Wednesday, June 6, 2012

'Tis the Season for Canning - Processing

After the food has been packed into the jar (mainly after the cold pack method), it is processed (or cooked) to seal the jars. Remember if you have hot packed your food and the jars have sealed by themselves, you can skip this step.

There are a few types of processing, but my preferred method is the hot water bath. It's my favorite mainly because the other two types (pressure canning and steamer canning) require special pots which I don't have. Since I don't know much about the other two types, I'm only going to go int detail with the hot water bath.

Before starting any of the processing methods, make sure that after your jars are filled to wipe off the tops of the jars. Place the lid and ring onto the jars by pressing the lid down firmly and screwing the caps down firmly, then turning the cap back 1/4 inch.

Hot Water Bath

Use a large stockpot deep enough for water to cover the jars by about 1-2 inches.

Have the water boiling; lower the sealed jars slowly and carefully into the water. Be careful that the jars don't touch. *If the water boils down, add more water to ensure that the water is at least 1-2 inches above the jars.

Cover the stockpot and begin timing the processing time (click here to view timetable) once the water has once again started to boil.

At the end of the processing time, remove the jars carefully from the water using tongs and place on towels.

Now comes the part I love the best! After the jars are processed and are cooling on the towel, they will begin to seal. You will hear popping as each jar lid seals. It's so exciting to hear your hard work pay off! Check the seals after 12 hours to ensure that they are all sealed. You should not hear a metal popping sound and the top of the lid should be slightly dented. 

Jar rings should not be tightened until the lids have sealed and the jar is cool.  Technically, when storing your jars, you don't really need the ring.  However, I am always worried that I will accidentally pop off a lid when I pick a jar up so I usually live the rings on.

Sealing lids manually

Fill a small pot with water and place your jar upside down in the boiling water for a few minutes. Turn right side up and place on the towel. This should seal the jar.

If your jars do not seal (even after manually trying), place in the fridge and enjoy right away.

Information in part from the 1942 Women's Home  Companion Cook Book

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