You’ve planted your garden and thanks to your green fingers, it produced an abundance of beautiful fruits and vegetables. You eat some, but not sure what to do with the rest? You can freeze some, but there’s another, very rewarding way of storing excess produce: preserving.
Although traditional, preserving excess homegrown produce has been almost forgotten, until recently, as people have become more and more aware of the advantages of home grown fruits and vegetables, cutting costs as well as additives in our food. So with the rise in home growing comes the question of preserving the harvest. Freezing is definitely an option, but preserving your produce in jars can also be very rewarding. You can create a whole host of different delicacies that can be enjoyed in the years to come. Homemade products also make beautiful and thoughtful presents.
Canning is surprisingly easy and safe. You do need to however follow recipes precisely to avoid bacteria forming in your food, by either not adding enough preserving ingredients, or not processing them correctly.
You can buy specialist equipment for canning, however, you can easily do with a few basics – large stainless steel pot, few tea towels (or towels) and large tongs for handling hot jars. The one thing you definitely shouldn’t skimp on though are jars. You need to make sure the jars you purchase are suitable for canning, as they need to be able to withstand high temperatures, so mustn’t have any cracks or bubbles, which would make them unstable. Another thing that must be always used brand new (jars can be used time and time again, provided they are in perfect condition) are the seals of your jars. No matter what type of jar and closing system you use, whether it’s a glass top, or screw top, or crimped top, the rubber gasket you use must not be reused, as that might compromise it’s seal and your food could be spoiled.
Generally, the lids should be bent inwards, as that signifies that vacuum has been created, and you should hear a loud popping sound once the jar is opened. If that doesn’t happen, your seals were probably not tight and air was able to enter the jar, in which case you should not consume the contents.