Have you been wondering which methods of preserving and canning food works best with which foods? As we venture more into self sufficiency I have been educating myself and family on the different ways to can by type of food. I definitely don’t want to put the time and effort in and it only result in spoilage and unsafe foods. It would be a waste of time and money.
Here is a just a sampling of canning methods for various foods.
Now, if your like me you are probably thinking, well they didn’t use pressure canners back in the day, so why should we? Well, there has been a lot learned about microbes and food spoilage since the old days. One of the things that has been learned is that you need a really high temperature for a certain amount of time to kill bacteria, especially if those foods are low-acid. High-acid foods are less likely to breed bacteria, so not quite as high a temperature is needed to prevent bacteria from growing.
Foods that should be canned using a pressure canner include:
- Green beans
- Beans (such as pinto or kidney)
These are just some of the low-acid foods for which you’ll need a pressure canner.
Hot Water Bath
Some foods do fine in a hot water bath, which is placing the filled jars in a deep kettle, pouring in water, and simmering it for 10 minutes or so (canning recipes give exact times). This works okay for high-acid foods, such as the following:
- Citrus fruits
- Cucumber pickles (the vinegar in the recipe makes the food very acidic)
This is one of the fastest ways to preserve foods in freezer-safe jars. You can put the whole food into the jar, pour sugar syrup, broth or water around it, and freeze. You can also puree the food, cook it down into a sauce or jam, and freeze it that way. Make sure you leave a good inch and a quarter of air space between the food and the top of the jar to allow for expansion. Here are some foods that work well with the freezer canning method:
- Citrus fruits
- Homemade salsa
Vinegars and Oils
While it isn’t canning in the strictest sense, vinegars and oils are a great way to preserve herbs and spices. You pour oil or vinegar around lightly packed foods such as these:
Herbs such as basil, sage, mint, lemon balm and rosemary (vinegar)
Garlic (oil or vinegar)
Surplus apples, pears, and tomatoes can be made into sauces like salsa, spaghetti sauce, straight tomato sauce, and apple/pear sauce. Follow your favorite recipe for making the sauce of your choice, then freeze, pressure can, or place in a hot water bath.
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