Pressure canning is one of the best methods of preserving food.
Nicolas Appert, a Frenchman in 1809 was one of the first to develop this technique of canning.
They currently say, 20 percent of the families do some home canning, and the percentage is growing steadily in these tough economic days.
Why do we can? To prevent decay and spoilage are which is caused either by enzymes in the food or by bacteria.
Food must be heated to a high temperature during the canning process in order to stop the battle of the enzymes and to exterminate all decay organisms. Food is then stored in airtight, sterile jars to stop contamination.
Different Processing Temperatures are Required for Different Foods:
If it is a low acid vegetable, includes everything but tomatoes, they can contain heat resistant bacteria and they must be heated to at least 240 degrees.
This can only be accomplished by pressure canning using the best pressure cooker which will last you a lifetime.
If it is a high acid foods, including most fruits and tomatoes. They can be processed at 212 degrees, the temperature of boiling water.
The only spoilage microorganisms present in them will be destroyed at this lower temperature. You can process pickled vegetables in a boiling water bath also.
Jars Are Best
I use glass jars rather then can when Pressure canning. In general, glass jars are much easier to use. You can use them year after year and allow you to see what‘s in them. The most common type of jar used is the screw top or a screw band with sealing lid. I use mason jars with the screw band and a sealing lid.
Always examine your jars carefully for any chips or uneven surfaces as your lid will not seal if the are any chipped rims on your jars.
Make sure you wash your jars, lids and bands in hot, soapy water. Rinse them well and dry your bands. Put all your lids and jars in a large pan and keep them hot, about 180 degree Fahrenheit. Leave them in the hot water until you are ready to use them.
The Basic's of Canning
You must prepare your vegetables and fruits before they are packed into jars for heat processing.
Wash all your produce, and cut your vegetables into pieces. Berries can be left whole, but larger fruits, such as pears, peaches, and apples, should be pitted, and then sliced.
Dip your Fruits in ascorbic acid(vitamin C) to preserve their color. It works great! Then packed your fruits in sugar syrup to preserve their flavor.
You can use two methods in packing your fruit into jars.
To hot pack fruits and vegetables, first, steam them, or heat them to boiling. Then, right away pack them into the jars.
I always cook my Tomatoes and some fruits in their own juices.
For raw packing, pack clean produce tightly into jars and pour on boiling water, juice, or syrup.
The exact amount of space to leave at the top of the jar above the packed fruits or vegetable is usually 1 inch to a half inch.
Wipe the rim of the jar off and sealing ring to make sure there are no particles of food, then close the jar and proceed with the canning process. Remember, boiling water bath for fruits and high acid vegetables. Low acid vegetables require pressure canning.
After canning, place your jars on a rack and allow them to cool. You should hear a pop when the jar is sealed. Store you canned goods in a dark place, because light will cause discoloration and nutrient loss.
Be sure to date and label all jars and use your oldest product first.