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Thread: Home Canning

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    #1

    Home Canning

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    Hi all, So I was wondering if there were any home canners out there. I think I would like to start doing this as I have about 8 tomatoe plants that are chock full of green tomatoes at the moment. They are all going to turn red at the same time and by the time they do I am going to be alone. So I don't want all my head work of growing and caring for the plants to go to waste. So I was thinking about investing in some home canning equipment and recipes.

    So here are my questions. Do you home can? If so what have your experience been? What things are most important to have to can? Do you suggest any books? Do you suggest any websites to learn about or obtain home canning equipment?

    I use to watch my grandmother do this and I wish she was still around to learn from. I have also been thinking about making homemade yogurt as well. I am feeling very "retro" these days. Look forward to hearing about your experiences.
    ~ Sara ~
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    #2
    The best book I have for home canning has been Ball Blue Book® Guide to Preserving | The Fresh Preserving Store .

    I actually don't can tomatoes, unless I make salsa. I freeze them.

    I also only hot-water bath can, I don't pressure can. Most of what I make are jams, jellies, apple butter, and some different pickled vegetables. Splurge on the best items you can afford. They really will last for years. Get two of the wide mouth funnels to have on hand for filling jars. It's handy to have a second available when you're doing a lot at one time. And get a jar lifter. Some people think that you can wait on that and get the jars out with something else. Kitchen tongs just will not lift the jars out.

    The best thing I learned from my mom, was to have my husband cut some 2X4 boards to fit on the table. I lift the jars out of the water bath and put them on the boards to cool. It creates lots of space on a surface that won't get damaged from the heat.

    I really enjoy canning and freezing stuff, I hope you have fun with it!
    Last edited by Lynn; 07-21-2011 at 08:34 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by LynnAFWife View Post
    The best book I have for home canning has been Ball Blue Book® Guide to Preserving | The Fresh Preserving Store .

    I actually don't can tomatoes, unless I make salsa. I freeze them.

    I also only hot-water bath can, I don't pressure can. Most of what I make are jams, jellies, apple butter, and some different pickled vegetables. Splurge on the best items you can afford. They really will last for years. Get two of the wide mouth funnels to have on hand for filling jars. It's handy to have a second available when you're doing a lot at one time. And get a jar lifter. Some people think that you can wait on that and get the jars our with something else. Kitchen tongs just will not lift the jars out.

    The best thing I learned from my mom, was to have my husband cut some 2X4 boards to fit on the table. I lift the jars out of the water bath and put them on the boards to cool. It creates lots of space on a surface that won't get damaged from the heat.

    I really enjoy canning and freeing stuff, I hope you have fun with it!
    To the bolded, my mom (who is a canner, freezer, preserver, etc) says the best thing to do with tomatoes is to blanch, peel and seed them, put them in a freezer bag and freeze them. Then you can use them as you would canned tomatoes (i.e. soups, stews, tomato sauce, etc.)

    And I totally agree with the rest! I just made my first batch of jelly yesterday, actually. My mom and I made pepper jelly. It's really not as hard as you think it is. Mom says just follow the recipie

    "Baby. I'll love you forever." ~ DB
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    me...me..pick me...

    I have canned for years. I have done jams, pie fillings, pickles and relishes, fruit, applesauce and tomato sauce.

    I also recommend the Ball Blue Book! I have used that each and every time I canned things.

    Canning is a bit of rocket science. You have to use the correct headspace in your jars, things need to be constantly wiped clean, but it isnt hard. The easiest things to can are jams and pickles. Peaches are a big pain in the butt but we loved home canned peaches. I used to can pears and color them red and green for the holidays.

    If you have any questions you can feel free to PM me any time.
    Jen
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    Thanks ladies for all the info. I really do think I would like to start canning. My Mom use to freeze tomatoes and tomato sauce but I always remember it getting freezer burned. I would like to hold on to stuff for a few months until DH gets back on from his upcoming deployment.

    Is there any particular reason you did not can tomatoes? Is it harder to can them then to just freeze them? I would like to make homemade salsa and tomato sauce with them any thoughts?

    I will look into the Ball Blue Book. Thanks again and I hope to swap some more information with you all once I get started.
    ~ Sara ~
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    I didnt can whole tomatoes because I would not use them in that form. I did buy a food mill thing, and I would press the tomatoes through that and then cook them down into a thicker sauce. I have also canned salsa.
    Jen
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    I can every summer, I have done diced tomatoes, salsa, I just did an awesome roasted tomato sauce We also did a chili base and basic pasta sauce. I only do water bath canning, it's huge in the Pac NW so all the stores carry basic canning supplies. the tools I use the most are my huge canning pot with rack, and a jar lifter. I also have a handy tool that gets rid of air bubbles and measures headspace. The ball jar website has lots of recipes from their books.
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    Sweet thanks. I am trying decide if I should buy the pressure caner or not. I have a huge like 7 gallon sized pot that we use to brew home brew beer in so I was thinking I can used that pot to do the water bath caning in. If i understood what I was reading I don't need a special pot for the water bath caning just one large enough.

    As for the tomato caning I was not planning on caning whole tomatoes, but to process them into salsas, sauces, chili bases things like that.

    I am really excited that there are so many people on here that do can.
    ~ Sara ~
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    I have a beautiful pressure canner that I have never used. I have only ever done water bath canning using my mother's old canner. Then a lady across the street gave me another canner. I do use the canning rack. I would say if a canning rack sits inside the pot you want to use then go for it. I never lift the canning rack full of jars. I take the jars one by one out of the canner with the jar lifter. I have had jars break in the canner...not so much fun when it is peaches full of sugary syrup. I always make sure there is no cool air blowing on the hot jars when they come out of the canner so they don't crack or break.

    Canning is a lot of fun. I haven't canned anything in a couple of years, but all of my children are teens and preteens and we are away from home more than we are at home these days.

    Best of luck...
    Jen
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    #10
    Ok so I just ordered canning supplies. Still have to go get the Jars and lids. But I was wondering if anyone had a Salsa Recipe they wanted to share? I have a ton of peppers, tomatoes, and cilantro in the gardens. Thanks in Advance.
    ~ Sara ~
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