Saturday, August 13, 2011

Can you can?

Two years ago, I'd never ever canned food.  It always seemed pretty mysterious to me.  Then I had an unexpected bounty harvest of tomatoes, and I figured I'd give it a try.  And after one round of canning, I was hooked.

If you're as new to canning as I was, you think that the canning process is the hard part.  No, the thing that takes the longest is preparing the food -- that is, making the tomato sauce.  (And really, I had so many tomatoes already, I was going to have to spend serious time on them somehow anyway.)  But if you can make tomato sauce, you can can.  Because all you do after you make the sauce and put it in jars is . . .

 . . . ready for the mysterious part yet? . . .


That's it.

I thought it would be trickier than that, and it's not.  Now, it's true that you can only can acidic things (tomatoes and fruits are great).  To can things like chicken broth or pumpkin, you need a pressure canner.   I found that google-ing "how to can salsa" or "how to can applesauce" took me straight to some great websites with lovely step-by-step directions.  This post isn't about how to can, it's just encouragement not to be scared of it.

Here's my own salsa-making excursion for this year.
First make the salsa.  There's a lot, so it takes a while.  After this, everything is easy.
Put the salsa into clean glass canning jars.

Put on the lid.  Because you can reuse rings, I store the unused ones on a bent hangar.
Boil the jars in a large pot with water covering them all.  For salsa, this takes about 15 minutes.
Take the jars out, and let them cool.  All done!

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