Plan now for summer canning

Planning ahead for the canning season can save time and effort when the fresh produce is ready for harvest.

Prepare now for the upcoming canning season. It’s frustrating to get fresh produce in the kitchen and then find out you will have to run to the store for new lids, or you forgot to get your pressure canner gauge checked. Make your to-do list early and be prepared when the produce is ready for picking and preserving.

Check your canning jars for nicks and cracks. Jars should be cleaned before canning. Make sure you have an adequate supply of canning lids. Canning lids should never be reused. The sealing compound or gasket is intended for one-time use only. Once purchased, the gasket in an unused lid should work for at least five years. 

Get your pressure canner dial gauge checked for accuracy. Pressure canners with a dial gauge should be checked for accuracy every year. This is very important as the safety of your canned foods depend on being processed at the correct amount of pressure. It is also important to time the canning process after venting the canner. Michigan State University Extension offices have information on where to get your gauge tested. 

Use research-based canning recipes. They show processing times for food that is long enough to eliminate pathogens such as clostridium botulinum which can be deadly if not destroyed during processing of low-acid foods. Research based recipes can be found at the National Center for Home Food Preservation, The USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning and University Extension Services such as MSU Extension. Be wary of untested recipes developed years ago or internet recipes that may not have research based processing times and methods. 

Save yourself time and effort by preparing for the summer and fall canning season now. If you are interested in learning how to safely can foods at home, check out the online food preservation course at MSU Extension.   

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