Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Canning 101 - Safety

Just like you shouldn’t cross the street without looking for cars, you shouldn’t can food without following some safety guidelines.  

Understand that in the air and all around are invisible microorganisms; mold, yeasts and bacteria.  Some of these are good, but others are not under certain conditions.  Canning interrupts the natural process of spoiling through heating foods in sealed containers.  The heat destroys the harmful microorganisms and at the same time, air is driven from the jar forming a seal, preventing the harmful bacteria from entering and contaminating the food.  If we ignore the safety aspect of canning, we run the risk of racing out into the street and harming ourselves or our family.

·       Inspect your jars for nicks, cracks and sharp edges.  Do not use if you find any.

·       Do not use any rusted or bent lids or screw bands.

·       Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for lids.  In general they should be washed with hot soapy water and rinsed.  They are typically held in hot water until needed during the canning process.

·       Eliminate air bubbles in jars using a bubble freer (nonmetallic), and pack food into the jar leaving the recommended head space.   Anywhere from 1/8” to 1”, so read the instructions.

·       Only use canning jars.  Do not reuse glass containers from the grocery store.  They are not made to withstand the heat and/or pressure required.

·       Never pour boiling water or hot food into a room temperature jar.  Your jars should be washed, rinsed and left sitting in hot water until needed during the canning process.  Do not heat your jars in the oven.  You can also leave them in your dishwasher until ready as long as the machine keeps the jars hot.  I start using mine when the machine is on the drying cycle. 

·       Never put a room temperature jar into boiling water.

·       Do not place a hot processed jar on a cool or wet surface, you risk the jar shattering.

·       Always use nonmetallic utensils.

·       Do not use wire brushes or steel wool to clean jars, they can damage the glass.

·       Of course, be careful when handling the hot water or hot food.  Use the jar lifter; it’s not there just to look good.

Hope the information is helpful.   Let me know if you have any questions.


  1. Good basics and I do this however I have never heard of a bubble freer. What does it look like. I have just used a clean knife in the past.

    1. maybe this will help. I've read you're not to use a metal knife, or metal anything while canning. Not sure why.



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