Canning Methods for Various Foods
There are all kinds of methods and recipes for canning foods. But which method works best with which food? This is a rather important consideration, because incorrect methods can result in spoilage, unsafe foods, and/or wasted time and money. Here is a sampling of canning methods for various foods.
Your great-grandparents didn’t use pressure canners, you may be thinking. Why should you? Well, we’ve learned a lot about microbes and food spoilage since our great-grandparents’ day. One of the things we’ve learned is that you need really high temperatures for a certain amount of time to kill bacteria, especially if those foods are low-acid. High-acid foods are less hospitable to bacteria, so not quite as high a temperature is needed to prevent bacteria from growing.
Foods that should be canned using a pressure canner include:
* Green beans
* Beans (such as pinto or kidney)
These are just some of the low-acid foods for which you’ll need a pressure canner.
Hot Water Bath
Some foods do fine in a hot water bath, that is, placing the filled jars in a deep kettle, pouring in water, and simmering it for 10 minutes or so (canning recipes give exact times). This works okay for high-acid foods, such as the following:
* Citrus fruits
* Cucumber pickles (the vinegar in the recipe makes the food very acidic)
This is one of the fastest ways to preserve foods in freezer-safe jars. You can put the whole food into the jar, pour sugar syrup, broth or water around it, and freeze. You can also puree the food, cook it down into a sauce or jam, and freeze it that way. Make sure you leave a good inch and a quarter of air space between the food and the top of the jar. Here are some foods that work well with the freezer canning method:
* Citrus fruits
* Homemade salsa
Vinegars and Oils
While it isn’t canning in the strictest sense, vinegars and oils are a great way to preserve herbs and spices. You pour oil or vinegar around lightly packed foods such as these:
* Raspberries (vinegar)
* Herbs such as basil, sage, mint, lemon balm and rosemary (vinegar)
* Garlic (oil or vinegar)
Surplus apples, pears, and tomatoes can be made into sauces like salsa, spaghetti sauce, straight tomato sauce, and apple/pear sauce. Follow your favorite recipe for making the sauce of your choice, then freeze, pressure can, or place in a hot water bath.
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