Home canning process step by step

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Don’t be afraid to start home jam canning, because it’s not so hard as it seems on the face of it. There are two main methods to kill molds and bacteria in the jars and caps: boiling water method and steam-pressure method. Don’t use the first one to process low-acid foods – they require super-heating in a steam-pressure canner with a weighted gauge. Yes, it will be much better if you have a special canner. After you fill the jars with jam, adjust the lids (two-piece caps) and screw the band without using too much force. Your jars are ready now for canning.

Boiling water method

1. Fill canner half full with water and set the rack above water.
2. Heat the water to 80-90 C and put the jars on the rack. Lower them into the water, cover the canner with the lid.
3. Bring the water to a boil and keep it gently boiling during the canning process. Set timer for the definite number of minutes and process the product until the time is over.

4. Turn of the heat and remove the jars. Let them cool naturally 12 to 24 hours before checking for a seal.

Home canning

Steam-pressure method

1. Add 2 or 3 inches water into canner and heat it to a simmer (about 80 C).
2. Place the rack on the bottom and put the jars on it. Lock canner lid and open the petcock. Increase heat until you see steam flowing and process the jars for 10 minutes.
3. Close the petcock and go on processing for 5 minutes.
4. When the gauge indicates the recommended pounds of pressure, set the timer and maintain the correct pressure, varying the heat if needed.
5. Turn of the heat and let the canner cool. Don’t open the petcock until the gauge shows zero pressure, then open it and wait for couple of minutes.
6. Open the canner and wait again for 10 minutes. Take out the jars and allow them cool down as in the first method.

Now I can tell you how I usually check for a seal to get to know if there is an air inside. I press the lid center: if it doesn’t flex then there is a good vacuum seal formed.

Jam cooking tips

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Let’s go back to jam cooking. Is it of current importance nowadays, when you can simply go to the shop and buy everything what you can permit yourself? I say yes, of course, why not to try? You lose nothing, only gain cookery experience. Especially if you’re a housewife and have enough time to give up to this tempting occupation. Believe me, home-cooked jam is not to be compared with the bought one. It has its own natural taste and contains no preservatives. Speaking honestly, I feel a surge of pride looking at the jars standing abreast in my cellar. And I’m not afraid of a cold wintertime: a sauce with amber-colored fragrant homemade jam makes the days warmer and brighter. These things I didn’t mention last time would help you to make a jam not worse than you buy in a supermarket, and even better.

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1. Prick fruits and berries that have a hard peel with a toothpick – they will absorb syrup better.
2. Blackberry requires blanching for 2-3 minutes in boiling water; otherwise it will be dryish in a jam.
3. Plunge berries into hot syrup for 3-4 hours for extra aroma and shape holding.
4. If you take a little bit unripe peaches, pears, strawberry and raspberry, they won’t be boiled soft.
5. If the jam doesn’t thicken, add some lemon juice or applesauce. It will thicken soon.
6. If you think the jam is overdone and can become sugared, add 1-2 grams citric acid for 1 kilo of jam to avoid it.
7. Use a special enamel ware with low sides.
8. Cook not much than 2 kilos fruits or berries simultaneously. This lightens the cooking process, besides your jam will be much more aromatic.
9. The whole cooking duration mustn’t be more than 40 minutes. An overdone jam has a syrup too thick, brownish-fulvous color.
10. Cook a jam only over gentle heat.
11. During cooking you can see foam appearing above the jam. It happens because of albumen setting and it’s all right. Remove it with a spoon or skimmer.
12. To get to know if the jam is cooked do this: take a cool saucer and drip jam on it. If the drop doesn’t flow, the jam is ready.

I can also tell you about 3 ways of jam preservation. The first is hot canning. The jam is poured hot into the jars and sterilized by a boiling water method. The second way is pasteurization or steam-pressure processing, which is considered to be more effective. And the third method is cold canning but it’s less popular and I don’t use it because it requires much sugar.

Last but not list, remember that jams are usually made from one sort of berries or fruits, than a combination of several berries. Glue a little note with the date and name of the containing fruit on each jar. Store the jars in the cellar or fridge. Good luck with jam making!