PRESSURE CANNING STEPS
Fresh, perfect, uniformly sized vegetables should be selected for canning. That means you have to spend time picking over the vegetables, discarding poor quality pieces, and sorting canning quality vegetables by size. For many vegetables, uniform size is important for even, thorough processing. Asparagus, green beans, carrots, lima beans, beets, corn, greens, okra, peas, and summer squash should all be tender, young, just ripe, and as freshly picked as possible. Water and salt or a salt-sugar mixture, are the only other ingredients used in most recipes. Since the salt normally is used only for flavoring, you may omit it without affecting the canning process in any way. Also, the salt-sugar mixture used to enhance the flavors of peas, beets, and corn; made by simply mixing one part salt with two parts sugar, added two teaspoons at a time to each pint jar before sealing, may be omitted.
The canning steps described in part 2 of this recipe will give you an idea of the proper sequence of steam pressure canning steps, but you must ALWAYS follow the manufacturers instructions for heating, venting, and general operation of your canner. It's a good idea to review the manufacturers directions at the start of each canning season.
Always check the dial gauge of your canner at the beginning of each canning season to be sure it's accurate. Be sure to clean the petcock and safety valve too. This can be done by drawing a string through the openings. When processing foods, never skimp on the processing times. Even the most perfect vegetables can be spoiled if not heated long enough. Keep the heat even under your canner, so that the temperature and pressure won't vary. For perfect steam pressure canned vegetables, follow these basic steps: 1. Select perfect, just mature, and very fresh vegetables that are free from blemishes or decay. Sort them by size and maturity and handle the ones that are alike together. Prepare only enough for one canner load at a time.
2. Set out all the ingredients and equipment. Wash and dry all the equipment, counter tops, working surfaces, and your hands. Check jars for nicks and cracks, then wash and rinse the jars, lids, and screw bands. Keep the jars hot in hot water or in the dishwasher on its dry cycle. Prepare the lids as the manufacturer directs (usually simmers at 180 degrees F and keep in hot water until ready to use).
3. Wash the vegetables very carefully, using several changes of washing and rinsing water and scrubbing them with a brush before breaking the skin. Remember that botulism bacteria are in the soil, and only thorough washing will eliminate them from the vegetables. Be sure that you lift the vegetables out of the rinse water to drain.
4. Prepare the vegetables as each recipe directs; cutting, peeling, or precooking only enough for one canner load of jars at a time.
5. Completing one jar at a time, pack the vegetables into the jars, leaving head space as the recipe directs. Stand the hot jar on a wood surface or on a cloth while filling it.
6. Pour boiling water, cooking liquid, or juice into the packed jars to the level given in the recipe.
7. Release air bubbles by running a slim nonmetal tool or plastic bubble freer down along the inside of each jar. pour in additional boiling water, if necessary, to bring the liquid back up to the level specified in the recipe.
8. Wipe the tops and threads of each jar with a clean, damp cloth.
9. Put on lids and screw bands as the manufacturer directs. Tighten bands firmly by hand. Never use a jar wrench or any other device to tighten them.
Continued in Basic Steps For Steam Pressure Canning B Source: Vegetable Gardening Encyclopedia Typos by Dorothy Flatman 1995 Submitted By DOROTHY FLATMAN On 10-04-95