Canning Made Easy

Home canning is making a comeback, and for good reason. When you turn seasonal fruits and veggies into jams, pickles, and relishes, you're preserving the produce at the height of its freshness -- and its nutritional peak. Best of all, even on the bleakest winter days you'll be able to eat sweet peaches and deep-red tomatoes, treats sure to tempt even the choosiest kids.

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Six Steps to Canning Success

Jennifer Causey

Six Steps to Canning Success

Step 1: Fit a stockpot with a canning rack and fill the pot 2/3 full with water. Submerge clean jars in the pot and bring to a boil for 10 minutes (longer at high altitude). Keep jars in hot water until ready to fill. While jars heat, place new lids in a medium bowl. Cover with simmering water and let sit. Jars and rings are reusable, but you must use new lids each time.

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Jennifer Causey

Step 2: With canning tongs, remove jars from water and place them on a clean kitchen towel. Reserve water in pot.

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Jennifer Causey

Step 3: Fill jars using a wide-mouth funnel.

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Jennifer Causey

Step 4: Before applying the lid, wipe the rim of the jar with a dampened clean cloth or paper towel. Apply rings snugly, but don't force them. Air needs to escape during processing.

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Jennifer Causey

Step 5: Carefully lower the filled jars back into the pot of hot water. Jars must remain upright and be covered by at least 1 inch of water. Return water to a boil and process as specified in the recipe. Remove jars and let them cool.

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Jennifer Causey

Step 6: At least 12 hours later, test the seal on each jar by removing the ring, grasping the edge of the lid, and gently lifting the jar. If the lid stays firmly attached, the seal is good. Sealed jars will keep in your pantry for up to a year. Unsealed jars should be refrigerated and used within three days.

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Sweet Corn and Tomato Relish

Jennifer Causey

Sweet Corn and Tomato Relish

Delicious on burgers (either meat or veggie varieties) and hot dogs, and perfect for scooping with tortilla chips.

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Dilly Beans

Jennifer Causey

Dilly Beans

These pickled green beans are great for snack time or can be chopped and tossed in tuna or chicken salad.

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Peach Jam With Cinnamon

Jennifer Causey

Peach Jam With Cinnamon

Peach season is fleeting, but this jam keeps all year long -- and kids will love to help mash the cooked fruit.

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Sweet Cherry Butter

Jennifer Causey

Sweet Cherry Butter

This spread is delicious slathered on peanut-butter toast or stirred into plain yogurt. Bonus: It contains far less sugar than commercial jams and jellies.

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Plum-Tomato Halves Packed in Tomato Juice

Jennifer Causey

Plum-Tomato Halves Packed in Tomato Juice

Flavor-filled tomatoes are a pantry staple. Hugely flexible, they can be used in soups, stews, pasta sauces, and casseroles.

Originally published in the August 2013 issue of Parents magazine.

Safety Note: Improperly preserved food carries a risk of botulism, so be sure to follow recipe steps carefully.

All content on this Web site, including medical opinion and any other health-related information, is for informational purposes only and should not be considered to be a specific diagnosis or treatment plan for any individual situation. Use of this site and the information contained herein does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.

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