Preserving MI Harvest - Canning Basics

February 20, 2024

Food Preservation is a science. Discover how to safely preserve high and low acid foods at home using your water bath, atmospheric steam or pressure canners.

The 2024 MI Ag Ideas to Grow With conference was held virtually, February 19-March 1, 2024. This two-week program encompasses many aspects of the agricultural industry and offers a full array of educational sessions for farmers and homeowners interested in food production and other agricultural endeavors. While there is no cost to participate, attendees must register to receive the necessary zoom links. Registrants can attend as many sessions as they would like and are also able to jump around between tracks. RUP and CCA credits will be offered for several of the sessions. More information can be found at:

Video Transcript

Again, welcome. Preserving MI Harvest Canning Basics. So, whether you're growing your own produce or whether you're purchasing at a grocery store or a local farmers market, it's important to carefully inspect your produce. Bruises and tiny surface cuts allow bacteria to get into your food. Trimming away small blemishes can be used when you're eating that produce, but it's not recommended to can produce that is diseased. If there's lots of bruises and cuts on a surface, rinsing will not help and it's not recommended for preserving. Remember that unless produce is preserved in some manner, it does begin to spoil quite quickly after harvest. Those spoilage organisms can be caused by mold, yeast, or bacteria growing on the produce. Can be caused by physical damage or changes such as bruising or wilting or enzymes in the ripening action that cause flavor changes, textures, and the color of produce. Now if you are a gardener and you have your own produce, make sure you pick it at the proper stage of maturity when you're getting ready to use it for canning. Don't pick under ripe fruit or immature vegetables unless your recipe specifically calls for that the quality of fruits and vegetables doesn't improve after harvest. It is better to hold those ripe fruits and vegetables a day or two in the refrigerator as you wait for others to ripen, rather than to pick fruit or vegetables that are not ready. Once harvested, you want to chill your fruits and veggies, or once purchased, chill them as soon as possible so their quality doesn't drop. Harvest your produce early in the day if you are gardening or even if you're going to the market. A lot of times markets do happen in the morning and the farmers pick that produce early that morning. If you shop at the market, do so early and then return home to chill or process those products. Recipes are a really big thing when it comes to home food canning. It's fun to try new recipes. We get tired of the same old things day after day after day when we're cooking. But with home food preservation, it is so important to only use research based recipes. Food preservation is a science. When we're cooking in the kitchen, we have that ability to be creative. But when you're preserving, we don't have that creative option cooking. You can alter recipes to your liking, add a bit of this or a bit of that, or add this ingredient, or delete that ingredient as you wish. But when preserving food, it's important to remember changes in the density of a food product, or the acidity of a food inside those jars could lead to a food borne illness. We have to follow those research based recipes exactly. Now, the Internet, as we know, is filled with thousands and thousands, probably millions of recipes. But when it comes to home canning, we need to use those research based recipes and follow the directions exactly. Not skipping steps, not altering ingredients, or making substitutions. Because these resources and recipes have been tested in a laboratory, you might be saying to yourself, okay, well then what can I use when it comes to recommended resources? On the screen is a list of them. We will share these resources if you put your email in the chat and just send that to the host and panelists, to Karen and I, I will share these resources with you because it is important to only use these. First on our list here is Michigan Fresh. That's an MSU extension project. We have fact sheets for pretty much every fruit or vegetable that grows in the state of Michigan, and how to safely store and preserve those products that grow here in our great state. The next resource is the United States Department of Agriculture and their complete Guide to Home Canning book. This is a book you can download from the Internet from a website, or you can order the book, not to promote any certain business, but you can order this right on Amazon and probably other places as well. Next. The third one there, it's called So Easy To Preserve. And this is also a book that you can purchase through the National Center for Home Food Preservation at the University of Georgia Extension. This really is a nice book that actually has canning, freezing, drying. It has many, many recipes. It's like a 400 page book. Lastly, the other recommended resource is the Ball blue book. The Ball Blue book was just updated this past year, here at the end of 2023, but it was released here in 2024. On the screen, you can see what the new 38th edition of the Ball Blue Book looks like and you'll notice it's back to being blue. If you have an older version, we always recommend you use the most recent version of that ball blue book. You're looking for the 38th edition with an updated date of 2024. My colleague Karen, who you'll hear from shortly, is on a nationwide committee and again, the Ball