How to Can Produce from Your Garden

Canning your produce is a great way to enjoy fresh, homegrown fruits and vegetables year-round. Not only is it cost-effective, it's an efficient way to preserve your garden's harvest ' especially if it produced an abundance of vegetables or fruits in a short period of time.

There are ways to choose from when canning produce; water bath and pressure canning. Water bath canning is ideal for acidic produce like tomatoes, cucumbers in vinegar, berries and apples. Pressure canning is better suited for low-acidic produce like carrots, corn, peas, mushrooms and pumpkin.

Water Bath Canning

To start, you'll need a large pot, big enough to fit whatever size canning jars you'd like to use, jar lifters, canning jars and some canning salt (optional). Canning salt isn't a must-have, but a pinch can add flavor to your vegetables.

Once your supplies are ready, follow these steps:

  • Fill your pot with enough water to cover your canning jars at least one inch above the lid
  • Place your filled, sealed jars into the boiling pot of water
  • Wait for the water to return to a full 'rolling' boil
  • Allow jars to process, listening for a 'pop' (most produce takes between 2-3 hours)
  • Once you hear the 'pops,' remove the jars with your jar lifters and allow them to cool in an upright position until they reach room temperature
  • Store and enjoy!

Pressure Canning

Pressure canning will allow you to process a wider range of produce. They can vary in price, from $50-$200. Once you have a pressure canner and the rest of your supplies ready, just follow these steps:

  • Fill your pressure canner with about 3-4 inches of water
  • Bring the water to a boil
  • Place filled jars inside the pressure canner
  • Lock the lid
  • Vent your pressure canner for about the first 10 minutes
  • Add weight or close the petcock for 3-10 minutes
  • Read the gauge to determine pressure (most vegetables require 10 lbs of pressure)
  • Once you have reached the desired pressure, allow the produce to cook for its designated time (your pressure canner may even have a guide)
  • When the time is up, release the petcock, allowing all of the steam to rise out naturally
  • Remove the lid and the jars inside
  • Allow jars to cool on a towel until they are at or near room temperature ' cool-to-touch
  • Cover with clean lids (check seals)
  • Store as needed