Under Pressure: Canning Part 2

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Okay, you have collected all of your items on the canning checklist and you have a bushel of vegetables washed and prepped. Many vegetables require pressure canning in order to be stored safely. These foods are low in acid and have to be processed at higher temperatures in order to kill any harmful bacteria such as botulism. These vegetables include green beans, squash, potatoes, corn, etc.

First thing you need to do is sterilize your jars. Running them thru the dishwasher is the quickest way.

While those are washing, put a tea kettle or a large pot of water on to boil, and place your lids and rings in a pot of simmering water on the stove. Fill your pressure canner about half way with water, put in the rack and set over high heat.

When your jars are done, tightly pack your veggies into the sterilized jars, leaving about a 1/2″ from the top of the jar for headspace ( usually just to the bottom of the rim of the jar). Fill each jar with hot water from the kettle leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Wipe the rim of each jar to make sure they are clean so they will seal properly.

Using tongs or a magnetic lid grabber, place a lid on top of each jar then screw a ring on top of each jar, snugging each one down.

Next, use your jar grabber and gently place your jars in the pressure canner. My canner will hold 6-7 quarts or 8 pints at a time. Make sure that water covers the jars completely. Put on the lid and lock it in place.

Refer to your canning guide for the amount of time and how many pounds of pressure you need for that particular vegetable. ( for example, green beans are 20 min. for pints and 25 min. for quarts at 10 lbs. pressure)

When you have a steady stream of steam coming out of your vent pipe ( usually takes 5-10 minutes) place your valve lock or your weight on the valve to start building pressure ( refer to your canner’s manual for specifics) Wait for the pressure to rise to the amount you need and start timing. Regulate your pressure with the heat from your stove.

When time is up, cut of the heat and let set until steam is no longer coming out and pressure has returned to zero. ( if you are in a hurry, you can release pressure quicker by gently tilting the valve lock or weight to release steam. Do not remove the valve completely or release pressure too quickly or you will crack your jars. This is NOT an approved practice, it’s just something my Mom has learned over many years of canning)

Designate a place for your jars to reset by placing a bath towel on a table or counter ( you don’t want jars to come in contact with a cold surface). When pressure has come to zero and you have let the canner sit for an extra 5 minutes ( just in case) you can unlock and remove the lid ( be careful it is HOT!).
Use your jar grabber and transfer your jars to their resting place and then cover with another towel. Pretty soon you will hear the lids of your jars popping. That means they are sealed! Any that haven’t sealed should be put in the fridge and used soon or reprocessed.

There you go! You have put up your first vegetables. Congratulations!

jodiemo

Jodie is a wife, mom, writer and lover of chickens and gardens. She runs her family's winery by day and cooks and writes by night.

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