15 Common Canning Questions Answered
The act of canning your home-grown or store-bought food is becoming increasingly popular as people begin to realize the precariousness of our food growing and food distribution system.
If you're interested in beginning to can your own food, I think you will find these 15 common questions and answers very helpful.
What does the canning process involve?
The canning process involves placing foods in jars and heating them to a temperature that destroys microorganisms that could be a health hazard or cause the food to spoil. It's a lost art that has become much more popular in light of the uncertainty of our current times.
Why is canning food important?
We have begun to realize how valuable our homegrown produce is and that it’s worthy of spending a few extra hours preparing by canning so we can have some winter convenience food of our own making. It is also a way to consume less processed foods.
And since the jars are simply placed on a shelf, there is no worry that the food will be ruined during a power outage.
What are some of the reasons that canning lids do not seal properly?
There are many. Here is a list of the most common.
- The top rim of the jar wasn't clean. Part of the canning process is wiping the top rim carefully to remove any food particles before adding the lid and ring.
- The jar wasn't filled properly. Leaving the specified amount of headspace in a jar is important to assure a vacuum seal. If too little headspace is allowed, the food may expand and bubble out when air is being forced out from under the lid during processing.
- The ring was too tight. If the rings are screwed down too tightly, those air bubbles don't have a way to escape and can cause your lids to buckle. Leaving the rings a little loose lets that oxygen escape without incident. The lids will form their seal as the jars cool.
- The jars weren't processed long enough or at the proper temperature.
- Tampering with jars as they're cooling. Allow the processed jars to rest untouched for 24 hours. Moving or inverting the jars could cause a seal failure. If a ring loosens during the processing time do not re-tighten it, as this could interfere with the seal forming.
What's the difference between pressure canning and water bath canning?
A pressure canner heats the food at a higher temperature than the water bath canner, with pressurized steam hotter than the temperature of boiling water. The big difference between water bath canning and pressure canning is: high-acid foods are canned with the water bath, low-acid foods with the pressure canner.
Water Bath Canner
A boiling water bath canner cannot surpass 212 degrees Fahrenheit. A Pressure Canner brings jar temperatures up to 240-250 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature can be reached only by creating steam under pressure. At this temperature, we can be assured that 100% of bacteria is killed.