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Birch River, West Virginia 26610

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  1. Use only the best, top quality ingredients. Preserve fruits and vegetables at their peak of ripeness.
  2. Process ALL home canned foods.  
    • High-Acid Foods in a Boiling-Water Canner (High-acid foods include fruits, fruit juices, jams, jellies and other fruit spreads, tomatoes with added acid, pickles, relishes, and chutneys, sauces, vinegars and condiments.)
    • Low-Acid Foods in a Steam-Pressure Canner (Low-acid foods include vegetables, soups, stews and ragouts, meats, poultry and seafoods. Recipes that combine high-acid foods, such as tomatoes, with low-acid foods, such as vegetables or meats, are considered low-acid foods. )
  3. Follow only current, tested home canning recipes that
    • include the appropriate processing method for the food type being canned;
    • give a specific processing time for the food type and size home canning jar used;
    • designate headspace;
    • come from a reputable source offering up-to-date recipes, following acceptable canning guidelines.
  4. Follow manufacturer’s directions for preparing home canning jars and two-piece vacuum caps. Complete instructions can be found on each Ball brand or Kerr brand package,
  5. Fill hot jar with prepared recipe. Leave recommended headspace. Remove air bubbles by sliding a nonmetallic spatula between the jar and food; press gently on the food to release trapped air. Repeat around the circumference of the jar.
  6. Wipe rim and threads with a clean, damp cloth. Center heated lid on jar. Screw band down evenly and firmly until a point of resistance is met – fingertip tight.
  7. After processing, remove jars from canner; set jars upright on a towel to cool. Do NOT retighten bands or check for a seal while jars are hot.
  8. After 24 hours, check lids for a seal. Sealed lids curve downward. Press the center of the lid to ensure it does not flex up or down. (Reprocess or refrigerate any unsealed jars.) Remove bands. Wipe jars and lids with a clean, damp cloth and dry. Wash bands in soapy water, dry and store.
  9. Label and store jars in a cool, dry, dark place. For best quality, use home canned foods within one year.

 

Improperly canned food can result in the growth of botulism or other microorganisms. Eating such foods can cause serious illness and even death. For this reason it is important to strictly adhere to canning procedures as well as standards of cleanliness.

Clostridium botulinum spores are everywhere and eating them is not harmful to humans. It is when they grow in astronomical numbers in an ideal environment, such as an improperly canned jar of food, then begin to die off that they become a problem. They actually produce a neuro-toxin. It is this neuro-toxin that causes the effects of botulism.

 

 

Yet botulism and molds, viruses and bacteria that might grow in canned food can be effectively and easily controlled merely by taking simple precautions. Properly heating the jars and the food within them as well as proper sealing is the solution.

Since Clostridium botulinum prefers a low acid environment, high acid foods can be canned under less restrictive conditions using a boiling water canner. These foods have a pH of 4.5 or less. They include: apples, apricots, berries, jams, jellies, peaches, pears, pickles, sauerkraut, tomatoes, and more.

High pH (meaning low in acid) fruits and vegetables require a special device for canning called the pressure canner. The pressure canner can also be used for canning the high acid foods. Low acid foods include: Asparagus, beans, beets, carrots, corn, mushrooms, peas, potatoes, pumpkin, spinach, squash, most any meat.

 

It is not generally difficult to detect when a canning job has gone bad (done properly - this will seldom happen). The first sign that a can of food is no good is that the lid will pop up (or bulge), also there might be seeping around the seal. Mold growing on the surface of the food is a sure sign of a problem. Also abnormal colors in the brine of food, cloudiness in the brine, a white colored film on the surface of the food can all be indications of contaminated food.

Do not eat contaminated food. It invariably will cause harm. Reheating the food, even boiling it for long periods is not a solution as botulism is not the living part of the Clostridium botulinum, but a byproduct of its life-cycle.

A final helpful hint regarding safety: It is best to store canned foods at relatively low temperatures as this helps to prevent any activity by microorganisms that might have survived the heating process. Keeping cans in dark, cool places also helps to preserve vitamins and taste.

