Getting Ready for Canning Season
Plan ahead and prepare for the upcoming canning season!
Nashville, Ark. – If you are planning on canning food at home this season, now is the time to plan ahead and prepare. Get your equipment and supplies out and inspect them so you are ready when the produce is. Proper equipment in good condition is required for safe, high-quality home-canned food.
A pressure canner is essential for canning low-acid vegetables, meats, fish and poultry. There are two basic types of pressure canners, one has a metal weighted gauge and the other has a dial gauge to indicate the pressure inside the canner. It is important to have the dial gauge tested every year. Call the Howard County Extension Office at 870-845-7517 or email email@example.com to schedule a test of your dial pressure gauge.
An important note about pressure canning in electric multi-cookers (such as Instant Pot): Even if there are instructions for pressure canning in the manufacturer’s directions, USDA does not support the use of USDA canning processes in the electric, multi-cooker appliances with "canning" or "steam canning" buttons on their front panels. USDA pressure process directions have not been developed for that type of appliance. Our recommendations were determined for stovetop pressure canners which hold four or more quart-size jars standing upright.
A boiling water canner is needed for canning other foods such as fruits, pickles, jellies and jams. The canner should be deep enough to allow at least one or two inches of water above the tops of the jars. A boiling water canner should have a flat bottom, so that it fits nicely on the stove top, and a tight-fitting lid. Both types of canners should have a rack in the bottom to raise jars off the bottom of the canner.
Use only standard tempered glass home canning jars, do not use mayonnaise or pickle jars. Check to make sure jars are not chipped or cracked. Always use 2-piece lids; it is recommended to purchase lids new each year (the sealing compound will break down in storage) and sort through screw bands to make sure they are not rusted. It’s fine to reuse canning jars, as long as they are not chipped or cracked. Garage sales can be a great place to locate used canning jars, just make sure they are designed for canning. Other items that come in handy for home-canning include jar fillers, tongs, air bubble removers and lid wands.
It is highly recommended to use up to-date canning instructions and recipes. Grandma’s favorite recipe or a recipe that is all over the internet is not a good resource for reliable safe recipes. If the resource is older than 1994, consider it to be outdated and not following the most updated recommendations for safety.
Sources for reliable information, in addition to the County Extension Office, are the
website for the National Center for Home Food Preservation www.uga.edu/nchfp/. The latest edition of So Easy to Preserve, a publication of approved recipes and detailed instructions for home food preservation is available at the Extension Office. Another reliable book is the USDA Complete Guide to Home-Canning, also available online for free download at https://nchfp.uga.edu/publications/publications_usda.html. Current editions of books and publications from manufacturers of major canning supplies such as the Ball Blue Book published after 1994 are also reliable.
If you have questions or want to have more hands-on experience in home food preservation, call the County Extension Office 870-845-7517 for the most current workshops being offered near you or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Planning ahead can save you time, money and frustration with home-canning. Make it a happy, safe, and successful canning season by getting prepared before your harvest is ready. The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.
Recipe of the Week
Strawberries are coming into season, and you may want to pick up a flat or two. You can preserve them for later use by freezing them. Instructions for freezing are as follows.
Preparation – Select fully ripe, firm berries with a deep red color. Discard immature and defective fruit. Wash and remove caps.
Whole Berries Syrup Pack – Put berries into containers and cover with a 50% syrup pack, leaving headspace. Seal and freeze.
Whole Berries Sugar Pack – Add ¾ cup sugar to 1-quart (1 1/3 pounds) strawberries and mix thoroughly. Stir until most of the sugar is dissolved or let stand for 15 minutes. Put into containers, leaving headspace. Seal and freeze.
Sliced or Crushed – Prepare for packing as for whole strawberries; then slice or crush partially or completely. To 1-quart (1 1/3 pounds) berries add ¾ cup sugar; mix thoroughly. Stir until most of the sugar is dissolved or let stand for 15 minutes. Pack into containers, leaving headspace. Seal and freeze.
50% Syrup Pack – Dissolve 4 cups sugar in 4 cups of lukewarm water, mixing until the solution is clear. Chill syrup before using. Yields: 6 cups syrup.
By Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture
Media Contact: Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
421 N. Main St, Nashville AR 71852
The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative
action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need
materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office (or other
appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay.
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs to all eligible persons without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.