Water-Bath Canning High-Acid Foods

Water-bath canning, sometimes referred to as the boiling-water method of canning, is the simplest and easiest method for preserving high-acid food. Water-bath canning destroys any active bacteria and microorganisms in your food, making it safe for consumption at a later time.

  1. Prepare equipment and utensils.

    Examine the jars for nicks or chips, the screw bands for proper fit and corrosion, and the new lids for imperfections and scratches. Wash everything in warm, soapy water, rinsing the items well and removing any soap residue.

  2. Fill your canning kettle one-half to two-thirds full of water and begin heating the water.

    Heat extra water in a saucepan as a reserve.

  3. Submerge clean jars and lids in hot, not boiling, water.

    Use your canning kettle for the jars and saucepan for the lids.

  4. Transfer prepared food into the hot jars and release any air bubbles with a nonmetallic spatula.

    Add more prepared food or liquid to the jar after releasing the air bubbles to maintain the recommended headspace.

  5. Wipe the jar rims with a clean, damp cloth.

    You need the rims clean to properly place the lids.

  6. Place a hot lid onto each jar rim and hand-tighten the screw band.

    Make sure the sealant side is touching the jar rim.

  7. Suspend the jar rack on the inside edge of your canning kettle, place the filled jars in the jar rack, and lower the jar rack into the hot water.

    Make sure the jars are standing upright and not touching each other. If your jars aren’t covered by at least 1 inch of water, add boiling water from your reserve.

  8. Cover the kettle and heat the water to a boil, reducing the heat and maintaining a gentle boil.

    Start your processing time after the water boils. Maintain a boil for the entire processing period.

  9. At the end of the processing time, remove your jars from the kettle with a jar lifter and allow them to cool.

    Place them on a clean towel or paper towels. Completely cool the jars (12 to 24 hours).

  10. Test the seals on the cooled jars by pushing on the center of the lid.

    If the lid feels solid and doesn’t indent, you have a successful vacuum seal.

  11. Remove the screw bands from your sealed jars, then wash the sealed jars and the screw bands in hot, soapy water.

    This removes any residue from the jars and screw bands.

Label your filled jars, including the date processed, and store them (without the screw bands) in a cool, dark, dry place.

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