Inexcusable puns aside, home canning really is a simple process. If you like to cook and you’d like to enjoy some of summer’s best produce when the markets start to thin, consider investing in a home canning kit. A water bath and a few tools to make handling scalding jars easier are all you need to get started. You can find inexpensive equipment on Amazon, like these canning tools and any of these water baths.
Here’s the long and short of it in 6 steps:
1. Prepare your recipe. Follow one that’s canning-specific since acidity levels are important in preventing bacteria growth. You’ll need some component of the recipe to reach a boil (whether that’s the whole thing or a component like a pickling liquid). Jars need hot contents to match their hot exteriors in order to form a tight seal.
2. Sterilize your jars in the water bath for 10 minutes at a rolling boil.
3. Remove the jars and fill with hot contents. Recipes will specify how high to fill them, usually less than 1″ from the top.
4. Seal them tightly with lids and rings.
5. Bring the water in the bath back to a rolling boil and submerge your jars. Every recipe will specify how long to “process” them in order to safely seal the contents.
6. Remove after the specified time, allow to cool, and listen for the “pop!” This is the seal forming, and it’s super important if you’re going to store your jars long term. If for some reason one of your jars doesn’t seal, you can still store it in the refrigerator and enjoy within a few days or weeks like other perishable goods.
In our photo illustrations we were preparing Spiced Tomato Jam. It has amazing summer tomato flavor and is perfect for spreading on toast with goat cheese and pepper–the perfect antidote to January.