Canning Foods at Home
February 17, 2023

If done correctly, canned food is a secure and efficient method to preserve food items. In the process, the enzymes that could make food rot are also eliminated. In the process of heating, the air is taken out of the jar, and when it cools, the seal of a vacuum is created. The seal blocks air from being able to return to the food item and brings in microorganisms that could infect the food.

To ensure that food items are safe to be eaten and to avoid food-born illness, canning methods based on research should be utilized. Botulism is among the most often-reported food-born illnesses that are linked to canning food products that are kept at your home.

Safe Canning Methods

There are three different methods for canning, based on the type of food item to be canned. There are the boil water methods, steam-based atmospheric canner methods, and pressure canner techniques.

The boiling bath method is the technique of canning foods in boiling water baths, and it is safe for fruits, tomatoes, and pickles, along with preserves, jams, and similar products. This method requires that food jars are heated after they are coated with a water bath that is boiling (212 degrees Fahrenheit).

Food items that are high in acid (pH at 4.6 or less) have sufficient acid content to make sure that the Clostridium botulinum spores don’t grow and create their deadly toxin. Food items with high acid content include fruits and well-picked vegetables. They can be preserved at temperatures of boiling water. For instance, figs and tomatoes have pH levels of 4.6.

Pressure Canning: It is the sole method that is safe to can foods with low acidity (those that have a pH greater than 4.6). This applies to all types of vegetables, meats and seafood, poultry, and other types of meats. They then get heated to a minimum of 240 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature can only be reached by an air canner.

Choosing a Recipe

Be cautious when choosing a canning recipe. The recipes should be designed specifically for the process of canning your chosen type of fruit or vegetable. They should only be taken from research-based sources such as those from the USDA or the National Center for Home Food Preservation and Extension sources. The recipe’s instructions must include components, the preparation process of ingredients, as well as the processing time needed to ensure proper acidification of food products.

If you’re canning food at an altitude greater than 1000 feet, be sure you be aware of any changes that may occur to the food product. Recipes for canned food are usually created for altitudes that are below 1,000 feet. If you’re at an elevation higher than that, processing time might need to be altered.