Canning Your Garden's Bounty
Many people are growing gardens and asking questions about preserving extra produce. Canning is a wonderful way to preserve food and make it shelf stable. Home canning can give you a great sense of pride and accomplishment. It also adds delicious flavors and good nutrition to your family meals. Family members work together in the activity.
You do want to take great care to use the proper equipment and follow procedures carefully to insure the safety of your home canned foods.
∙ Many microorganisms live very well in canned foods.
∙ They may not smell, taste or physically change the foods but they are deadly.
∙ Home canning foods is not the place to take shortcuts.
For more detailed directions, contact any office of the Mississippi State University Extension Service for a FREE copy of our "Home Canning Tabloid."
Steam Pressure Canners - For common vegetables except tomatoes, use a steam pressure canner. Before you use a steam pressure canner, be sure to check out all parts for safe operation during canning.
Directions for Canning Green Beans
Pick young, tender beans; 1 1⁄2 to 2 lbs make 1 quart. A bushel (30 pounds) yields 15 to 20 quarts.
Raw Pack: Wash beans. Snap ends. Cut or break into 1-inch pieces. Pack raw beans tightly to within 1 inch of top. Add 1⁄2 teaspoon salt to pints and 1 teaspoon to quarts (if desired for flavor). Cover with boiling water, leaving 1⁄2 inch head space at top of jar. Wipe jar rims clean. Adjust jar lids. Process in dial gauge pressure canner at 11 pounds pressure or in a weighted gauge pressure canner at 10 pounds pressure.
Pint jars - 20 minutes / Quart jars - 25 minutes
Hot Pack: Wash beans. Snap ends. Cut or break into 1 inch pieces. Cover with boiling water. Boil 5 minutes. Pack hot beans loosely to within 1 inch of top. Add 1⁄2 teaspoon salt to pints and 1 teaspoon to quarts. Cover with boiling-hot cooking liquid, leaving 1 inch space at top of jars. Wipe jar rims clean. Adjust jar lids. Process in dial gauge pressure canner at 11 pounds pressure or in a weighted gauge pressure canner at 10 pounds pressure.
Pint jars - 20 minutes / Quart jars - 25 minutes
Water Bath Canners - You can buy water bath canners for canning fruits and other high-acid content foods. However, you can use any big metal container as long as it is deep enough for the water to be 2 - 4 inches over the tops of jars and still boil freely.
The canner must have a tight-fitting cover and a wire or wooden rack. If the rack has dividers, the jars will not touch each other or fall against the sides of the canner during processing.
Be sure that all glass canning jars and closures are in perfect condition. Discard any with cracks, chips, dents, or rust; defects prevent airtight seals. Wash the glass jars, lids, and bands in hot, soapy water and rinse well. Metal lids with sealing compound on them may need boiling or holding in boiling water for a few minutes.
Directions for Canning Peaches
Choose ripe, mature fruit of ideal quality for eating fresh or cooking. For best quality, allow peaches to ripen for at least 1 day after harvest.
Peaches can be packed in very light, light or medium syrup. They can also be packed in water, apple juice or white grape juice. Prepare the liquid and keep it hot.
Dip fruit in boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds until skins loosen. Dip quickly in cold water and slip off skins. Cut in half, remove pits and slice if desired. To keep fruit from darkening, place in a holding solution made from a commercial ascorbic acid mixture such as Fruit Fresh. Read the label on the container for the amount to use. Hold the fruit in one of this solution until you're ready to pack the fruit. Then drain the fruit well.
Hot Pack: Remove peaches from anti-darkening solution and drain well. In a large saucepan heat drained fruit in syrup, water or juice. Bring to a boil. Pack hot fruit into hot jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace. When packing halves, place them cut side down. Fill jars to 1/2 inch from top with hot liquid. Remove air bubbles. Wipe jar rims. Adjust lids. Process in a Boiling Water Bath.
Pint jars - 20 minutes / Quarts - 25 minutes
Raw Pack: Remove peaches from anti-darkening solution and drain well. Pack raw fruit into hot jar, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. When packing halves, place them cut side down. Fill jars with hot liquid to 1/2 inch from the top. Remove air bubbles. Wipe jar rims. Adjust lids. Process in a Boiling Water Bath.
Pint jars - 25 minutes / Quarts - 30 minutes
The golden rule of home canning is, "The quality of the foods preserved will only be as good as the quality of the foods when they were fresh". You should use only fresh, firm fruits and young, tender vegetables for preserving. Follow USDA approved canning methods ONLY.
For More Information Contact:
Nancy A. Freeman
County Extension Director
Harrison County Extension Service
(228) 865-4227 5/28/08