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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Can CanCan: How to Can & Recipes (Part 2)

This is Part 2

Fill your canner with enough water to fully cover your jars by a few inches and bring to a boil. 

Keep your Jars HOT, HOT, HOT!
I sanitize my jars, lids, and rings in the dishwasher beforehand, then submerge them in the boiling water for at least 60 seconds. I keep the lids and rings in a heat proof colander so I can sit them atop the jars, and remove them to cool slightly. You want to always pack hot foods in hot jars, so leave the jar in the boiling water until you are ready to fill it. 

Always can freshly picked produce avoiding the overripe or bruised ones.
How to Can
Asparagus, Green Beans, Fresh Beans, Carrots, Corn, Greens, Okra, Peas,  & Peppers

 You MUST use a pressure cooker for these vegetables to prevent serious food-born illness. (If you do not have a pressure cooker please freeze these vegetables instructions on freezing in part 1.) These are instructions for raw packing your vegetables, which is the easiest way. The vegetables will cook/soften during processing, so I am not sure why people would choose to precook. The packing method is the same for all of these vegetables, but the processing time varies, so please see the different processing times below to insure a safe seal. 

BOIL 1 stock pot of water for packing. You may salt if you desire, just make sure to only use pickling or canning salt (see explanation in part 1.)
Wash and prepare your fresh vegetables as you would to cook them, removing stems, shells, roots, leaves.... Cut any vegetables you would like (ie. corn off the cob, green beans, greens)
Then in your hot jars pack the raw vegetables and cover with boiling water leaving 1 inch headspace. 
 Add your Lid and Ring (tighten, but don't overtighten) and Process. 
To process add the full jars back to the canners water, submerging completely. Attach the lid, and seal. You want to watch the pressure gauge on you caner to make sure if reaches the right pressure, reduce the heat to maintain constant pressure, then begin timing. Once the cans have processed, turn off the stove, and allow the canner to gradually reduce pressure until the water is no longer boiling. Then remove the lid and the jars to cool on a metal rack. Dropping the pressure too fast can lead to the jars appearing to have lost their juice and the vegetables to darken, but don't worry, this does not affect flavor, preservation, or safety. 
Process all at 11 lbs of pressure 
Asparagus: pints 30 minutes, quarts 40 minutes. 
Beans (Green, Wax, or Italian)- pints 20 minutes, quarts 25 minutes 
Beans (Lima): pints 40 minutes, quarts 50 minutes
Carrots: pints 25 minutes, quarts 30 minutes
Corn: pints 55 minutes, quarts 85 minutes
Greens: Pints 70 minutes, quarts 90 minutes
Okra: pints 25 minutes, quarts 40 minutes
Peas (green): pints & quarts 40 minutes
Peppers (hot or sweet)- pints 35 minutes. 

Tomatoes- Whole or Halved
Boil a stock pot of water for removing the tomato skins. 
To remove the skin: Cut and X in the skins of the tomatoes, and drop them into a stockpot of boiling water.

 In 60-129 seconds you will see the skin begin to peel off. Remove the tomatoes and immediately submerge in icy water. You should be bale to peel the skin off of the tomatoes easily now with your hands. 
(cut the naked tomatoes in half if you would like)
Add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice to quart jars, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to the pint jars. 
Force the tomatoes down into the jar so that they are tightly packed and their natural juices are filling in the spaces between each tomato. Leave 1 inch headspace.
Process at 11 lbs for 25 minutes for pints or quarts. 

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