Butterfly Fund

Monday, December 16, 2013

Yes you can, CAN your own foods!!!

Yes you can, CAN your own foods!

Canning your own food is VERY easy! Nowhere near as scary as you THINK it might be!

There are 4 types of canning with mason jars.

1. Pressure canning - For low acid foods, such as most vegetable, beans, and meats.
2. Water-bath canning - For high acid foods, such as pickles, most fruits, jams, and jellies.
3. Oven canning - For dry goods such as flour, cereal, grains, crackers, etc.
4. Vacuum sealing - Not canning, but very useful for things you cannot oven can. Such as different types of sugar, herbs, oily dry foods.

Pressure Cooker
Pressure canning uses a pressure canner, not a pressure cooker. These are 2 very different kitchen items.
 A good starter can be purchased at Wal-Mart or other such stores for an average of $75.00.
Presto Pressure Canner
Presto Pressure Canner   
 (I do not make money from these links. They are to show you the different items for the lowest price I could find them.)
 One that I would like to get for my classes that I teach is the: Presto 23 Quart Pressure Canner
This is a good quality starter canner.

Water-Bath CannerWater-bath canning can be done with a water-bath canner or even a large stock pot. As long as you can cover your jars by 1" or more of water and add a lid, you can water-bath can in that pot. I sometimes use a regular large cooking pan to do small batches of jams and jellies.
You can purchase a 21.5 Quart Water-Bath Canner from Wal-Mart for about $20.00. 

Oven canning does not require any special equipment, other than your oven, canning jars, and items to can.
I oven can for things like pasta, cereals, crackers, flour, much more. Basically, if it is not going to melt and I do not want to vacuum seal it, I oven can it. This is also good to use if you do not have a vacuum sealer. I love my vacuum sealer and rarely oven can any more.

Steps for oven canning:

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees
  2. Wash and sterilize jars
  3. Make sure jars are completely dry
  4. Fill jars with dry goods
  5. Set jars on a flat pan
  6. Set flat pan of jars in oven without lids or rings on them
  7. Set timer for 1 hour
  8. While waiting for the hour to be up, heat lids in water or in oven and prepare rings (Do not boil lids)
  9. When hour is up, take jars out of oven (be careful they’re hot) one at a time and put a lid and ring on each jar.  Make sure lids are completely dry.
  10. Set aside and let cool.
  11. Enjoy the pings as they seal.  (It has been my experience that it takes a bit longer for the seals on oven canned jars to seal then it does pressure canned jars.)
  12. When jars are completely cooled, remove rings and label.
  13. Store and use as needed.

Vacuum sealing! I LOVE VACUUM SEALING!!!!!

I vacuum seal almost everything that can be vacuum sealed for my pantry and my food storage!
I have found though, that flour, powdered sugar, and gelatin do not vacuum seal well. They are such a fine particle, that it usually causes more headache than its worth. (At least to me) I normally save up these items to fill a 5 gallon food grade plastic bucket, and then long term store them that way. (But that is me!)

Vacuum sealers have come down in cost to the point that the average household can afford them now.

You will need to get an attachment called a wide mouth jar attachment. 

I recommend getting the regular mouth jar attachment also.

You can vacuum seal in jars now!
So many different things! Sal for long term storage, or short term pantry storage! Keep things super fresh even after you open them. Such as cereals and herbs! With cereals no longer sold in foil wraps,, they go stale so quickly. Yet now, all you need are a couple of half gallon mason jars, and you can keep your cereals fresh like when you opened them. You can reuse the lids with this also, as long as you do not bend or puncture the lid when you open the jar. this takes practice, but is easy to accomplish.
By vacuum sealing, I now am able to purchase from wholesalers such as Sam's Club, and not waste my money in doing so. I purchase flour, salt, rice, oats, and more in 50 pound bags. First, I fill up my 5 gallon bucket and seal that. Then, I put the remaining quantity into 1/2 gallon mason jars and vacuum seal those. I keep the 1/2 gallon jars in my pantry as you would regular canisters. A 4 pound box of salt costs me only .99 and fits nice into a mason jar. I am basically getting 4 for the price of 1 now. 

I will be showing you how to do pressure canning and water-bath canning in future posts. As well as jelly and pickle making.
Sandra Ann Collins Neff
20 Years of Sunshine and Love

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