Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Guest Post: How to Can Garden Produce

By Bailey Harris. Bailey writes for

If you are worried about your family eating fresh and healthy foods on a budget, you may want to consider growing and canning your own garden produce. At first, the thought of canning your own foods may seem a little overwhelming, but the process is actually very straightforward and easy.

Supplies Needed for Canning Produce

Before you can begin canning your own garden produce, you will need to be sure that you have all the correct supplies. At first it may seem quite expensive, but many of your supplies can be reused. Supplies that will be needed include a recipe, canning salt, canning jars, new lids, new rings, a stainless steel funnel, jar lifters, and either a pressure canner or a boiling water bath canner. You will also need a fairly large workspace and a couple of hours of time

Pressure Canning vs. Water Bath Canning

When you are canning your own food, it is very important to heat it to the correct temperature. This will kill all of the bacteria that can grow and make your canned food unhealthy. If you are canning foods that have a high acid content, such as tomatoes, fruits, or pickles, you may use the boiling water bath method. This method is very simple and inexpensive. If you are canning foods that are not high in acid content, such as vegetables or meat, you will need to use a pressure canner. A pressure canner may seem a little pricey, but it is usually a onetime purchase that will last many years.

Cooling and Testing the Jars

Once you have heated your canned items to the correct temperature, using either the water bath or pressure canning method, you will need to let your jars completely cool. This can be done by simply letting your jars sit on the counter, at room temperature, for 12 to 24 hours. Once they have cooled, you will want to check that the lids are sealed. To test the lids, simply press down in the middle of the lid, if it does not move it is properly sealed. If the lid moves then it is not properly sealed and should be placed in the refrigerator and eaten before it spoils.

Storing Canned Produce

Once your produce has been canned and cooled, it must be labeled, dated, and stored. It is best to store your canned produce in a clean, cool, dry, and dark place. Try to keep your canned goods away from direct light, this can cause discoloration. Most canned foods should be used within one year. Canned items start to lose flavor, texture, color, and nutrients if they sit on the shelf for more than one year.

Growing your own garden and canning your own produce can be a fun and economical way to spend some great time together as a family. It can be very rewarding to see, eat, and enjoy the canned produce knowing that everyone in the family had some part in making it and that you did it together.


  1. One of my favorite things to can is meat with veggies... it's so easy to do and looks so yummy sitting in the pantry waiting to be heated!

  2. YES!!! NOW is the time to plant your gardens and can the produce!!!! I know, I know it's SUMMER for crying out loud BUT IF you can plant some things NOW then YOU can give some as gifts for Christmas!!!! WHY NOT? How about canning some tomato sauce from those fresh picked tomatoes and Basil from your garden and then buying some GOOD pasta and home made bread sticks all put beautifully in a basket? Or if you got young ones your thinking about again those home grown tomatoes canned and offered in a a basket with home made pizza dough and some mozzarella cheese and favorite toppings? Now is a GREAT time to be thinking about the gift giving season and planting your gifts!!!!

  3. When short on time, you can also freeze many vegetables. I found a number of YouTube videos where they were freezing entire tomatoes. One guy, Zone6 Bill, was quite entertaining and showed how you could vacuum pack your freezer bags with a straw. --Linda