Hot Water Bath Canning Part 2
We recently learned some tips and tricks to help you with your hot water bath canning. You now know about food types, food quality, and altitude adjustments. Now it is time to prepare your gear and equipment so that you are ready to can. Here are some of the things you'll need to start canning.
Recipe and Ingredients
First off, you need an approved recipe. You may be asking, what do you mean by approved recipe? Well, some recipes are suitable for canning while others aren't. You can find lots of canning-approved recipes from Ball and the USDA. Follow these recipes so that your food has enough acid or salt to prevent spoilage.
Next, you need the food. Making applesauce is tough without apples, and canning tomatoes doesn't work without, well, the tomatoes. I've lost count of the number of times I've had to run to the grocery store mid-canning session to get more sugar, pectin, or lemon juice. Make sure you have all of the ingredients to make your recipe. We also talked last time about why you should use good produce. Remember: high-quality canned goods come from high-quality ingredients. You're not going to get good results with poor quality produce.
Jars and Lids for Hot Water Bath Canning
If you are pressure canning (which we aren't), you need to use Mason jars . For hot water bath canning, you can use high quality glass jars. Examine your jars for nicks or cracks. Feel the rims to make sure they are even. Any imperfections may prevent your jars from sealing, or could cause them to break. Check out these glass jars from Container & Packaging Supply.
You also need matching lids. You can either use a two-part lid (ring plus flat lid) or a lug/twist Plastisol lid. These lids have PVC or rubber lining that, when heated in the water bath, will mold to the edge of the jars, creating a seal. Check out the Plastisol Saga for more information about which lids are right for your needs.
Other Gear for Hot Water Bath Canning
In addition to a recipe, ingredients, and containers, there are a few more things you'll need in order to start canning. You need a big canning pot. This pot should be deep enough for a bunch of your jars to fit in with a couple of inches of water over the top. Inside of your pot, you need a rack of some sort. This rack will keep your jars from touching the bottom of the canning pot, thus helping prevent broken jars. You also need a jar lifter, because it's pretty tricky to get the jars out of a pot of boiling water with your bare hands. A couple of other useful things are a jar funnel and a nonmetallic spatula. And if you have a glass-top stove, you should probably find a different stove for processing your jars. These flat stoves aren't recommended for hot water bath canning. You can use a propane or butane single-burner stove instead.
Now that you've assembled all of the gear, it is time to get down to the business of canning! Check back for the next installment, where we will finally walk through the steps for hot water bath canning.