New Ball Blue Book was just released here early February. It may take a little bit to get into our local stores or to find it online, but do know it has been updated and we will hopefully be seeing it shortly so we can get it for purchase. These are the resources we would highly recommend and encourage you to use when it comes to home canning. You might be saying to yourself, well, I've got all these great recipes from my grandparents or my parents or my family or friends. What about those? Can I use those Family recipes are part of family traditions connecting generations and reminding us of fond memories. We understand that, we experience that ourselves, Karen and I and our colleagues. But family recipes, as well as older canning books, often have directions or ingredients that shouldn't be used anymore. Research has provided scientific knowledge that there are recipes that may not be adequate for the necessary processing time, temperature, or acidity level to give us a safe home canned product. If you have a favorite family recipe, what we encourage you to do is using one of those resources I just shared or a couple of them you might have to look through to find one. But take your family recipe and compare it to the recipes in those resources. Then find the one that's as close as possible to your family recipe, preserve it according to the research based recipe. Then when you open that jar of whatever it might be, let's say it's salsa because salsa is always a topic we get a lot of questions about. People want to can their own salsa recipe. When you open that jar of salsa, let's say in September to watch the college football game that you like on TV. Then you can add those other ingredients to make it more like your family recipe that you and your family enjoy. That way, you're still getting a safe can product. And then you're able to then alter it after you open the jar and make it taste more like that family recipe you have. We hope that helps. We're not trying to be difficult, we're not trying to pin you in a corner either. Because those resources we shared have hundreds and hundreds of recipes. There really are a lot of research based recipes that you can look through. It's not like there's only a list of here's 30 recipes you have to use. One of those we want you to know there is quite a nice library, research based, safe recipes to choose from. Since we have a lot of beginning canners today, we just want to share some utensils that can be helpful in the kitchen. You don't have to have these necessarily, but if you are getting started or looking to expand what you have as part of your canning equipment and utensils, these would be some nice things to consider. They are helpful in the kitchen when you're canning. On the left, the first picture we have is a bubble freer. It's a long wand with a round end. The other end looks like it has a series of stair steps that is used to measure head space. One end is a bubble freer and then the other end can be your head space measure. We'll talk about head space later, but every jar that we prepare and fill for canning has to have a certain amount of headspace anywhere from a quarter inch to 1 ". We'll explain that more in a little bit. The next thing you see, moving toward the right, is a jar lifter. This is a really great tool to use when you're lifting jars into and out of the canner. Again, as you can imagine, especially after canning, the jars are very hot. This is just a great piece of equipment for lifting the jars in and out. You're not jiggling the inside of the jar contents and upsetting what's going on inside that jar as well. In the middle, you see a timer. A timer really is essential because we need to make sure we are processing foods for the proper amount of time. We can lose track of time so easy, it's really difficult to say, oh, I'll remember to check this in 20 minutes and all of a sudden, who knows how much time has gone by or you could rush it, and then your food could be under processed. If it was only 10 minutes and you thought 20 minutes had passed, have a timer of some sort. It really does make your life easier. Just like a wide mouth funnel. The next one toward the bottom right corner there, again, nothing fancy with a funnel, but it does make the, the task of filling your jars a lot easier and cleaner and simpler with that wide mouth funnel. Then top right corner. The last piece of equipment that can be helpful is a magnet. You can still use the other rounded end as a bubble freer as well, but the magnet is nice for lifting your jar lids and putting them on top of your jars. It's also helpful to have cutting boards, hotpads, spatulas, spoons. As you can imagine, a lot of these pieces of equipment you see on the screen. Sometimes they come in a kit. You can buy them all together. Five or six pieces of these utensils you can get. Or they do sell them individually as well. Normally at stores where you find your canning supplies, some fun little gadgets and pieces of equipment that can make your life a bit easier in the kitchen. Before we get into the process of canning, we will talk about water bath canning, atmospheric steam canning, and pressure canning. Briefly do know that the way you pack your jars has a couple variables as well. Once we chose our produce and our recipe, we talked about safe recipes. We would follow the recipe and pack our jars. There are two ways to pack your jars. One is called raw pack and one is called hot pack. Now, you're always going to follow your research based recipe. If it tells you to raw pack, then that's what you have to do. If it gives you the option raw pack or hot