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12 Successful Canning Secrets

As the months get colder, you’ll want to consider canning some of your fruits and vegetables for easy use the rest of the year. But simply dropping them in cans doesn’t mean they’ll be properly preserved. Here are some tips and canning secrets to help you keep your food freshly preserved.

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Canning Secrets Revealed

Canning food is a great way to save money, but it can be dangerous if you don’t do it properly. Read on for some great tips and canning secrets that can help.

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Canning Secrets: Make Your Own Pectin

Apples naturally contain this setting agent. So if your jellies aren’t setting up properly try this canning secret: Place a cheesecloth sack filled with the apple parts that have the highest pectin content — peelings, cores, and seeds — into the pan. Other good pectin sources include crab apples, true quince, and Japanese quince.

 

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Canning Secrets: Add Almonds

We bet you didn’t know this canning secret! A hint of almond adds a pleasing bitterness to apricot jam. Throw in some peeled (blanched) almonds to cook along with the apricots — about 10 almonds are enough to flavour five to six jars of jam.

 

 

 

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Canning Secrets: Use a Pitcher

Here’s another tip for perfect canning: Hot jelly will be easier to put in jars if you pour it into a pitcher first. Be sure to use Pyrex or other heat-resistant glass.

 

 

 

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Canning Secrets: Test Whether Your Jam is Ready

This canning secret is called the slide test. Pour 7.5 mL (½ tbsp) of boiling jam onto a plate; let it cool. Slant the plate. If the jam doesn’t slide, it’s ready. If it slides easily, cook it a bit longer.

 

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Canning Tips: Make Homegrown Capers

This canning tip might be found in your backyard. Pickle the tightly closed flower buds of nasturtiums in vinegar. Use as a condiment for smoked fish.

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Canning Tips: Make Chow-Chow

Here’s an easy canning secret you’ll love: Use your surplus vegetables to make this savory pickle relish. Simmer finely chopped cabbage, tomatoes, onions, and peppers in vinegar and pickling spices; process in a water bath.

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Canning Tips: Make Homemade Cornichons

Try this delicious suggestion when canning. You can duplicate the little French cornichons available in many gourmet produce stores by picking or buying Kirby pickling cucumbers when they are young and small. Wrap them in a towel with salt and leave them hanging up overnight. The next day, pack them in jars with your favorite vinegar, brine, and spice mixture; process as you would other pickles.

 

 

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Canning Secrets: Keep the Heat on

Avoid disaster with this canning secret: Don’t let hot-packed jars cool before processing in a water bath canner. Once they lose their heat, they can crack when submerged in the hot water.

 

 

 

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Canning Tips: Leave Head Space

Be safer with this canning secret. Always leave space at the top of the jar while processing, especially when raw packing. Overfilled jars can explode.

 

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Canning Tips: Seal it Tight

Here’s a great canning secret to make your batch the best. Boil rubber seals for a few minutes just before closing the jars. Listen for the telltale pop that lets you know that the jars are sealing. Recheck all jars the day after canning. If there is a slight depression in the lid and the jars give off a light “ping” when tapped, they are firmly sealed.

 

 

 

 

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Canning Secrets: Make Peeling Easier

You can slip tomatoes right out of their skins if you plunge them into boiling water for 5 seconds. The same treatment works for peaches, apricots, peppers, and onions. This simple canning secret can save time and frustration. 

 

 

 

 

 

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Canning Tips: Take Precautions

Canning must be carried out with scrupulous care to prevent bacterial contamination and spoilage. Most spoilage causes only minor illness at worst, but one type of contamination — botulism — is extremely dangerous and often fatal. Follow these canning tips to protect your preserves and your family.

Use a water bath to can acidic foods such as pickles, fruits, jams, and jellies. Use a pressure canner for nonacidic foods, including vegetables and meat. To be safe, follow the instructions to the letter and check the seals on canning lids before storing. Store in a basement or pantry where temperatures are between 10° and 21°C (50°-70°F). Before serving preserved food, carefully check the jar. Discard a jar if the contents seem foamy or discoloured, if the lid bulges or is misshapen, or if the rim is leaking. Odd odours, mold, or spurting liquid are also warnings to steer clear.