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Almost all foods can be home canned. The most popular foods for home canning include fruits and tomatoes, as well as preserves like chutneys, jams, jellies, pickles and relishes. It is also possible to can fresh vegetables, meat, milk, poultry, fish and prepared foods such as soups and stews.
Foods for home canning are organized by their acid level. Before you start home canning, you need to know whether a food is a “high-acid” food or a “low-acid” food.
*Tomatoes are a borderline high-acid food. When tomatoes are being prepared for canning, an acid (such as vinegar) must be added to them to make them safer for preserving.
The acid level of a food will affect the home canning method that you use. Foods that are high-acid should be canned with a boiling-water canner. With this method the acid in the food prevents bacteria from growing, while the high temperature will kill any bacteria that are present.
Foods that are low-acid must be canned with a pressure-canner. A pressure canner reaches higher temperatures. Because these foods don’t have natural acid, you will need higher temperatures to kill the bacteria (such as the botulism spores). These temperatures can only be reached with a pressure canner.
Some of these canning methods and equipment used to be popular but they are no longer thought to be safe:
The boiling time will depend on:
*Always follow the recipe instructions. Each recipe will have a processing time based on the type and quantity of ingredients being used.
Remove the metal screw bands on the jars and try these tests:
Home canned foods should be eaten within one year. Label and date your foods after canning so you know by when you should use them.
Foods that have botulism do not always look or smell spoiled. Do not taste any food that you think may have spoiled. If your food has foamed, smells “bad” while cooking, or the container has a bulging lid, throw it out right away. Place the jar and its contents in a waterproof container and place in the garbage. Wash your hands, equipment, utensils and work surfaces with warm soapy water.
Here you'll find more information on this topic: Home Canning
National Centre for Home Food Preservation
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