I’ve been eager to try canning (preserving food in airtight jars), so when the snerds got a wee bit carried away at the apple orchard (again) and we’ve already made pies for everyone residing near us, I ordered canning jars imagining that we’d whip up some apple sauce and pour it in them– simple, right? Um, wrong.
Turns out, canning is pretty complicated.
First, the first step is to sterilize the (brand-new) jars. However, Simplycanning.com (an authority on canning, I assume) states, “In Water Bath Canning sterilizing jars is not needed provided processing time is more than 10 minutes. Most recipes call for at least 10 minutes processing time or more.”
Sterilizing confusion aside, now there’s “processing time”? And, what the heck is ”water bath canning”? After much research I’ve learned the jars, after filling, need to be “processed” by boiling them (“water bath canning”) or using a “pressure canner”, depending on what’s in them.
From simplycanning.com, “A water bath canner [i.e boiling the jars] is used with all high acid foods. This includes: all fruits, jams, jellies, pie fillings, pickles or condiments and tomatoes with added lemon juice. If you have any low acid foods or ingredients [like meat] you must use a pressure canner.”
Ok, apples = high acid = water bath canning. And there’s a handy link to a “water-bath canner” on Amazon for $20. Check. Apparently I also need a jar funnel, a jar lifter, a lid lifter, a bubble remover and headspace tool (???) Check, check, check. Now there’s $50 of canning supplies in my Amazon shopping cart (not including the jars I already bought) and I thought people canned to save money? Do I really need all of this? And most of the recipes call for additional kitchen gadgetry, like an apple “Peeler-Slicer-Corer”, food strainer, and/or food grinder (that I don’t have). Is my kitchen not sophisticated enough to master canning?
After more research I deducted a “water bath canner” is really just a big, deep pot that comes with a “canning rack” to keep jars from touching the bottom or sides when being boiled (AKA “processed”). Canning racks are also sold separately I so pulled out a big pot to see if I really needed a “canner”… turns out I do because my pot is not deep enough to cover the jars with water (when I put them on a steamer to make sure they weren’t touching the bottom). I ordered a canner that will be here in two days (love Amazon Prime!), but I skipped the rest of the canning gadgetry– at least until I determine what I actually need and if this canning stuff is really for me.
Can I actually can? Haha. Stay tuned for my next post to find out…