How to Can Foods at Home

Parents' food editor demonstrates how canning and preserving foods at home can be safe, simple, and delicious.


Preserving foods at home is a simple, delicious way to enjoy seasonal produce all year long and save a little money at the grocery store. Now, let's talk about this: jamming, canning, preserving. It's basically all the same thing and it really truly isn't hard. Just make sure you follow tested recipes and you'll be all set. So, the first step in canning is to sterilize your jars. In the stock pot, I have a rack and I put the jars on the rack and fill the pot about two-thirds of the way full with water. We'll bring the water to a boil and leave the jars there for about 10 minutes, so they're nice and sterile and clean. While the jars are heating, I'm also sterilizing the rings and some new lids. So, after the jars are sterile, I'm gonna transfer them to this folded kitchen towel with my tongs. Today, I am making luscious strawberry jam and I'm going to ladle the jam into the jars through this funnel. Then, wipe the rim of the jar with a clean paper towel, put the lids on, and screw on the rings. The trick here is to screw them on just enough, but not too, too tight. I'm gonna add the jars back to the hot water and bring the water to a boil again. Check your recipe for processing time. When they're finished, remove the jars again and put them on your towel. When the jars are cool, you can test the seal by removing the ring and lifting the jar by the edges of the lid. If the lid stays attached, your seal is good and the food can be stored in your pantry for 6 to 12 months. So, don't be intimidated by preserving foods at home. Just follow this simple process and you'll be enjoying your favorite foods all year round.

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