Tuesday, August 18, 2015

A, B, C's of Water Bath Canning

I jumped right into pressure canning, so when it came to using a water bath canner I was a little more hesitant.
It is possible to water bath with a few extra essential items, it does pay to eventually get  water bath canner
First, let's start with the basics. You need a large pot, canning utensils and a canning rack of some sort to place on the bottom. The rack prevents the jars from bouncing around on the bottom of the pot and possibly breaking. 
If your purchase a water bath canner, pick one that has the rack included like in the picture above. But canning racks can be made at home or purchased. You may set canning jar rings in the bottom for a quick and easy rack which I did the first time I did a water bath. Or if you already have a pressure canner, you may use the rack from that set. 


Next you will need some canning utensils. Particularly helpful are the funnel, the bubble popper and jar lifter.
I recently wrote a post about the ins and outs of various brands of canning utensils: Review & Use of Canning Utensils, the post also includes my favorite recommendations and why.

Also you will want to have a good reliable canning book. By far the best is the "Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving". This contains the all important answers to how long do I water bath any certain item. 

Why a water bath canner? Actually the main reason I decided to purchase an actual water bath canner has to do with weight. The one most commonly recommended is made of Graniteware. Which is much lighter in weight that other pots I have used. They come in a variety of sizes.

Now, here are the tomatoes we water bathed this last weekend & directions.

A. PREPARE boiling water canner. Heat jars in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil. Wash lids in warm soapy water and set bands aside.

B. WASH tomatoes. Dip in boiling water 30 to 60 seconds. Immediately dip in cold water. Slip off skins. Trim away any green areas and cut out core. Leave tomatoes whole or cut into halves, quarters or dice.


C. ADD 2 Tbsp bottled lemon juice to each hot quart jar. This is now the preferred method to increase the acidity of tomatoes, since in more recent history a lot of tomatoes are being grown specifically with decreased acid levels. But, I won't argue with you if you choose not to add acid. 

D. PACK tomatoes into hot jars. You may add 1 teaspoon salt to each quart jar.
E. REMOVE air bubbles. Wipe rim. Center hot lid on jar. Apply band and adjust until fit is fingertip tight.

F. PROCESS filled jars in a boiling water canner 45 minutes for quarts, adjusting for altitude.

G. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed.


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Items we used or mentioned today:

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1 comment:

  1. I can do two or three jars in my tall soup pot, but I can't imagine trying to put up a good amount of food without a proper canner. :) Definitely necessary. Next time I replace mine I'm hoping to get a stainless steel one. Those black enamel ones don't last.