How To: Canning 101 – The Steps to Safe Processing

Many think home canning is a time intensive process but it can be done easily!

Many think home canning is a time intensive process but, in fact, many home canning recipes can be prepped and preserved in well under an hour!

Safe fresh preserving helps home cooks capture the best, seasonal produce and transform fresh from the garden foods like cucumbers and tomatoes in zesty pickles and rich tomato sauce.

Whether new to canning or a preserving veteran, Jarden Home Brands, makers of the iconic Ball brand home canning products, offers a variety of resources to help you every step of the way. Here are the nine steps to ensure the safest and highest quality preserved foods every time you can, and always be sure you’re starting with a tested and approved recipe.

  1. Fill water bath canner or large pot half-way with water. Place jars in water, allowing water to flow into jars. Bring to a simmer and keep hot until ready for use. The best way to prep lids is by washing with warm, soapy water and keeping at room temperature until ready for preserving. Using a dishwasher to pre-warm jars is also safe.

  1. Prepare boiling water bath canner or large pot by filling half-full with water and keep water at a simmer while covered with lid until jars are filled and placed inside. If using a pot, it must be large enough to fully immerse the jars in water by 1 to 2 inches. Be sure your rack in resting on the rim of the canner or on the bottom, depending on the type of rack you are using. If you don’t have a home canning rack, use a cooling rack or extra bands tied together.

  1. Prepare tested preserving recipe using fresh produce and other quality ingredients

  1. Remove one hot jar from hot water, using a jar lifter, empty water inside jar.  Fill the jar with prepared recipe using a jar funnel, leaving headspace recommended in the recipe.  Remove air bubbles by sliding a non-metallic spatula down the side of the jar & press inwards.  Repeat around the jar.

  1. Clean mason jar rim and threads of jar to remove any food residue.  Center lid on jar.  Apply band and adjust until finger-tip tight.  Place filled jar back in canner or pot.  Repeat steps 4 and 5 until each jar has been filled & placed in the canner.  Lower rack with jars into water.  Make sure water covers jars by 1-2 inches.

  1. Place lid on water bath canner. Bring water to a full rolling boil.

  1. Process jars in the boiling water for the processing time indicated in preserving recipe, adjusting for altitude. Turn off heat, remove canner or pot lid and allow jars to stand in canner for 5 minutes once processing time is complete.  

  1. Remove jars and set upright on a towel. Leave jars undisturbed for 12 to 24 hours.

  1. Check lids for seals. Lids should not flex up and down. Remove bands. Try to lift lids off with fingertips. If the lid cannot be lifted off, it has a good seal. Clean mason jars and lids. Label and share then store in a cool, dry, dark place up to 1 year.

Happy canning!


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