 

Copyright 2002-2003, W.J. Rayment 

 



1. Before you begin, review the recipe and assemble equipment and ingredients. Follow guidelines for recipe preparation, jar size, canning method and processing time.
2. Visually inspect home canning jars for nicks, cracks, uneven rims or sharp edges that may prevent sealing or cause breakage. Check bands for proper fit. Examine lids to ensure they are not scratched and the sealing compound is even and complete. Wash jars, lids and bands in hot, soapy water; rinse.
3. Place Ball brand or Kerr brand home canning jars in a large stockpot. Cover jars with water and place over high heat. Bring water to a simmer; reduce heat and keep jars hot until ready to use. For recipes with processing times less than 10 minutes, the jars must be sterilized by boiling them for 10 minutes (If you are at an elevation over 1,000 feet above sea level, add 1 additional minute for each 1,000-foot increase. See Altitude Chart). After sterilizing, keep jars in hot water until ready to use. A dishwasher may be used to preheat jars, but cannot be used to sterilize jars.
4. Prepare food as recipe directs.
5. Place Ball brand or Kerr brand lids in a small saucepan. Cover lids with water. Bring to a simmer; keep lids hot until ready to use. DO NOT boil lids.
6. Fill hot jars one at a time with prepared food. Do not use an assembly line method for filling jars. Allow proper headspace. Over-filling and under-filling can result in seal failure. Headspace is determined by the food type:
Jams, jellies and other fruit spreads ¼ inch
Fruits and tomatoes ½ inch
Fruit juices ¼ inch
Pickles, relishes and chutneys ¼ inch
Sauces, vinegars and condiments ¼ inch

7. Remove air bubbles by sliding a nonmetallic spatula such as a Ball® Bubble FREER™ or rubber spatula between jar and food; press gently on the food to release trapped air. Repeat around circumference of jar. After removing air bubbles, readjust headspace if required.
8. Wipe rim and threads of jar with a clean, damp cloth to remove any food residue. Center lid on jar with sealing compound next to rim.
9. Apply band, screwing down evenly and firmly – just until fingertip tight. “Fingertip tight” is as snug as the band can be applied with your fingertips. This allows the lid to vent air during processing. The lid must exhaust the air in order to form a vacuum seal.
10. Place jar on rack in canner. Repeat steps 6-9 for each jar. When all jars are filled or canner is full, lower rack into the water. Be sure water covers jars by at least 1 inch; add boiling water if required. Place lid on canner and turn heat to medium high.
11. When water returns to a full rolling boil, begin counting processing time. At altitudes up to 1,000 feet above sea level, follow recipe processing time. At altitudes higher than 1,000 feet above sea level, increase processing time as recommended for your elevation. See altitude chart
12. When time has elapsed, turn off heat and remove canner lid. Allow boil to subside, then lift jars without tilting and place them upright on a towel to cool in a draft-free place. DO NOT retighten bands or test for a seal while jars are hot.

Cool jars undisturbed for 24 hours.
13. After jars have cooled, check lids for seal by pressing on the center of the lid. If the lid is pulled down and does not flex up or down when pressed, remove the band and slightly lift the jar by the lid. Lids that do not flex and cannot easily be removed with your fingertips have a good seal. Refrigerate or reprocess any unsealed jars.
14. Remove bands; wash, dry and store separately. Wipe jars and lids with a clean, damp cloth; dry. Label and store jars in a cool, dry, dark place. For best quality, use home canned foods within one year.





Before you begin, review the recipe and assemble the equipment and ingredients. Follow guidelines for recipe preparation, jar size, canning method and processing time.
2. Visually inspect home canning jars for nicks, cracks, uneven rims or sharp edges that may prevent sealing or cause breakage. Check bands for proper fit. Examine lids to ensure they are not scratched and the sealing compound is even and complete. Wash jars, lids and bands in hot, soapy water; rinse.
3. Inspect the steam-pressure canner. Check lid and gasket to be sure an airtight seal can be achieved. Clean vent pipe. If you are using a dial gauge canner, the gauge must be tested for accuracy each year prior to its use.

Fill canner with 2 to 3 inches of water. Place over high heat; bring to a simmer. Keep water at a simmer until jars are filled and placed in the canner.
4. Place Ball brand or Kerr brand home canning jars in a large stockpot or boiling-water canner. Cover jars with water and place over high heat. Bring water to a simmer; reduce heat and keep jars hot until ready to use. A dishwasher may be used to preheat jars.
5. Prepare food as recipe directs.
6. Place Ball brand or Kerr brand lids in a small saucepan. Cover lids with water. Bring water to a simmer; keep lids hot until ready to use. DO NOT boil lids.
7. Fill hot jars one at a time with prepared food. Do not use an assembly line method for filling jars. Allow proper headspace. Over-filling or under-filling can result in seal failure.

