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bean3 03-06-2008 10:57 PM

Canning questions...
I am going to experiment with canning this year. Any tips?

I am getting a bunch (probably 7 dozen!) jars from Craigslist. I know the fruit isn't going to be ready to pick for another year or two (just planted last year), but we will be planting a large garden as well this year, so we will have things to can.

I want to be sure to can tomatoes. Any other good staples to plant and can? Any advice is appreciated.

DDC 03-06-2008 11:04 PM

Re: Canning questions...
I've made jelly and jam, salsa, tomatoes, pickles, applebutter. It's alot of fun! Also alot of work! Try to recruit some help would be my suggestion! It's alot to do all by yourself. Also, get a couple of really big pots. You need to have atleast one to hold the sterilized jars, one to cook whatever it is you are making, and your hot-water canner or pressure canner. They tell you to only hot-water bath things like jelly, jam, tomatoes, etc. Things that have high acidity. You want to pressure can your veggies to prevent botulism. I've only ever used a water bath canner, though. HTH! Good luck!

bean3 03-06-2008 11:27 PM

Re: Canning questions...
I have a friend who would probably love to work on this with me. I can probalby talk her into it! I don't have any pots, so I'll have to get them. I'm hoping to read up on everything and have a better idea before the time comes.

We have an AWESOME dry storage room in the basement, so I definitel have plenty of room to store the canned goods. This is the first time I've had this much room! My biggest "issue" would be the baby being about 1, but I only want to do a little canning this year to work out my kinks.

lancelotacres 03-07-2008 07:33 AM

Re: Canning questions...
Do you have a flea market near you? We have found almost all of our canning supplies at the local flea market. All have been brand new and still in the box they came in (though several years old).

I suggest getting the Ball Blue Book for canning. It has all the current suggestions on how to can your fruit and veggies. It also has pictures and tips which I have found helpful.

We also have a canning kit that I picked up at Meijer. It has a jar lifter, plastic spatula, magent lid lifter (to lift lids out of hot water)...these things are all good to have on hand.

Good luck, we love canning around here :)

Joyful Baby 03-07-2008 10:19 AM

Re: Canning questions...
I agree - definately get the BALL BLUE BOOK. Mine has been used so much it is practicaly falling apart. Since you are a newbie...I would advise staying with recipes that you can process using a water bath for your first year. These can include:

dilled green beans (vinegared ones)

probably more, just can't think of more right now....

You need to get/buy:

water bath canner. I would suggest getting one that can hold a full 7 quart jars just to make the processing go faster...

jar lifter

lid lifter (magnet)

canning funnel

decent plastic ladle

A couple large "dutch oven" type stovetop pans

I hope that helps. I've canned every year for probably 8 or so years now and I love it - but it is A LOT of work!!!

bean3 03-07-2008 10:25 AM

Re: Canning questions...
I have a Meijer right around the corner...I'll check there.

We are definitely getting 7 dozen jars from Craigslist. I don't have anything else though. I need recipes, so I'll get the Ball book (just saw that online yesterday).

Thanks for the suggestions!

living_organic 03-08-2008 06:00 PM

Re: Canning questions...
If you are going to make homemade jam...don't plan on giving it away as gifts (like for Christmas) unless you refuse to try it...I made two batches of strawberry jam and planned on giving them at Christmas, but it was so darn good that we ate it all up...:blush:

I think you should look first at what you buy the most of for your meals...if it's green beans, corn, new potatos etc. then make sure you have the equipment for those things (like a cherry pitter for cherries, or the thing that cuts corn off the cob) mom planted dill one year to use in her canned pickles because it was expinsive to buy dryed don't need much dill in the garden for canning... :mrgreen:
And if you do pickles your kitchen will stink!:giggle:
Good Luck! You will love canning!!!

bean3 03-08-2008 11:47 PM

Re: Canning questions...
Thank you all! We are just experimenting this year. This year will be basically veggies and apples (we have a nice orchard around here to buy lots of them). In a year or two, we will be doing lots of fruits and jams. I have a feeling we will do lots of tomato-based things. I want to experiment. I love the idea of having less junk in our foods!!!

3rdontheway 03-11-2008 12:01 PM

Re: Canning questions...
We are also doing a lot of canning this year. My kids love green beans so I will be planting a ton of these. The one thing I recommend is to make sure you have a lot of plants so you have enough ready at the same time. I am planning on doing atleast 2 dozen tomatoes for salsa, diced tomatoes and maybe some sauce. I also just purchased a great book called Preserving the Harvest. I hope this will help. It has a lot of great recipes in it not just for canning but drying and freezing too.

mhaddon 03-11-2008 12:04 PM

Re: Canning questions...
My best tip is to make sure that you wipe off the top of the jar before putting the lid on. Even a small grain of salt can keep it from selling right. I'd buy a ball book they aren't that expensive and have a bunch of great recipes to start with. We have altered all ours and have a canning room that is filled by the end of the year. Makes times like now when we're broke great to have these foods ;)

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