Once you've learned the procedures and precautions of canning, it's then just a matter of getting it all together. Always read through any recipe before beginning to prepare it. Always check your recipe to determine the number of jars you'll need. Buy the jars and lids well in advance so you're sure of an ample supply. Check all jars by eye and by feel for any cracks, nicks, or sharp edges, and check to be sure screw bands are unbent and free from rust. Don't reuse lids that have been used even once.
Next, wash and rise all the other equipment you'll need. Be sure everything is in working order, especially the dial gauge in your steam pressure canner, then assemble and prepare your ingredients.
Canning need not take hours and hours out of your day. you can prepare and process food as it ripens in your garden, perhaps putting away a canner full each day. You shouldn't prepare more food at one time than will fill one group of jars in the canner anyway, so organize canning to fit your schedule. Don't try to do anything else while you're canning. Once you've started the process, you can't stop; you must continue all the way through to the finish. If you stop in the middle for some reason, food can begin to spoil, and that's asking for trouble.
Canning takes ample work space, so plan ahead. You'll need: 1. Sink room for washing and preparing food.
2. Counter space for sorting, chopping, or cutting.
3. Range space for cooking, processing, and heating water.
4. Additional counter space for cooling jars. A sturdy table, set away from traffic and drafts, makes a good cooling area for jars.
5. Shelf space in a clean, cool, dark, dry storage area where food will not freeze.
If you've canned before, take an inventory to see how much you should put up this year. Take stock before you plan your garden, too, so you'll know how much and what to plant to put up this season. A look at what's left from last year will help you determine the size of your crops. Be sure to move last year's jars to the front of the shelf so they'll be used first. Source: Vegetable Gardening Encyclopedia Typos by Dorothy Flatman 1995 Submitted By DOROTHY FLATMAN On 10-04-95
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