Just like a squirrel packing his nest with nuts for the winter; so are home canning enthusiasts Getting Prepared for Canning and Preserving. Yes the crops have come in from your garden and if you are like most there is a surplus of fresh fruits and vegetables to deal with. So instead of being wasteful; a growing number of people are starting to learn about canning and preserving food. This is a healthy and economically sound way of providing tasteful meals for your family throughout the on-coming cold weather months.
So just what do you need to do to get prepared for canning all these wonderful fresh foods? Let’s follow this simple guide to get you ready to start on your path to successful home canning.
Basic Preparations for Canning and Preserving
As with any project you are about to begin, it always serves you best to have a plan of action beforehand. Here are some things to consider when you are preparing to can and preserve your fresh food:
Be Comfortable – wearing the right clothing can get things off to a good start.
- Enclosed shoes – it’s a good idea to wear sneakers with a good arch support because you will be standing a lot during the canning process and that is hard on your feet and back. Sometimes the food drips and supplies could get dropped; wearing enclosed shoes will protect your feet from these mishaps.
- Aprons – some people prefer to protect their clothes with an apron. If you have one, wear it.
- T-shirts and Shorts – this is my personal favorite because it is easy to move around in this type of clothing. Keep in mind that whatever you choose to wear, make sure you don’t mind getting it dirty.
- Adjust the A/C down – or bring in an extra fan to the kitchen. It will get hot in there so try to keep yourself a little cooler.
Schedule the day for Canning – canning food takes a bit of time.
- Allot Time – don’t schedule anything else on the day you plan to can your food. The preparation and processing takes up a good amount of time to complete.
- Plan your meals beforehand – either prepare a casserole that can be popped in the oven or get take out for dinner. After a day of canning you will probably be tired and not feel like cooking but you and the rest of your family still have to eat supper. So keeping this in mind before you start your canning session will ease the dilemma later.
Get the Kitchen Ready – you don’t want anything slowing down progress.
- Clear off counters – you will need the space so don’t have anything extra out that will get in the way of your canning.
- Clean the counter tops – do a quick disinfectant wipe down before you start canning to ensure the area is germ free.
- Empty the dishwasher – you will need the dishwasher to wash your jars. After they are finished you can clean as you go along and then fill the dishwasher with the canning supplies you have used. This will save the headaches of a messing kitchen after the canning project ends.
Gather Canning and Preserving Supplies – you will want everything you need on hand before you get started.
- Jars/Lids/Bands – make sure you inspect the jars for cracks or chips and wash them thoroughly in the dishwasher or hot soap water. Check the bands for signs of corrosion or bends. Replace with a new band if necessary. Only use new canning lids, these are not safely reusable.
- Check your fruits and veggies – only use unblemished fresh fruits and vegetables for canning. Wash each in cool running water using a vegetable brush to remove dirt and debris.
- Set up your canning equipment – get all your canning supplies together for the project at hand. Choose your method of canning. For instance if today’s project is freezing food then have all your freezer bags labeled and ready to go. Get out your pots for processing, colanders for draining, choppers, canning kit etc. Don’t forget the little things either like peelers, scrapers, cutting board, bowls, measuring cups; you get the picture.
Having everything ready when you are Getting Prepared for Canning and Preserving will speed up the process. Know what you need before you get started. With all the tools at your fingertips it will be a blessing in disguise as you begin your home canning project.