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July 27, 2015

Canning: Food Storage Made Easy

Why Canning?

Canning has been a long tradition for families and has seen a resurgence in popularity alongside the growing admiration for mason jars. Food that has been canned can last for years, extending the life of your food and preventing waste, and now even more so than ever, there are great ways to add personal touches to your canned food making them great gifts for friends and family.

canned food in Mason Jars available at Louie's Ace HardwareMethods of Canning

There are two methods of canning, each corresponding to the type of food you are looking to can.  It is important that you choose the correct method for what you want to can. This can be crucial in ensuring your food isn’t susceptible to bacteria.

Water Bath Canning: This method is used for foods and vegetables with acidic content. This is what you use for jams and jellies as well as for pickles. The process of water bath canning is fairly easy, and is a great starting point for beginner canners.
Pressure Canning: Using the pressure canning method is for foods with low acidic content including vegetables, meats and poultry, and seafood. This particular method requires a lot of attention because if the process is done incorrectly, this food can spoil very easily.

Protect your Canned Goods

While there are two different methods depending on what you’re planning to can, there are things to keep in mind with both methods that are important to making sure your food is properly canned, thus making sure your food is optimally protected.

  • Make sure the jars you’re using are free of cracks and that the lids and bands are a snug fit to the jar. If you notice any discrepancies in the seal or jar, don’t use it as it may have a leak that will leave your food susceptible to bacteria.
  • Be sure to wash each jar, lid, and seal thoroughly with soap and hot water before adding your ingredients.
    • Keep your jars warm at all times prior to adding ingredients. This helps prevent the jars from breaking when adding hot contents later on.
    • Fill a pot half way with water and bring it to a simmer. The water should be hot, but not boiling. To keep jars from floating, add water inside them.
    • An alternative to this method is running the jars, without lids, through the dishwasher. Keep the dishwasher closed until you need the jars.

For both methods, be sure to select your favorite recipe and follow those instructions carefully. It is important to reduce the entry points for bacteria before the food is placed within the jars. When done correctly, food is edible for one to five years depending on what you’ve canned.

Personal Touch filled Ace hardware canning jars

With the Mason jar trend at a peak, there are more options than ever to add a personal touch to your canned foods. Lots of DIY elements including chalkboard paint on the lids or die-cut labels are great ways to add a personal touch, especially when gifting things such as jams to friends and family.

One thing we have here at our ACE Hardware store is that we love the purple heritage jars; they resemble desert glass and are special edition, which means as soon as they sell out, they’re gone. Visit Louie’s ACE today to see all of our food canning supplies!