pack, then you can choose what you prefer. Raw pack is just like it sounds. We put raw food into a jar, pack it firmly, and then we pour boiling liquid over that produce, according to our research based recipe, to fill the jar. Then hot pack is actually when we cook the food first and we get it to a boiling option, and then we pour that hot food into a jar, and then we add the cooking liquid over top, raw pack and hot pack. If it only says hot pack, hot pack, that's the option you have to use. And like I said, follow the research based recipe when you are adding your packed filled jars to your canner In the temperature, the water temperature doesn't matter. You'll want to follow your recipe for either 140 degrees water temperature for a raw pack product, or if you're doing hot pack, it would be 180 degrees. We don't want the water boiling for either one. We do want it to be hot and simmering. This helps prevent the breakage of your jars. Let's talk about jars and lids. First we'll look at lids. We do recommend a two piece lid which includes your jar lid, your metal lid, and your metal screw band. The lids which are held in place by the metal screw band, you can see on the right there. If you look at the bottom of your lid, the outer edge of that lid has usually like a rust colored ceiling compound. That's the gasket compound. This compound is what seals to the top of your jar when you heat the jars. The gasket softens and flows just a bit to cover that jar rim surface. Even with the gasket compound in place, air is still able to escape from the jar during processing. Then as that jar cools when processing is over, the gasket forms that air tight seal that we want. The jars will seal. We recommend to only buy enough lids to get you through about a year, even though gaskets in your unused lids will generally work well for up to five years. If you do find some lids that you've had for a while, someone gives them to you, they can be okay to use as well. Always use a clean damp cloth to wipe off food or liquid from the jar rims and the threads. Then after the lid is successfully placed on top of your jar rim, you would use your metal screw band and screw that on to the top of the jar. Always check your box of lids. Like when I was growing up watching my mom can, you had to boil the lids. Actually, that isn't usually recommended anymore for most lids, but double check the box of the brand that you have now. It's usually just recommended to wash them before using, and you don't have to get them hot to start with. Canning jars can be reused from year to year as long as they are in good condition. As long as they are those standard canning jars which are designed and tempered specifically for the heat that they will undergo during water bath or pressure canning. We're looking for a mason type jar. Check for cracks or chips in the jar, especially on the rims. And then wash those in warm, soapy water and dry them. You will need to keep your jars hot while you are getting ready to fill them, and you will always fill your product into a hot jar. You can do that by having a second canner that you're not going to be using. And you can see the middle picture. We're using our water bath canner here just to keep the jars hot. You can do that with a large kettle, whatever you might have, but you do want to keep those jars hot so you can fill your product, whether it's raw pack or hot pack, into a hot jar. After you prepared your produce, According to your research based recipe, it's time to fill your jars. You can see here using a wide mouth funnel for some products, it's helpful ladle your product into those clean hot jars. Your recipe will tell you how much head space, which we'll see on the next slide. Use a bubble freer to run around the inside of the jar. Just move it around and release any air bubbles that you can see. Then before we put the lid on, as I mentioned, you would definitely want to wipe that with a paper towel, a damp paper towel, something that's clean. You can get any bit of debris or anything that could be on the top of that jar off there, so it doesn't impact the ceiling of the jar during processing. Here's what we mean by head space. Head space is the amount of room between the inside of the lid and the top of the food. We don't want the jars totally full. That would usually cause them to bubble out. Maybe your lids won't seal, it could cause the jars to break through the bottom if they're too full. During processing, anywhere from a quarter inch to 1 ". Head space is what your recipe will recommend. You'll want to use that little stairstepper head space measure if you have one, because it actually says on the quarter inch, two inch, 1 ". And you can use that to guide your jar filling. There had space is really important. Sometimes people think, oh, it's not a big deal, but it really is a big deal because if we fill the jars too much, like I said, they may not for a couple of reasons. They could push out the bottom or bubble out the top. But also if you don't fill your jars enough, let's say the jar is only half full because it's all you had left with whatever you were preparing that could lead to discoloration. Likely that jar may not seal as well because there won't be enough processing time to push all of the air out of the jar. Again, it's really a science. Use that head space recommendation and follow that. Then lastly, to close our jars, we use the term fingertip tight to describe how tight you should turn that or that screw band on top of your jar. All we mean here is just tighten it. Your hand stops you until it's tight. We don't need to try and be Superman or Wonder