Anyone who has had a garden knows that you always have a lot of one item when it’s harvest time.

andrew_bWhen the tomatoes start to ripen it’s either pick them or lose them.

It is nearly impossible to eat all the green beans you harvested in one week so what do you do with the extras after you have eaten your fill?

Canning is a great way to preserve your summer harvest, but it can be tricky.

  • Make sure that you follow a few simple rules to ensure your safety and retain the integrity of your food.
  • Choose your canning method based on the food you want to preserve and always follow these two guidelines:
    • If you are using a food that is high in acid like tomatoes, cucumbers, green beans, or fruits, you can use the water bath method as the acid levels will aid in the process.
    • If you are canning prepared food with a low acid level like soups, stews, or meat you need to use a pressure canner that will get the temperature up to 240 F.

To can, sterilization and attention is a non-negotiable.  Many foodborne illnesses come from improperly sanitized canning materials.

  • Make sure to wash the jars and lids inside and out with hot soapy water.
  • You will need to sterilize the jars by submerging them in simmering water for 30 seconds before filling.
  • After filling your sanitized jars with your veggies (leaving ½ inch from top) add the hot liquid and fix the lid on just finger tight and immediately transfer to the water bath or pressure canner and start the canning process (about 10 to 15 minutes).
  • After cooling at room temperature for 24 hours check and make sure that the top of the lid has sunken in and the top does not pop up and down.

canned-greenbeansI like to peel items like apples, tomatoes, or peaches before I can them.

A simple way to peel tomatoes or peaches before canning is to score the skin and blanch in boiling water for about 30 seconds and shock in an ice bath. Now you can easily remove the skin with your fingers by simply pulling away from the tomato or peach.

You can find many recipes for canning online. Pick one that uses ingredients you like, adding a cinnamon stick the peaches or basil to the tomato.

When I pickle hot peppers I like to split down the center so the natural flavor from the seeds get exposed to the pickling liquid.

canned-salsaHere a link to great database of canning recipes.

We hope you enjoy the flavors of this summer’s bounty for months to come!