Canning is the process involved in preserving foods that are expected to last for only a few days or weeks using cans (or jars) in a liquid solution. This method is standard when storing fruit jams during winter or creating delicious pickles from the excess cucumbers harvested in the summertime. It is suitable for any season, even weather we do not like. For example, when it becomes rainy and it is not easy to mobilize, there is canned food at least.
Canning food is critically essential during times of calamities and emergencies. When there are floods and heavy rains, officials may cut the electric supply, families cannot use their kitchens, and vendors cannot sell raw food materials for meal ingredients. If you recall, local shops often close down, and some food materials are damaged during a disaster. If you cannot rely on these systems that work well during normal circumstances, you can depend on yourself and your expertise in canning food.
Did you know that canned salsas and fruits can last up to a year and a half when properly stored and sealed? It is no surprise that pickled vegetables can still be suitable for consumption after two years if they have been canned satisfactorily.
Want to learn how to can food? This article will help you begin your food preservation journey as we list the equipment necessary for this beneficial procedure!
Canning Jars and Lids
As the name implies, we need cans and their lids to do food canning! We will be storing the food cooked or prepared inside these cans. Cans can come in different compositions, shapes, and sizes. It is best if there are cans with wide or regular mouths so that foods of even large sizes that cannot be sliced are still accommodated. Cans used for this technique are often made of glass.
Mason jars, named after the tinsmith John Landis Mason, are famous for canning food. This type of jar has a two-part top composed of an outer band and lid with a rubber ring. The mouth of the jar has a screw thread. Together, these create a vacuum seal that ensures safe canning. Mason jars are also called Ball jars, fruit jars, and jam jars. Consider this while purchasing mason jars, as some people are unaware of their other names.
You should also check if the lids are made of metal because some canning procedures involve acidic solutions such as vinegar. Metal and acids have chemical reactions that should be avoided in food preservation.
Water Bath Canner
A water bath canner is a large kettle that aims to stabilize and steady the jars used for canning food. People use this item when sealing cans and preventing cracking. The canner is necessary for canning foods that are of high acidity.
If you do not have the budget for a water bath canner or are still hesitant to go all-out since you are just a beginner, do not worry. You can also use a typical large stock pot from your kitchen if you have one. However, the stock pot must be deep so that the canning jars are covered with at least two to three inches of water.
Canning Bubble Popper
Little air bubbles inside the food are undesired and must be removed before sealing up the jar. To do so, you can use a canning bubble popper. If you don’t want to buy one, a chopstick or stirrer may suffice, but they don’t do the job as well as an official canning bubble popper.
The experience of burning hands due to touching hot materials while preparing food is painful and something we wouldn’t wish even on our worst enemies! The pain can last for days and get in the way of our daily tasks at home and work.
To avoid burning your hands while working, use a lifter. These have rubber-coated ends and resemble kitchen thongs. Although you can use the thongs you already have at home, a lifter specializes in food canning, making jar lifting safer and more convenient.
Transferring food solutions to be canned is indeed a challenge. The difficulty increases when a person has to move sticky, viscous syrups and painfully hot fluids. To make this easier, one can use a canning funnel. These usually have wide openings on both sides since most jars also have large holes. The best canning funnels are often made of stainless steel. Being made of stainless steel means a lower probability of wearing due to heat.
Kitchen timers are essential in food preservation. Clocks and watches can help you keep track of time, but they don’t alert you when it’s time to take the pot off the stove or if the onions have been simmered on the pan long enough. You can’t look at your clock or wristwatch the whole time because there are many things you can do while waiting in the kitchen, like cleaning up the space or attending to your child’s needs. A timer assures smooth food canning operations!
To extend the life of canned food, experts often suggest boiling excess liquid. This is especially when working with jams, sauces, and soups. Most households have stockpot cookware at home.
A high-quality stockpot usually has a heavy bottom to stop food from scorching and attaching itself tightly to the bottom. They also have aluminum layers surrounding the sides to promote the even distribution of heat. If you don’t have stockpot cookware, you may utilize a saucepan, but these work only for small amounts of food and liquids.
Are you mentally ready to start canning food? We sure hope you are! Become physically ready by preparing your kitchen with this essential equipment. Who knows? You might even go beyond preparing food for your family and venture into a new business! Equipment for canning food is vital to make it happen.