Woman here and try and use all of our possible strength. If it's too tight, that could also cause issues with the ceiling of the lid and cause the lid to buckle. Fingertip tight is all you really need. All right, let's move into high acid foods and water bath and atmospheric steam canning. There's many options for many of you who are new. Think about what you and your family enjoy eating. Think about what you have access to as far as produce and what foods you are hoping to fill your pantries with. When canning produce, we categorize it as either low acid or high acid. High acid foods are those with a ph of zero to 4.6 They contain enough acid so that botulism spores will not germinate. High acid foods include things like most fruits, jams, and jellies. Tomatoes or figs that have been acidified. Using either bottled lemon juice or citric acid, sauerkraut or foods, we add a large amount of acid to think like pickles, relishes, things like that. These are the types of foods that we can process in your water bath can, or in an atmospheric steam canner. Let's take a look at each of these and we'll show you a short video, just a short snippet on how to use each of these with your water bath can. Some key components would be a rack. You're going to need a rack in the bottom of every canner you use, no matter what type it is. This allows your jars to stay off the bottom of the canner and allows for proper water circulation around and underneath those jars. You need a tight fitting lid because with water bath canning, the water must boil the whole time. Another important note is that your canner needs to be tall enough. There's at least one to 2 " of water above your jars. Whether that's a pint jar or a quart jar, you have to have one or 2 " of water above it. Here's two examples on the slide of some water bath canners. They might be an enamel, they might be stainless steel. The price can range anywhere from $30 on upward, depending on the type that you purchase. We also want to show you quickly, if you don't have a water bath canner, you could potentially make a water bath canner using a tall pot and then some mechanism to keep your jars off the bottom of the pot. You could take your screw bands and make a little connection there between them to make a rack of sorts. You could use foil that's all twisted and folded up and put that on the bottom. You could use some type of a rubber canner rack, but something to have a barrier between the bottom of your jar and the bottom of the pot. You could do something like that if you want to make your own water bath canner. Water canning is really pretty simple. You start with the water simmering or hot. You put the jars on the canning rack. After the jars are lowered into the water, make sure there's one or 2 " above the jars and then cover with a lid. Then once the water comes back to a full rolling boil, you will start your processing. If it was jam and jelly in there, let's say it's some strawberry jam. Your processing, once the water is boiling again, you would set your timer. Usually jams or jellies process for five or 10 minutes. Set your time, then when your timer goes off, your jelly or jam has been processed. Here's a really short video showing you what that looks like in the kitchen and you can take a good look here. Using a water bath canner to preserve high acid foods like fruits, pickled products, acidified tomatoes and jams and jellies is a simple process. Start by filling the canner half full of water and put the lid on the canner. Preheat the water to 140 degrees Fahrenheit for raw pack and 180 degrees Fahrenheit for hot pack foods. Once the water is hot, remove the lid and carefully place filled jars onto the canner rack. A rack is necessary to keep the jars off the bottom of the canner and prevent breakage. After jars are placed on the rack, lower the rack down into the canner. There must be one to 2 " of water above jars for proper water circulation during canning. If not add more water, then place the lid on the canner. Processing begins when the water comes back to a full rolling boil. Set your timer according to the research based recipe. When the timer goes off, processing is done. So turn off the heat, remove the canner lid, and wait 5 minutes to allow for cooling. Next, lift the rack out of the water and remove jars using a jar lifter. Being careful not to tip them, the water on the lids will evaporate. Place the jars on a towel, cutting board, or rack to cool after 12 to 24 hours. Once jars have sealed, label each jar with the date and name of the product. If a jar did not seal, you have the option to reprocess using the same processing time, freeze, or place in the refrigerator and consume. To store your jars of canned food. Remove the ring, place in a dry dark area and use within one year. All right, and I just want to point out before I turn it over to Karen. So those are carrots in that jar, right? And we talked earlier about most fruits and those were actually pickled carrots. So that's why we could process those in the water bath canner because we did the pickling on them. So we'd just like to point that out so you're not confused by our process there. And I'm going to turn it over to Karen, who was going to work us through the atmospheric steam canner and pressure canner. Thank you, Laurie. I do want to remind everyone that if you have a question, please put it into the Q and A so we can keep track of those and we'll try to answer those. Definitely at the end of our program, I will get started talking about the atmospheric steam canner. This is a new approved food processing preservation method. I only say fairly