Home canning has been passed on from my grandmothers to my mother, to me and hopefully, in the future to our girls. There’s just something special about being able to replicate flavors from the seed to the table. With that in mind, it’s a great time to get your equipment in working condition so that when your produce is ready, you are too! Here’s a quick list to get you started:
*Take inventory of how much food you have left from last year so that you can plan accordingly for this year. Remember the guideline is to use the home canned food within 12 months for best quality. How much will you eat through the year? Make sure that your family “likes” the efforts of preservation- if they are used to canned applesauce, freezing it will taste differently. Frozen green beans are different than canned ones. Start with small quantities to make sure they meet your expectations.
*Check you’re canning jars to see how many you have, what you may need and inspect for nicks or cracks around the top. Remember only Mason type canning jars are acceptable for home canning products, as they are constructed with tempered glass which is made to withstand the change in temperature.
*Canning lids can be purchased ahead of time, but check the expiration date for best results. The guideline is to only purchase the quantity of lids you will use in one year. Older lids may have a soft compound and result in a faulty seal. Be sure and read preparation directions too, they have changed.
*Make sure your ring bands are in good condition, not rusty or bent. These can be used for several years, provided they are in good condition.
*Avoid closures such as zinc caps and glass lids that require a jar rubber. These do not provide a proper method to determine if the food is safe.
*Look for the latest research/reliable information to update your skills. The National Center for Home Food Preservation is a reliable site to look at videos, get new recipes and verify your knowledge for the coming year. Do not use recipes or instructions published prior to 2006 as they may not have accurate information for processing your food safely, many recipes were reformulated to reflect recent research.
*Most importantly, have your pressure canner checked to make sure that the gauge is calibrated correctly. Contact your local Extension office for locations near you to have the inspection done. Don’t wait until you have a problem and risk wasting your food to have your canner checked. If you have a weighted gauge, it is not essential to have it calibrated as the weight will never change, but it can be inspected if you are having problems building pressure. For free canner checks:
*Tonight- July 14th at the Wayne Co Fairgrounds from 5-7 pm, by appointment, please call the office at 330-264-8722, or go to https://go.osu.edu/cannertesting to register.
*Lehman’s on Wed August 26 in Mt. Hope or Thursday, August 27 in Kidron from 9-3. Please call the office or Lehman’s to make an appointment, as this year all checks will be done by appointment.
*If you have a new canner, or need a refresher to practice the canning methods, place at least four inches of water in the canner and do a test run to determine the proper temperature setting to use on your range and how quickly the pressure rises in the canner.
*If you want additional information or recipes, check out OHIOLINE. It’s Ohio State University’s library of fact sheets. Under the food tab, there are many food preservation recipes and step by step directions for your use.
Making sure you are ready when the garden is, is a timesaving strategy that you will be glad you did. Please call the office if you have questions or to make your appointment to have your canner checked. Check out our website wayne.osu.edu for more information or National Center for Home Food Preservation, http://nchfp.uga.edu/