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Old 10-20-2008, 08:43 AM   #1
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First Time Canning And Really Nervous!

Yeah, I'm a nerd.

I just really don't have the money or resources to mess up too much. So can anyonehere reassure me? I mean, it's pretty hard to mess up canning if you're going off of basic recipes and you're careful of your processing, right?

Also, I'm using one of those big granitewear bath process dealies. It's huge and i'm worried that my biggest burner isn't going to be big enough to heat it up. It's ok to put the pot right on the burner, jah?

Thanks.

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Old 10-20-2008, 08:54 AM   #2
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Canning is easy and safe as long as you follow the instructions exactly. The best advice I can give you is to buy the Ball Blue Book. it is the canning bible. It is inexpensive (should cost about $5) and will tell you exactly what you should and should not do with step by step instructions. It is sold in most places that sell canning supplies.

Your pot will heat up. it might take some time, but it will heat up. Start with hot tap water to give yourself a jump start. then the burner does not have to work as hard.
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Old 10-20-2008, 10:34 AM   #3
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If you can't find a Blue Book, you can find approved canning methods right here: National Center for Home Food Preservation

Lots of recipes and instructions--a great site.
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Old 10-20-2008, 10:46 AM   #4
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Ball Canning also has a Message Board just for canning and preserving questions, but you really need to get the Ball Blue Book of Preserving and read it since it is the canner's bible. It has lots of valuable information and recipes.

For your Boiling Water Canner, do a test run and fill it about 3/4 full of water, put the lid on, and turn the heat up to high and see how long it takes to come to a full rolling boil. That's what will be required.

Keep in mind that a Boiling Water Canner is used only for "high-acid' food/recipes such as jams, jellies and pickles/pickled vegetables. For regular vegetables and meats you have to use a pressure canner.
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Old 10-24-2008, 06:54 PM   #5
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Whether it's my large water bath canner or my pressure canner, I center them over two burners on my gas stove. Are you canning anything yet?
Do you have a good recipe?
Some pointers are:
Prepare your jars the day before and sterilize moments before you need them.
Do you have a jar filler funnel, it makes things easier.
Only make a batch as large as you can fit into the canner, then while they are done and cooling down, you can start the next batch.
Don't over process pickles, they may get soft or soggy. Don't under process either.
The day after canning, get some adhesive labels and mark them for your product and the year you made it.
HTH ~Bliss
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Old 10-24-2008, 07:25 PM   #6
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Jars no longer need to be sterilized before canning if they will be filled with food and processed in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes or more or if they will be processed in a pressure canner. Jars that will be processed in a boiling water bath canner for less than 10 minutes, once filled, need to be sterilized first by boiling them in hot water for 10 minutes before they're filled.

National Center for Home Food Preservation | Canning FAQs
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Old 10-24-2008, 08:52 PM   #7
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Oh and one more thing, put cold jars into the canner when the canner has cold water in it, and hot jars into the canner when it has hot water in it, or the jars may crack from the temperature difference. Get them to the same temperature. ~Bliss
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Old 10-25-2008, 06:59 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by annofmontana View Post
i'm worried that my biggest burner isn't going to be big enough to heat it up. It's ok to put the pot right on the burner, jah?

Thanks.
Just make sure you keep the lid on the canner while you're heating it up and have the jars in. Otherwise it may not come to a boil. I had a similar problem and keeping the lid on fixed it.

Another tip, if a recip calls for vinegar and doesnt specify which type, go with cider vinegar instead of white vinegar. I like sour pickles but the white vinegar makes them WAY too sour, cider vinegar is just right.
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Old 10-25-2008, 07:42 PM   #9
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If a recipe does not specify a vinegar it is generally assumed to be distilled white vinegar with a 5% acidity (it will be marked on the bottle label as 5% Acidity). Sometimes this is noted somewhere in an introductory part of a book of canning recipes and if someone just pulls a recipe out and doesn't post that information there can be a problem with food safety.

If you want to use cider vinegar for the difference in flavor make sure the label says it's 5% acidity to insure it will not alter the acidity and safety of the recipe.
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Old 10-27-2008, 09:43 AM   #10
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I mark my jars on the lid with a Sharpie. Don't put masking tape or labels on the jars--they are hard to take off.

No Sharpie? Use a crayon, while the jars are still hot.
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