Original Air Date: July 21, 2018
To preserve the harvest, you a have a few options. Canning, Freezing, Cold Storage, Fermentation/Pickling, and Dehydration.
Let’s start with canning.
What is Canning?
Canning is called ‘canning because it originally was done in, you guessed it, tin cans. Today home canning is done solely in glass jars, Mason or Ball jars. The glass jar with the metal insert with a rubber gasket and metal sealing ring has been in used since the early 1900’s and it is still the standard. The heat and the rubber seal creates a vacuum in the jar that prevents any air from contaminating the food inside the jar.
High Acid vs. Low Acid Foods
There are two ways to ‘process’ canning jars and it is extremely important note the difference. Hot Water Bath canning is only for high acid foods (4.6pH or lower) like fruits, jelly, tomatoes, and veggies in a vinegar brine like pickles. Low acid vegetable like beans and corn (4.6 pH or high) must be processed in a pressure canner – MUST be done with the high pressure and high temperatures reached in a pressure canner. So, let’s go over this again because it is too important to overlook. The water bath techniques, (and this is a general look not a detailed how-to lesson), consists of the jars, lids and rims; a big pot with a rack. You’ll need a jar lifter to grab the very hot jars out of the boiling water and a large mouth funnel to pour the hot food into the warmed jars.
High Acid Examples
Tomatoes, jams, pickles, salsa, dilly beans, rhubarb compote and pickled beets are acidic enough to use the water bath method. I make a fresh salsa with tomatillos, Sweet onions, sweet peppers and a hot pepper (not too much for me), Basil, olive oil and some vinegar, balsamic or apple cider, and a little salt. It is a fantastic salsa fresh. I can a version of this, I follow a Ball recipe and use it all winter. The idea is simple; high acid foods are canned in a water bath; low acids foods in a pressure canner.
Low Acid Examples
Low acid foods, peas, String beans, corn, carrots, all meats need to be process with the high heat and the pressure of a pressure canner. This is a non-negotiable fact. Poisoning from Botulism is just to dangerous to fool around a risk. This is why I insist you get a book from the library or online instructions on using a pressure canner if you want to preserve vegetable. It is another one of the tools gardeners need to know about to store the harvest until next season.