Tips for Home Canning, by Georgia

Preserving your garden harvest through home canning is one of the best and most cost-effective ways to feed your family. Home canning is also a messy, labor intensive task. To make the labor of love less labor intensive, use these tips that make home canning easier.

Wrap it Up

Before getting started with peeling and paring, cover kitchen surfaces with aluminum foil to help make cleanup go faster and to protect the surface. Cover the entire stove top with foil and create openings in the foil for the stove burners. Place a layer of foil on all counter tops and table tops and place a heavy bath towel over the surface where you plan to place the hot jars after processing.

Kitchen Appliances

Get out your slow cooker and deep fryer to assist you in the canning process. Fill the slow cooker with hot water and turn on the high heat setting, then submerge canning lids and rims in the hot water. The slow cooker will keep the water hot and your canning utensils heated until they’re needed.

A clean deep fryer filled with hot water and turned on a medium setting is the perfect kitchen appliance to use to blanch tomatoes prior to peeling. Keep the water boiling in the deep fryer to blanch all your home grown vegetables prior to canning. Utilizing other kitchen appliances for home canning keeps the stove burners free for the large water bath or pressure canners.

Quick Cool Down

Hot, blanched vegetables need a quick cool down to stop the cooking process. A dip in an ice water bath stops the cooking and locks in flavor, but you’ll need to have plenty of ice on hand for this canning task. Start saving ice cubes from your in-home ice maker a few days prior to canning day or purchase a 10 bag of ice at a nearby retailer so you won’t run out of ice. An ice cold drink also revives the canner during the hot cooking process.

Work Space

A lot of work space is needed for canning and most kitchens, while adequate for day-to-day cooking tasks, lack enough surface space for all the before and after work of home canning. Create more work space by setting up an ironing board or folding table nearby. Open up a kitchen drawer and place a large cutting board on top to create more usable work space and clear off all countertop clutter to free up surface space.