ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Tips for Canning your Harvest

Updated on June 29, 2010
Pressure canner
Pressure canner

It's gardening time again and to me that means canning season is upon us. Canning food is a way of preserving the harvest so that your family can eat it all year. There are two different ways to can foods - with a pressure canner or by using a water bath to seal the jars. I have a pressure canner, but I also use it as my water bath canner as well. If your canner is a water bath canner only (the most common one sold) then you cannot use that as a pressure canner.

The most popular kind of canning is water bath canning, but you have to be careful using this method, as all foods cannot be preserved this way. I find the water bath method easier and faster. The jars are completely submerged in boiling water for a certain period of time. This heats the foods inside to 212 degrees Farenheit or 100 degrees Celsius. The water bath method is good for highly acidic foods like fruit, tomatoes, jams, jellies, preserves, applesauce, pickles and relish. Heating the foods to this temperature will kill any bad bacteria in the foods.

With a pressure canner you can preserve almost any type of food. With a pressure canner you can get the temperature inside the canner to 240 - 250 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature is needed to kill bacteria in low-acidic foods such as meat, vegetables, poultry, fish, or soup. When you use a pressure canner you add just a few inches of water to the bottom of the canner. You have to have a canner with a tight fitting lid that can be locked on. You need to get your canner calibrated from a cooperative extension office each year so that you will know exactly the pressure your canner gets too and how long to process your foods. I find the pressure canning method more complicated and time consuming. It also uses more energy. The benefit though, is that you can preserve just about anything and it will be good to eat for years.

For all canning you need some special tools. Technically they probably aren't required, but I don't think I would be able to can without them. A wide mouth funnel will make the process so much easier. With a wide mouth funnel I can ladle anything into my jars without worrying about spilling boiling hot foods or liquids on myself or the counter. I find a jar lifter a must. This is a special tool that you dip down into the boiling water to lift each jar out safely. You can get a lid lifter as well, but I get along just fine with a pair of tongs. Other than that you will need a wet rag and pot holders.

The most important thing you need to do when canning is to make sure that everything stays sterile. Before I start canning I wash all the jars and rings I will need. Then I put a large pan of water on the stove and a smaller pot of water. I place the jars upside down in the pan of water, fill with an inch or two of water, bring to a boil and then simmer while I prep everything else. In the pot of water I place all the rings and lids I will use and fill with water and simmer. You should always pour hot food into hot jars to prevent cracking or shattering of the jars.

Once you have the jars filled you need to wipe the top of the jars off with a wet rag before you put the lid on. This will ensure a good seal. If you don't have a good seal then your food will not last on the shelf. You have to have the ring on the jar before putting it into the canner. Tighten the rings, but not all the way. You should be able to take the ring off easily. At this point the jars are ready to go into the canner. I always have my canner heated before I put jars into it. This speeds up the process.

I highly recommend the Ball Blue Book of Canning as a wonderful canning resource. It is full of information, recipes and more. It will tell you how long to process each food in the canner. Once the time is up, turn the stove off and if you can, remove the canner from the heat. Wait a few minutes before opening the canner. When you do open it, lift the side that is away from you first so that you don't get steam in your face. Use the jar lifter to remove the jars. Place them a couple of inches apart on a towel and do not touch or move for 24 hours. You should hear the sweet sound of the pings when the jars seal. This means success.

Once the jars have cooled overnight you need to test the seal. Remove the rings and gently lift up on the edge of the lids to see if they move. They should be sealed tightly with a slight depression in the middle. If they did not seal you can either place in the refrigerator to eat right away or you can try to process them again. Once I remove the rings, I always take a wet rag and wipe the entire jar well and write the contents and date on the lid. Then I store to enjoy all winter.

If you have never tried canning as a way of preserving food before, I find it very much worth it. Use these tips to help you preserve your harvest. It is very satisfying to have food stored for my family in the event of an emergency. I hope you enjoy canning as much as I do.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • dkrainwater profile image


      8 years ago from Sheridan, Wyoming

      Grerat infomation. My grandmother used to can, but I think our family just gives the food away to friends every harvest. Keep those hubs coming.

    • Earth Angel profile image

      Earth Angel 

      8 years ago

      Another GREAT Hub Jennifer!!

      Thank you so much for sharing!! You have inspired me to 'can' again!! I haven't done it since I was a child with my mother!! But in these uncertain economic times, growing and preserving our own food is a life-skill we should all consider!!

      Blessings to you and yours, Earth Angel!!

      P.S. I live in California where earthquakes are regular!! Although I do not have children, I have child-proof latches on all my cabinets so food and dishes do not spill out!! It would be sad to go to all the hard work only to have it tumble onto the floor!!

    • GojiJuiceGoodness profile image


      8 years ago from Roanoke, Virginia

      Good info you've got here! We don't can our food as much as anymore, just because of the sheer amount of food we'd have to grow to do so. We freeze a lot of raspberries and blackberries, though.

    • H P Roychoudhury profile image

      H P Roychoudhury 

      8 years ago from Guwahati, India

      It is good to know about pressure canner or water bath canner to preserve the food pure and healthy but everything depends mostly on the actual operation of the process, the art of others may not be as like as that of you, you being the most skillful person in the operation of the process.Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image


      8 years ago from us

      Its an informative an my favorite one post,the information you share that is very nice,i just bookmark it.thank you.

      Acai Berry Weight Loss

      Acai Berry Supplements

    • GALAXY 59 profile image

      Galaxy Harvey 

      8 years ago from United Kingdom

      What an informative hub, thanks for posting it. I have made my own jam and pickles but after reading this item I will have a go at canning some of my garden produce too. Canning your own foods should be healthier for the family than store bought goods.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      8 years ago from London, UK

      Thank you for this wonderful and helpful advice.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)