You might ask why you would spend a weekend preserving food, it seems so time consuming and difficult. Well, the perks are unbeatable: Save money, eat healthier, impress your guests when entertaining while being less stressed to do so because you have pre-made gourmet items at hand, have great gifts to give, create memories and extend traditions to your children and grandchildren, shorten your preparation time for holiday meals and what’s best is that you made it yourself.
This article will give you an overall understanding of both methods; pressure cooker canning and water-bath canning.
For people with memories of Grandma’s pantry it is heartwarming seeing rows of homemade piccalilli, tomato sauce, soups and spreads in your cupboard.
It brings me back to simpler days awakening to smell of fresh bread rising on the back of my grandmother’s cast iron stove. The sweet smell wafting through the halls, calling you out of your warm bed. Babcia, my Polish grandmother, had wooden barrels filled with garlic pickles. The days when everything was made from scratch.
Being an avid gardener, we expanded our edibles this year, and fruit trees and bushes we planted three years ago produced fruit and I wanted to make sure nothing wasted before I could use it. I also love opening up my cabinets and homemade time consuming meals are made easier because of canning.
In my youth, I participated in some of these preservation methods and love making traditions with my children so that they have the same special memories. Don’t be afraid-you can do it too!
Home canning is really just two categories; water-bath and pressure. The two follow the same kind of rules for preparation, but the tools required for pressure are not normal items you already have in your kitchen.
Water-bath canning & Pressure cooker canning
Water bath canning is the easiest and you already have the items in a normal kitchen, so, there is no special equipment to buy; A large stockpot, or lobster pot, a metal rack like used in cooling cookies and the canning jars.
Pressure-cooker canning requires an actual “pressure-cooker canner”.
This method can be used on all canning materials, but, not the reverse. This ensures that all heat sensitive bacterial and other problematic organism that can live through boiling temperatures are eradicated.
Water-bath is only safe for high acid foods like tomatoes, pickles and the like as that chemistry preserves the food without the extra step of Pressurization.
Safety: follow the recipe exactly for ingredients, jar size, sealing and cooking times. Always wash and sterilize your utensils and the jars immediately before using. It is even best that they are still warm in most cases.
See my other recipes and articles for other preservation methods