I always thought that preparing food ahead and canning or freezing in bulk was something you did on a farm or if you lived a long way out of town.  I have found that canning and freezing food ahead of time while overseas can save my sanity!  One thing I have learned is that you have to do everything you can to make life a little easier when you live in a place where everything is harder! 

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Simple Steps for Easy Canning

Don’t let the thought of canning your own veggies scared you!  Although it may be intimidating, it is possible and not as hard as you may think!

Things I Use the Most:

  • A pressure caner (if you want to can lots of quarts, you will need a bigger canner)
  • Canning Tools
  • Canning Jars & Lids (pint and quart are the most popular)
  • Canning Book (There are so many pressure canning books out there!  I love the older edition of this book simply because of the charts and recipes for anything under the sun!)
  1.  Start a kettle or Hot Pot of water to boil.  Decide what you are going to can and prepare it to fit in the jars.  I usually can carrots, green beans, red beans, and sometimes sweet potatoes and corn when it is available.  These are all things that take forever to cook here and tend to be a little tough.  I also choose things that I can pull out and make something with in a hurry, like chili with the red beans. 

2. Season jars.  (This is optional.  For green beans I often put a piece of bacon, 1/4 an onion, salt and pepper.  I might add a little sugar to the carrots if they aren’t very sweet.)

3.  Pour boiling water over the lids in a separate bowl and over the veggies in the jars.  You will want to leave about 1/2 – 1 inches of space in the jar. 

4.  Wipe the jar rim with a clean towel.  Use the magnet tool to remove the lids from the hot water.  Shake off excess water and tighten on the jars, finger tight. 

5. To prepare the canner, fill with water only to the bottom mark etched on the inside of the pot.  Add 2 Tablespoons of vinegar to the water to prevent discoloration of the aluminum lids.  Make sure the pressure gage is attached and the air vent/cover lock is in place over the pressure valve. 

6.  Place jars in the water and seal the lid in place.  You can place the canner over an open flame until the correct pressure is reached.  This changes based on elevation, but typically, you will want about 11 lbs of pressure.  Lower heat when the pressure is reached to keep it steady and set a timer based on the type of food you are canning. (Having a book handy for looking up times based on food and size of jars is essential!)

7.  When the correct time has passed, turn off the fire and let the canner sit until the pressure gage has gone back to zero and the pressure button on the front of the lid has dropped.  After the pressure has dropped, remove the lid and take the jars out with the jar lifting tool.  Place them in a safe place to cool.  As they cool, the lids will start popping into place.  Check for lids that didn’t seal after the jars are cool.  If you have any unsealed, put them in the refrigerator instead of on the shelf. 

Although it seems like a lot of steps to go through, it really gets quite easy the more you can.  I have already done red beans, grean beans, corn, carrots, sweet potatoes, and pickles.  I have even used the canner to cook chicken carcasses and ham bones down for delicious broth!

What are your favorite methods to make food prep easier where you live?  Comment Below!

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