Headspace is determined by food type. For all low-acid foods, allow 1-inch headspace.

8. Remove air bubbles by sliding a nonmetallic spatula or rubber spatula between jar and food; press gently on the food to release trapped air. Repeat around circumference of jar. After removing air bubbles, readjust headspace if required.
9. Wipe rim and threads of jar with a clean, damp cloth to remove any food residue. Center lid on jar with sealing compound next to rim.
10. Apply band, screwing down evenly and firmly – just until fingertip tight. “Fingertip tight” is as snug as the band can be applied with your fingertips. This allows the lid to vent air during processing. The lid must exhaust air in order to form a vacuum seal.
11. Place jar on rack in canner. Repeat steps 7 – 10 for each jar. When all jars are filled or canner is full, check that water level in canner is about 2 to 3 inches or that recommended in manufacturer’s manual.
12. Lock canner lid in place, leaving vent open. Adjust heat to medium-high. Allow steam to escape through vent pipe steadily for about 10 minutes in order to vent canner. Close the vent, using the weight or method described for your canner. Gradually adjust heat to achieve and maintain recommended pounds of pressure. Regulate heat only with gradual changes.

At altitudes up to 1,000 feet above sea level, process at 10 pounds of pressure in a weighted gauge canner or 11 pounds of pressure in a dial gauge canner for the specified time for the food type and jar size used. At altitudes higher than 1,000 feet above sea level, increase the pounds of pressure to that recommended for your elevation. See altitude chart 
13. When processing time is complete, remove canner from heat. Let canner stand undisturbed until pressure drops naturally to zero.

When dial gauge registers zero or when no steam escapes from weighted gauge when it is nudged, wait 2 minutes before removing cover, being sure to tilt it away from yourself.
14. Lift jars from canner without tilting and place them upright on a towel to cool in a draft-free place. DO NOT retighten bands or test for a seal while the jars are hot.

Cool undisturbed for 24 hours.
15. After jars have cooled, check lids for a seal by pressing on the center of the lid. If the lid is pulled down and does not flex up or down when pressed, remove the band and slightly lift the jar by the lid. Lids that do not flex and cannot easily be removed with your fingertips have a good seal. Refrigerate or reprocess any unsealed jars.
16. Remove bands; wash, dry and store separately. Wipe jars and lids with a clean, damp cloth; dry. Label and store jars in a cool, dry, dark place. For best quality, use home canned foods within one year.


If you are located at an elevation higher than 1,000 feet above sea level, it is necessary to adjust the processing time when using the boiling-water method and the pounds of pressure when using the steam-pressure method. Make the appropriate adjustment for your elevation as indicated by the Altitude Charts.

BOILING-WATER CANNER
Altitude

(Feet) Increase
Processing Time
1,001 – 3,000 5 minutes
3,001 – 6,000 10 minutes
6,001 – 8,000 15 minutes
8,001 – 10,000 20 minutes


STEAM-PRESSURE CANNER
Altitude

(Feet) Weighted
Gauge Dial
Gauge
0 – 1,000 10 11
1,001 – 2,000 15 11
2,001 – 4,000 15 12
4,001 – 6,000 15 13
6,001 – 8,000 15 14
8,001 – 10,000 15 15



NOTE: The cooking time necessary for recipe preparation before the food is placed in the jars is not a part of the processing time. It does not alter the processing time required for safe home canned foods. To thoroughly destroy all microorganisms that may be in a specific food as it is ladled into the jars, always process the filled jars for the time specified in a tested recipe from a reliable source, such as the Ball Blue Book® Guide to Home Canning, Freezing and Dehydration.

Home Canning Essentials for All Foods

 

Canners come in 2 different models: One is a water bath canner. This has no gauge

The other is a pressure canner. This type of canner seals itself with pressure and has a gauge on the top.

To fill the jars, use a funnel and rubber spatula

 

 

The lids for the jars need to be place in hot water. This helps soften up the sealer and will form a stronger seal

 

 

These are special tongs that will allow you to remove the jars from the canner.

For more information  go to Ball Blue Book® Guide to Home Canning, Freezing and Dehydration. to order their book.

      

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