.
    Not to sound ungrateful, but I learn much better by "hands on" and doing.
    I plant a garden each year. To me, home made is better. much of my produce goes to waste. Living in Central PA...I see so many families ("plain") and I envy their closeness and simply lifestyles. I think the neat thing is the way the lil' ones are shown so young, and everything is done together.
    Almost everything.....

    Where do I start to learn. Here it is January. A brand new year.

    What do I do now to prepare for spring?

    Veggies we use ALOT are :

    Hot Peppers
    Green beans
    Herbs: cilantro, oregano, chamomile

    As far as gardening I only seem to have luck with tomatoes and hot peppers. Unfortunatly I waste alot

    Can someone help???? Sorry if I got WAY off of the subject!

    Hugs and Blessings,
  • January is a great time to start looking for supplies on sale. I've picked up cases of canning jars at small hardware stores in the winter in the clearance section. Also grab freezer bags whenever they go on sale. All sizes, as you'll need them.

    You'll want a water bath canner and a pressure cooker. Good places to look for them are at estate auctions and second hand shops. I picked up my Mirro pressure cooker for $8 at an auction. I happened to be the only woman there that particular freezing day in Feb.

    Finally, decide which you have more space for- frozen or canned. That will determine which you will do the most of. Me, we can a lot because I usually have half a beef and half a hog in my freezer along with 20 or 30 chickens I buy from an organic farmer.

    So, I can tomatoes, spaghetti sauce, green beans, salsa ( which will use those hot peppers) and pickles. Plus I always can peach, raspberry preserves and apple butter.
    I do freeze rhubarb, corn, and peaches soaked in orange juice.
    If you need specifics PM me and I will be glad to share.

    Hope this helps a little.
  • Home canning is a great way to preserve food for the coming year, to give as gifts, and also so you know exactly what you and your family are eating. It is safe and a lot of fun if you follow current methods and recipes from reliable sources. The Ball Blue Book is really good for giving basic info as well as recipes that are safe for home canning. Be sure to use a new version as some methods used in years past have now been tested and proven to be unsafe. They also have a website at Just for clarification, a pressure cooker and a canner are not always the same. Not being picky, but there is much confusion at times on this. A canner is larger than a cooker, and designed for that purpose. Some may say cooker/canner and they are normally about 22 quarts in size. That means they would hold 22 quarts of liquid, not that many quart jars. A regular pressure cooker is more of a saucepan and only designed for cooking in.
    There are lots of websites from university extension that also have current, safe recipes and instructions. You will find that not all books, and info online contain methods that would be considered safe. All vegetables and meats must be pressure canned in order to keep botulism and other food borne illnesses from growing in the jars. Pickled veggies, fruits, and jams and jellies can be canned in a water bath canner. You should have a local county extension office, listed in your phone book under government agencies,that can also provide you with low cost pamphlets with good recipes. Salsa is a food that may be water bath canned IF you follow a safe, tested recipe, or again, botulism is a real possiblity.
    Your extension office may offer canning lessons for a small fee. That way you could get hands on help.
    I think getting the Ball Blue book and also looking at the websites can give you a good idea of things you may want to can for your family. The newest version has more modern, updated recipes, too. Things like roasted red pepper spread, pecan praline sauce, and mango pineapple relish, etc. You will also be able to find recipes using the foods you listed that you use most of.
  • One more thing I thought of as I was reading over this thread again. There are probably several ladies in your neighborhood or church that can or used to that would be more than willing to help you get started.
    My mother never let us help, her mother had a friend that was severly burned and scarred when one of the old pressure canners blue up (we're talking back in the 40s). Mom was always scared we'd get burned. Of course canners are much safer now but still follow the directions carefully.
    Anyway, when I decided I wanted to start one of my friends mothers helped me a great deal. She answered questions, gave me advice on what to buy, etc.
    Ask around at church or the library, or even your extension office. Many people with great talents are out there wishing they could share them.
  • Miss Kitty, that is so true. There are ladies who enjoy teaching their skills to others. Often the older ones no longer can and will give you their jars, too.
    That is why I volunteer with my county extension office and also answer questions online about food preservation and food safety. I enjoy it so much.
    Canning gets to be addictive,don't you think? Each year I can at least one new thing. My daughter teases me and says I am getting gourmet on them ! There are so many great canning recipes out there now. The pecan praline sauce is one of my favorites.
    Happy canning to all !