Essential summer canning tips

If you want to eat locally ― and eat well ― year-round, can your own fresh fruit and vegetables.

Getting ready:

1. Gather equipment: canning jars with matching metal lids and rings, a boiling-water canner with rack, a widemouthed funnel, tongs, and a jar lifter. Most hardware stores carry these basics.
PIckle and condiments recipes

2. Fill canner with water and heat it up. The canner should be two-thirds full for pint and half-pint jars; half-full for quart jars. Set rack on pan rim and cover pan. Over high heat, bring water to a boil (180° to 185° for pickles); this takes 30 to 45 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, wash canning jars and rings in a dishwasher and hand-wash lids; drain. For jam only, sterilize the washed jars too: When water in canner boils, place jars on rack, lower into water, and boil for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to a simmer and keep jars in water until needed.

4. Nest lids inside rings in a saucepan and cover with water. Heat until small bubbles form (do not boil). Remove pan from heat and cover.5 Rinse produce, then prepare as recipe directs.
Easy homemade jams & preserves

Fill and seal jars:

1. Ladle foods into jars through a wide funnel or arrange with fingers, leaving the headspace (the distance between jar rim and food) specified by the recipe. If the last jar isn't completely full, let cool, then serve or chill; do not process.

2. Release air bubbles in chunky mixtures: Gently run a knife around inside of jars. Wipe jar rims and threads with a clean, damp cloth so that lids will seal.

SEE ALL THE STEPS IN THE CANNING PROCESS

Related:
30 ways to savor summer's harvest
Summer pies
6 DIY mustards