Today I went to the Early Spring Canning (boiling water bath canning) class at Marcel’s in Glen Ellyn.
Here are a few of my takeaways:
• Jars should always be pre-heated to 200 degrees in an oven for 15 minutes before starting boiling water canning.
• Gaskets should be boiled separately from the lids.
• After canning, rings or clips should be taken off the jars so the glass doesn’t explode if the food was not processed correctly.
• The course instructor said that I can use my large stock pot as a boiling water canner as long as I place a silicone trivet on the bottom to keep the pans from touching the steel.
• The jars we used in class were Weck jars (German company). There are special precautions for the gaskets. You can read about these here: http://weckjars.com/canning_safely.php
• The course instructor really liked the look of these, but said she uses Ball jars for home canning herself.
• Low acid foods always need to be canned in a pressure cooker. The one that was used for the rhubarb-beer jam was a Fagor pressure cooker.
• High acid foods in jars with lids will last for pretty much forever as long as they are in the refrigerator.
• High acid foods in jars don’t need special lids with gaskets or special canning practices as long as they are kept in the refrigerator.
• Three days after canning, you can check the pH of your pickle with pH strips.
• Any cloudiness in jars is probably due to the dried spices that were added.
• I did some research on canning a week before this class. Here is the best source of free information that I’ve found. I actually printed it off and put it in a binder. http://nchfp.uga.edu/publications/publications_usda.html
• The instructor told all students to do additional research on the acidity levels in different foods. Below is a chart that I found.