Canning 101

Natascha Warden, Resident Chef at Sur La Table Kierland in Scottsdale, gives the skinny on a DIY trend that is on the rise: canning.
1. What are advantages to canning yourself?
When you do your own canning you can control the ingredients that you add to the food. For example, if you use organic products. Also, you ensure there are no additives. Canning is a lot of work but is fun and rewarding. Not only do you get enjoy what you make but it’s a great gift you can share with friends and family!
2. What foods are ideal for canning?
Fruits and veggies. During the summer, you can preserve items that are in season which are easier to obtain and cost effective. Or you can simply use what you might have in your own garden.
3. What equipment does a beginning canner need?
-Canning jars (I recommend the glass jars with lids that have the seals built in) this makes it easier to listen for the “pop” indicating that it’s properly sealed. I prefer the Bormioli Rocco Jars made in Italy, available in various sizes (pictured).
-Canning tongs are safe and easy way to get your jars in and out of the hot water. Try the PL8 Jar Lifter.
-A cooling rack (glazing rack) is a great place to set your canned items to leave them undisturbed and let them cool for a minimum of 24 hours.
-A funnel is essential for filling. Try the Progressive PL8 Canning Funnel.
-If you are using a large heavy-bottomed stock pot, make sure to have a jar rack on the bottom. This holds the jars in place and allows water to circulate freely in your pot. I use the Progressive PL8 Canning Rack.
4. Provide a brief rundown of how to can.
1. Sterilize all your jars and lids. This can be done by simply submerging them in boiling water for about 10 minutes.
2. Prepare your filling – jams, sauce or maybe you’ve tried your hand at pickling. No matter what you are canning, make sure the filling is freshly prepared and hot before canning.
3. Fill your hot sterilized jars. (*It’s important that your jars and food are hot when you are filling them.) Leave about a ¼” head space between the product and the top of the jar. Gently tap the jars on the table or use a toothpick around the inside of the jar to remove any excess air. Firmly secure the lid.
4. Using your canning tongs carefully place the sealed jars into the boiling water to process them. This will take a about 10-12 minutes.
5. Remove jars carefully not to tip or tilt the jars and place on the cooling rack. Wait for the “pop” this indicates the lid has sealed and you have successful canned your product. Do not move or disturb your jars. If the seal hasn’t “popped” or isn’t tight (the top of the lid moves up and down) within 30 minutes after removing, you can reprocess it by putting it back into the boiling water. If they do not seal, the lid may be defective and you will want to refrigerate you product. Properly canned foods can be stored in a cool dry place for up to one year or in your refrigerator for up to three weeks.
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