new. It's been around actually for a while, but it's been tested. It has been approved as a stable process that actually works really well, just like water bath canning. But we'll talk about specifics now. Only high acid food products with processing time less than 45 minutes can be done in the atmospheric steam canner. Examples of those products that can be processed in this canner include things like jams and jellies. Most fruits, cucumber, pickles, fruit pickles relishes, tomato and salsas. Although some tomato products require a longer processing time than 45 minutes, therefore, they should be done in a water bath canner, or they should be pressure canned. There are some advantages to using an atmospheric steam canner. I like it personally for myself. I've learned to take advantage of what the benefits are. One is there's a lot less water used and which in turn allows the water to heat up a little bit faster when we're beginning to process. Your kitchen also doesn't get quite as hot during processing times. Also cool down time is a bit quicker and it's easier to carry to the sink when we are cleaning up. Lifting the jars out is a bit easier because it's not up and high over the sides of the big canner. Those are some definite benefits to having a steam canner. Now that we have identified some of those advantages, we're going to talk about how to use your steam canner. First off, you're going to read your manual, of course, and then put in the recommended amount of water, which is usually just below the plate that you see there in that picture in the top where the jars are sitting on. Then you're going to preheat your water in the steam canner. It should be approximately 140 degrees Fahrenheit for any raw pack products, and it should be about 180 degrees Fahrenheit for hot pack products. Before adding your jars that are filled, you're going to place your filled jars on that canning rack and place the lid on that steam canner. Make sure that you can easily read that altitude indicator knob, which is at the bottom picture in the middle. Then turn your burner on high. When the needle in the indicator knob reaches your altitude zone, start your processing time, which means you set your timer. Always use a timer. My altitude would be at the top of that line and it's in the darkest green. Once it reaches that, I start my processing time. You're going to also have to adjust your burner so it stays within that zone on the indicator knob throughout all of your processing time. Never process items that need to be processed for more than 45 minutes or longer. The water in the bottom could dry out and you can't add water to keep get processing. Once again, never add water to the canner during your processing time. This would lower the temperature of that steam. That means that would have brought it down too far to keep it at a steady time and temperature that it needs to be to process correctly. But here we have a short video showing how to use an atmospheric steam canner. I wanted to show you how the atmospheric steam canner worked. I filled the steam canner with 2.2 quarts of water. The water is just below the canning rack. I set my jars on the canning rack over the already hot water. I placed the dome lid on the canner base covering the filled jars. I made sure the vent port was where I can see it. It is important to make sure the steam is exiting the vent port while processing. At the same time, I am watching the dial at the top of the atmospheric steam tanner, so I will know when I can start timing process. Before the indicator needle reaches my elevation line, I am going to check the temperature, making sure the internal temperature reaches 212 degrees Fahrenheit. I place the bio metallic thermometer in the vent port. I allow it time to register the temperature After it has reached 212 degrees Fahrenheit. I remove the thermometer and watch the dial. Once the dial has reached my elevation line, I start the timing process. After the timer goes off and process has been reached, I turn off the heat, allow five more minutes for the canner to rest. Then carefully remove the dome and remove the jars, and set them on a towel on the counter where they will not be disturbed. Allow them to cool for 12 to 24 hours. Okay. That's a basic way of using a atmospheric steam canner. Once again, like I said, that's my favorite way of processing high acid foods. Now we're going to start talking about low acid foods that have a ph value higher than 4.6 They include things like red meat, seafood, poultry milk, and all fresh vegetables. Except for most tomatoes, most tomatoes are on a line. We have to add acid to those. Most mixtures of low acid and acidified foods also have a ph value of above 4.6 unless their recipes include enough lemon juice or citric acid or vinegar to make them acid foods or acidified foods. Acidified foods have a ph of 4.6 or lower. They include fruits, pickles, sauerkraut, jams and jellies, marmalades, and fruit butters. We want to talk about something that's scary and it is very real. This is why we use recommended research tested recipes so that you can be assured that you are doing the processes correctly that can prevent these things from happening. But botulism is rare, but potentially dead. Deadly illness is caused by a poison most commonly produced by germs called clustridiumolinum. This germ is found in soil and can survive. It grows and can produce a toxin. In certain conditions, such as when food is improperly canned, the toxin can affect your nerves and paralyze you and even cause death. You cannot see smell or taste the botulism toxin, but taking even a small taste of