Food Canning 101: 5 Basics

Your grandmother may have been on to something with all of those canned fruits and vegetables. Canning is a great way to preserve the lifespan of fresh produce, and it creates a number of unique new ways to eat your favorite veggies. If you want to start canning in your own home, here are 5 things that you need to know.

  1. Do not use overripe produce. Although canning helps you to extend the lifespan of produce, it won’t reverse the ripening process if it has already happened. Be sure to use only crisp, fresh fruits and vegetables.
  2. Sterilize cans before starting. Because your produce will be sealed tightly inside of the glass jars, you want to make sure that there is no bacteria inside of there as well. Wash each jar with hot, soapy water and soak them in a boiling water bath for at least 10 minutes before you begin.
  3. Research acid additions. Many types of fruits and vegetables require ascorbic acid or citric acid to prevent browning or maintain pH levels, so do your research before canning.
  4. Do not fill the jars completely. Your produce will expand during the boiling process, so be sure leave an inch or so of space at the top of each jar.

More Canning Tips and Do's/Don'ts [Pick Your Own]
Canning 101: The Basics [Simple Bites]
USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning, 2009 revision [NCHFP]