Taking the Plunge into Water Bath Canning

| 10/3/2013 9:47:00 AM

Tags: Canning, Canning Tips, Homemade Salsa, Sheila Julson,

Sheila JulsonCanning in all forms scared me, mostly due to the thought that if done incorrectly, I could accidentally poison myself or loved ones with botulism. I purchased books about canning and preserving, but had yet to crack one open. They eventually found their way to my donation pile for Goodwill. I stuck to the safe route of a freezer to preserve summer produce from gardens and farmers’ markets. The method is rather foolproof, and the only gear needed are some good freezer bags and containers.

Then four quart-sized glass jars of my homemade vegetable stock expanded and cracked apart in my freezer. I endured a few tiny, painful cuts while cleaning up the mess. Maybe the freezer method was not always foolproof.

“Canning’s no big deal,” people told me. They explained how they just poured hot food into a hot jar that had been sterilized in an oven or dishwasher and then made sure the seal had popped. That seemed too easy. I was still skeptical.

“You don’t boil anything in a water bath kettle or pressure canner?” I asked.

“Nah!” This answer was often accompanied by a dismissive wave of the hand. “I’ve been doing it this way for years, and I’m still alive.”

People also once thought it was no big deal to ride in cars without seat belts, or let kids play with mercury. I felt more research was necessary, so I dug out the canning books from my donation pile. The more I read, the less intimidated I felt.

8/19/2014 2:39:42 PM

Sheila, so enjoyed your canning story. YES, I am there at this time. Scared to death I will do something wrong and cause harm to my family. However, I do realize that in most cases if something smells bad , it probably is. I am a great cook, I have accomplished freezing in freezer bags and just today spent hours freezing tomatoes. After the move back to the Ozarks from Texas, I have just relocated my canning supplies and thinking of trying the salsa, and pickles first. I know there are several of us that have the fear of canning, but I vow to overcome my fear by reading ALL the canning books I have collected over the years, taking a deep breath, and jumping in with both hands! Thanks for the enjoyable article. Linda

10/22/2013 7:28:16 AM

Good heavens! You must have been sitting next to me as you captured my fears exactly. I keep wanting to try my hand at canning but have heard so many horror stories, that I don't even attempt it. You made a good point, start small. I am going to purchase the books that you mentioned, hold my breath and jump in to canning experience. Well, maybe not jump in, just tread lightly. :) Thaks for the encouraging article.

10/15/2013 2:52:07 PM

Thanks to all for the advice and encouragement. I've gained much canning confidence since my first venture, and I've since canned pasta sauce and pickles. I've enjoyed reading all of the blogs, and we have such a good variety on Capper's. I'm pleased to join the community.

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