food containing this toxin can be deadly. Many cases I food worn illness botulism have happened after people ate home canned preserves or fermented foods that were contaminated with this toxin. The foods became contaminated because they were not canned correctly or processed correctly. Home canned vegetables are the most common cause of a botulism outbreak in the United States 1996-2014 there were 210 outbreaks of food borne botulism reported to CDC. Of the 145 outbreaks that were caused by, of them, 145 of the outbreaks were caused by home prepared foods, and 43 outbreaks, or 30% were from home canned vegetables. These outbreaks often occur because home canners do not follow canning instructions. They did not use a pressure canner or ignored the signs of food spoilage, or didn't know they could get botulism from improperly preserved vegetables. We don't say that to scare you, we just want you to be aware it is very real. But now let's talk about pressure canners. There are two types of pressure canners for home use. A weighted in a dial gauge. All pressure canners should have a bottom rack pressure pressure regulator or an indicator. A dial or weighted gauge. A vent pipe or a pep cook for pressurizing and safety valves, or over pressure plugs, safety locks for pressurizing. And then a flexible gasket in the lid, or sometimes it's a metal to metal seal. The dial gauge pressure canner has a dial with numbers designating anywhere 5-15 pounds of pressure with increments between each of these five pounds. The lid twists to lock in place, unless you have a metal to metal all American canner which actually has wing nuts that actually tighten it down this pressure canner has a vent pipe to exhaust to create a vacuum. Once that canner has been exhausted for 10 minutes, that weight is put on the vent pipe to close that canner. And to allow the pressure to build inside, It is necessary to watch the pressure rise to 11 pounds pressure or whatever is specified in your tested recipe. But generally, 11 pounds pressure is most common for canning at zero to 1,000 feet or above sea level is when that happens. The canner has a safety valve that will melt with the internal pressure. When that internal pressure becomes too high, when the plug melts, the interior pressure is released. And this release plug prevents the canner from blowing up or exploding. There are a lot of safety mechanisms on canners at this point in time. This is an example of a weighted gauge. Pressure canner, it happens to be mine. I love using a weighted gauge. I'm a auditory learner or processor. The picture on the right displays the different types or kind of weights. The weight will either make a gentle rocking sound or a burst of jiggling to indicate that the pressure is being maintained. In that canner, read your manufacturer's directions to learn how that weight should rock or jiggle so you know what to listen for when you're using this type of canner. When filling your pressure canner, consider what pack you are using to can your produce. If you are using hot pack jars, the water in the canner should be simmering. If using raw pack jars, the water should be warm to hot. If water is too hot, the potential is there for jars to crack or break. Gently, place your jars on the rack in the canner. Then place the lid on the canner and lock it into place. Leave the weight off of the canner at this point and turn the heat on high. Then your next step is going to be very important. You need to exhaust all the steam out of your canner for 10 minutes. Set the timer. Once that steam steam starts coming through the top, when water boils, steam will start to come out of that open, bent, and wait until there is a constant, strong funnel of steam. Then start your timer once again for 10 minutes. At the end of that 10 minutes, you can place your weight in the place to start pressurizing the canner. This will even out the pressure inside that can start counting your processing time when the correct pressure is reached. On a dial gauge, that means it reached the proper, like 11 pounds of pressure or on a weighted gauge, it'll start rocking. Turn off your heat at the end of the processing time, let your pressure drop to zero PSI naturally. Don't encourage it or hurry it along. Wait about one to 2 minutes after your pressure drops to zero to make sure that you all your pressure is gone. And then remove the weight, or open the peck. And then wait ten more minutes. Then open your canner and be careful so that the steam will go away from you so that it doesn't give you a steam burn. Then remove your jars to padded surface or a rack on your counter and let them sit for 12 to 24 hours. Here is a video on how to use a pressure canner. Pressure canning is the only method recommended by the US Department of Agriculture for safely canning low acid foods, such as vegetables, meats, and fish. Low acid foods must be canned at a temperature of 240 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. And held there for the time specified in the recipe to destroy the bacterial spores naturally present in these foods. Pressure canning utilizes pressurized steam to reach this superheated temperature. This pressurized heat destroys the potentially harmful bacterial spores. Dial gauge canners have a dial on the top of the lid with numbers for monitoring the pressure as it builds and during processing. Dial gauges should be checked for accuracy. Every year a rack goes on the bottom of all canners to prevent jars from sitting directly on the canner, which gets very hot and can cause jar breakage. Place your rack in the bottom of the canner to use your pressure