Canning Vegetables from the Garden: Water Bath Canning?
The first thing you need to know before starting to can vegetables from your garden is how do you get rid of the smell?
If you are like most people, then it’s not going to be easy. There are several methods for getting rid of the smell but none of them work all the time. You might have to use one method every once in awhile or even never at all. One way to solve this problem is to make a solution out of vinegar and water which will kill any bacteria that may be growing inside the vegetable. Another option would be to just let the smell go away naturally over time.
Another issue with using a water bath is you’re going to lose some of your food quality because you won’t get enough oxygen into the jars during boiling time. A good alternative is to use a pressure canner.
Pressure canners allow you to heat up the jars in a pot of water rather than boiling them. This allows for better air circulation within the jar while cooking.
How To Make A Solution For Killing Bacteria And Other Fungi In Your Vegetables
There are many different ways to make a solution for killing bacteria and other fungi in your vegetables but I’m going to show you one that works well for me. If you don’t want to take the time to do this, then just wash all your vegetables thoroughly and get rid of the smell by letting them sit in the sun for a bit.
Vinegar solution for cleaning and canning vegetables
1 gallon of white vinegar
10-15 garlic cloves (optional)
Take your one gallon container and fill it up with white vinegar. You may want to add 10-15 garlic cloves at this time as well for added flavor.
Let the container sit out in the open for several days (or even a week) to allow for the strong smell of the vinegar to dissipate.
Soaking The Vegetables Before Canning
Now that you have your solution ready, it’s time to prep the vegetables before canning them. The first thing you need to do is prepare your jars by wiping them down with a damp cloth.
Make sure the rims are clean as well. Place the lids in a small pot of water and bring it to a boil. Boil them for at least five minutes to sterilize them.
Wash your vegetables well. Cut off any bruises, bad spots, or critters (you don’t want to find out you’ve been eating garden snails!)
Take your time when you’re doing this because a lot of your veggies are going to be cooked whole and you don’t want them to be too small. Here are some common vegetables I can and the way I prepare them.
Feel free to modify the amounts based on how much of each vegetable you usually eat.
This is pretty easy although they do take up a lot of room in your jars. You can cut them up or leave them whole.
I usually leave them whole because they don’t take up as much room that way. Just make sure they are washed really well.
I hate peeling onions so I like to freeze peas instead of putting up a bunch of cans of them.
I usually shred carrots into smaller pieces before canning them. This makes it easier to use when cooking or eating.
I just run the carrot strips through a food processor to make the shredding go faster.
I always liked to eat canned corn so I learned how to do it a long time ago. It takes a little bit of time but it’s pretty easy and everybody loves opening up a jar of corn in the middle of winter!
I don’t can beets too often but they’re really easy to prepare. You just peel off the skin and then chop them up.
Add a little salt to your jars if you want and then fill them up and put the lids and rings on.
I like to can a mixture of green, red, and yellow bell peppers. I usually don’t seed them unless they are going to be chopped up in sauce or something.
I am an absolute fanatic for tomatoes. I can them in just about any way you can think of.
I usually make a big batch of pasta sauce with both tomatoes and Rotel.
The Easiest Way To Can Tomatoes
I like to peel and chop them first. I’m sure you could just can the tomatoes whole but it takes up more room in the jars and I don’t mind the extra step.
1. Peel and chop your tomatoes.
You can pull off any big pieces of stem but I usually don’t bother since I’m going to be using a food processor anyway.
2. Run the tomatoes and any juice through a food processor or blender to chop everything up.
You want it to be on the chunky side since it will be strained later.
3. Place a medium-sized pot on the stove and fill it about 1/4 of the way with water.
Bring it to a boil and then turn the heat down to low so it’s just kept on a slow simmer.
4. Place a mesh strainer over a another medium-sized pot and put a cup or so of the tomato mixture in the mesh strainer.
Use a spoon to mush it all up to get as much juice out of it as you can.
5. Continue taking spoonfuls of the tomato mixture and mushing it until you have strained all of it and you should have about 1 1/2 cups of liquid, this is called tomato juice.
6. Add 1/4 tsp of ascorbic acid to the tomato juice and stir it in.
Ascorbic acid is vitamin c. This helps to keep the tomatoes from turning nasty colors.
You can get ascorbic acid at a pharmacy and it’s a really healthy thing to take anyway, so you might as well buy a bottle even if you don’t can tomatoes.
7. Fill your jars with the hot tomato juice leaving 1/2 inch of space at the top.
Wipe the rims of the jars clean and place your lids and rings on.
8. Now you are ready to either process your jars or just put them in the fridge.
I always prefer to process since I’m a worry wart and like to make sure everything is sealed tightly.
Process the jars in a water bath for 35 minutes for pints and 40 minutes for quarts.
Processing the Jars
Boiling water bath canning is pretty easy to do if you invest in a large pot to boil your jars in and something to lift the jars out with. You just need to follow the instructions that come with your canner.
You need to have a towel in the bottom of your sink or a little pillow or something like that (that can withstand boiling water) that you can place the jars on so you can remove them from the boiling water with out burning yourself.
You do not touch the jars with your bare hands when you remove them from the boiling water so I usually use a pair of tongs that I reserve just for this purpose.
Then you just put the jars somewhere to cool. You will hear a popping noise as the lids seal and you will know that they are sealed when you tip them sideways and nothing moves in the jar.
You can remove the rings after they have cooled if you want, but you don’t have to. It’s a personal preference thing.
I usually leave mine on until I’m ready to use the jars. If you leave them on too long they could get stuck, so just keep an eye on them.
The rings can be re-used over and over again.
Now just fill your jars with tomato sauce or whatever you want to put in there, leaving the necessary head space of course.
Sources & references used in this article:
Processing of green vegetables for color retention in canning by GJ Malecki – US Patent 4,104,410, 1978 – Google Patents
Three outbreaks of foodborne botulism caused by unsafe home canning of vegetables—Ohio and Washington, 2008 and 2009 by R Fagan, S Crossland… – Journal of food …, 2011 – meridian.allenpress.com
Practices used for home canning of fruits and vegetables by CA Davis, L Page – 1979 – books.google.com
Energy use, cost, and product quality in preserving vegetables at home by canning, freezing, and dehydration by R Normington – 1919 – Michigan Agricultural College
Nutrition and cost comparisons of select canned, frozen, and fresh fruits and vegetables by AW Nolan, JH Greene – 1917 – Row, Peterson
Canning vegetables in the home by F DREW, KIS RHEE – Journal of Food Science, 1980 – Wiley Online Library
Thermal inactivation of Clostridium sporogenes PA 3679 and Bacillus stearothermophilus 1518 in low‐acid home‐canned foods by SR Miller, WA Knudson – American Journal of Lifestyle …, 2014 – journals.sagepub.com