Monday, August 30, 2010

Simple steps to start canning!

It is that wonderful time of the year, where you are trying to savor every last bit of the summer and fall produce that you can. This is also the time of the year that I bring out the canning supplies and get to work on saving those moments. It is my hope to also create great memories for my kids as I had as a child as well.

Plus the added benefit is pulling something off the shelve that you created! One of the fun things with canning is that you can change flavors up if you would like.

To get you started with canning here is a quick and easy recipe for canning pickles:

Ingredients Or you can get a Ball pickle mix which is really easy to use.

* 3 to 3-1/4 pounds small pickling cucumbers (I personally use whatever I have available)
* 4 cups water
* 4 cups white vinegar
* 1/2 cup sugar
* 1/3 cup pickling salt
* 6 tablespoons dillseeds

Step 1:
Collect your cucumbers and wash them:

Start by getting off the ends as the enzymes can affect your canning.

Then slice about 1/4 - 1/2 inch thick!

Step 2:
Get Your Boiling Water Canner Ready.

Wash your jars to prepare them for use.

Then place them in your boiling-water canner (some people like to use a different pot, however I figure this way the water is already heated). Turn up the heat to high and get the jar to just about boiling, this will sterilize the jars for use.

Step 3:
This is where you would like to get your supplies ready for starting the canning and get your recipe ready. Get your vinegar out (you can use white vinegar in this recipe or apple cider vinegar) Decide if you would like to use a mix or do your own. The pictures I took were well I was making bread and butter pickles and I choose to use a mix. If you use the recipe above you would combine water, vinegar, sugar and pickling salt. Bring to boiling.

With the mix I used you combined the ingredients and brought it to a boil and then placed your mixture over your cucumbers for 30 minutes or until room temperature. However for the recipe above, pack your cucumbers into pint or quart jars and then add the heated mixture directly into the jar leaving 1/2 inch headspace.

Step 4:
Packing and preparing your jars, here is a picture of the items you will need. You can get them all in a starting canning set.

When placing the liquid in the jar using the funnel helps reduce the mess, especially if you are canning tomatoes or applesauce.

Prepare your lids by putting them in hot, but not boiling water. Boiling water will affect the sealing material on the lid. (REMEMBER TO ONLY USE A LID ONCE)

Take a spatula along the inside of your jar to remove air bubbles.

Then wipe the outer rims of your jars. Any debris can hinder the lid from properly sealing.

Take your lid out of the hot water and place it evenly on your jar.

Place the outer ring on your jar, not to tight though. (The outer rings can be reused.)

Place jars in boiling water for 10 minutes for pickles. For other canning recipes check to see the timing. Tomatoes for instance take 40 minutes for a pint jar and 45 minutes for a quart jar.

Take the out and let them rest. Pickles need to rest for about 3-4 weeks to really get the full flavor. Also you will notice a white film on the outside of my jar, I forgot to add vinegar to the water. That will help reduce that.

I know this can look overwhelming, but it took me about 20 minutes of prep work for getting the pickles ready and about 20 minutes to finish it all up! The more you do it the easier it becomes. Good Luck and happy canning!


  1. My hubby and i were just talking about learning to can... i'm not a pickle person but this doesnt look like anythign i can't handle :)

  2. It is really easy! Much easier than I ever thought it would be when we started about 5 years ago! We now can salsa, tomatoes, corn, pickles, applesauce and soup! :) So much nicer to be able to pick out the food we canned!



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