Canning has been around for centuries. In 1809 the French Government offered a large cash prize to anyone who could create a successful way to preserve food in large quantities. Botulism had become a growing concern. This disease is caused by lack of preservation or preparation of food. A French inventor came up with the method of home canning. This is one of the best ways then as well as now to preserve food for long periods of time. So get ready to prep your homestead.
First you will need to have some supplies. You can choose to buy a canning kit, which includes everything you would need. Otherwise here are the essential tools you need.
- large pot(dutch oven, stockpot)
- small sauce pan
- measuring cups
- jars with lids
- wide mouthed funnel
- rack that will fit in bottom of pan.
Then pick your recipes. Acquire your fresh ingredients from your garden. If you have not yet planted one I would highly recommend it. Home canning and gardening will be very important to your homestead should a survival situation present its self.
Here are the basic steps to start you off in the right direction. Take the lids and rings off the jars. Place rack in pan. Put jars in large pot, fill both with water cover with pan lid and bring to a boil. While you wait put lids in the small pan fill with water and bring to a slight simmer. This will soften the seal component on the lid. Now would be the time get your ingredients ready. Go by your recipe. When appropriate remove jars and pour water from them back into large pot. Then you will fill them with your ingredients using the funnel. Be sure to leave at least 1/4-1/2 of an inch of space at top. Don’t forget to clean the rim of the jars completely with a damp paper towel then again with a dry one. If these are not 100% clean it could effect the sealing process. Screw the lids and rings on tightly. Carefully lower jars back into large pan and return to a boil. You will want to start your timer at this point according to your recipe. When times up remove jars quickly and let cool on a clean towel. As they reach room temperature you should hear the lids ping. This is the sound of the vacuum seal being formed. So there you have it, not as hard as you thought was, was it? You will want to check the seals by removing the rings and gently grabbing an edge of the lid and lift it only about an inch off the counter. The lid should stay tight. If there are some that do budge a bit be sure to put these in the refrigerator and eat them first. Wash all jars. As for the successful batch store in a cool and dark place. These can usually be stored for up to a year or more. Some recipes for items like rice, wheat and corn can last for more than 30 years! So decide which items will suit your needs best.
Those are the bare bones basics to home canning. If you do pick up a kit they should come with more detailed instructions and hopefully some recipes to start you off. I encourage you to research this as much as possible to help you find your groove. So when your in a pickle…do some pickling!