canner. First read the manufacturer's directions, then add two to 3 " or two quarts of hot water to the canner. Heat water to simmer. Next, place filled jars carefully on the rack using a jar lifter. Then place the lid onto the canner and lock into place. Now it's time to vent the canner, leaving the weight off the vent port. Turn the stove burner to its highest setting, and heat the canner until steam flows from the vent. Let the canner steam until a steady stream of steam starts to flow from the valve. Once you have a steady stream, set a timer for 10 minutes. You will need to vent the canner for a full 10 minutes before pressurizing. Next, pressurize the canner by placing the weight on the vent port. As the canner pressurizes, you will see the needle increase on the dial gauge, monitor the pressurizing, so once it reaches the recommended pressure, you are ready to process. Set your timer according to the research based recipe. Regulate the heat under the canner to maintain a steady pressure. If the pressure reading goes below the recommended pressure, bring the pressure back up and start the timing process again. Once the timer goes off, turn off heat to the canner pressure canners take time to depressurize after processing and before the lid can be open. Wait until the needle drops to zero. After the canner is depressurized, remove the weight from the vent port. Unfasten the lid and remove it Carefully open the lid away from you so that the steam does not burn. You leave the jars in the canner for 10 minutes to keep liquid from leaking out. Then carefully remove the jars using a jar lifter. By lifting them straight out of the canner, the water on the lids will evaporate. Place jars on a towel, cutting board, or rack to cool for 12 to 24 hours. After 12 to 24 hours, once jars have sealed, label each jar with the date and the name of the product. If a jar did not seal, you have the option to reprocess using the same processing time, freeze or place in the refrigerator and consume to store your jars of canned food. Remove the rings, place in a dry dark area and use within one year. Okay, I do want to thank my colleagues for such great videos that they have created a drop in pressure during your processing. Means that the sterilizing value of the process will be decreased and your product will be under processed. It is very important that the pressure does not fluctuate up and down. The pressure drops below your target. At any time, proper pressure must be regained and processing time must be restarted. A sealed lid does not mean that that food is safe, or it just simply means that the contents of the jar were once hot, then it cooled in a vacuum formed. This is a good reason to watch the canner carefully during any processing. Large, quick, or both types of variations in pressure during processing may cause loss of liquid from your jars. After processing, you carefully take the lid off. Lift the jars straight up out of the canner like in the video. Don't rock it side to side because the water will steam off or dry off very quickly. Place them on a clean towel or cooling rack away from drafts to prevent any breakage of your jars. You're going to cool those for 12 to 24 hours undisturbed. Then you're going to check the seals by pressing in the middle or observing if it's indented. And then you're going to remove the bands and then always label and date your jars. When you take the jars out of the canner, the rings may be loose. Do not retighten them. If you do, the gasket may shift and the jar may not seal properly. The ring is there just to hold that disc on during processing. A note. If you have raw packed the food, the liquid level might be lower after cooling. This is because air is exhausted during processing and the food does shrink. When the jars are cool, see if they are indeed sealed. There are a couple of ways to do this. First, you press in the middle of the lid with your finger or your thumb if it springs back, or you press it down and it pops, that is not properly sealed. Another way is to hold the jar at eye level and look to see across the lid if there is a curve or concave. If the center of the lid is either flat or bulging, it may not have sealed properly. You could refrigerate those jars and use the food over the next day or two, or freeze that food in another container. Or you can also reprocess that jar in a food within 24 hours to reprocess the food. Remove it from the jar, heat it back up, put it back into a clean jar, and put a new lid on and process it for the correct amount of time. When storing your home preserved foods, some people remove the screw bands and some people prefer to leave them on. Whichever you prefer, wash the jars gently to remove food residue, Use a vinegar solution to clean off any hard water. Or sometimes you can put a little vinegar in your water bath canner or your pressure canner in to keep some of that hard water off as well. Do not store your jars in an area that's above 95 degrees Fahrenheit or near hot pipes, a range a furnace under a sink or an uninsulated attic in any direct sunlight for food preserved in jars. They can be stacked with recommendations for only two high. Make sure there is enough space so that the vacuum seals are not disturbed and a sturdy support can be placed between the top and the bottom of the jars for a little more stability. Karen, we did have a couple of questions about sure bands staying on or coming off and and like you said, they're not needed but like the picture on the left, I mean, you could leave them on. It doesn't hurt either way, correct? Right. However, I'm going to say, and I don't know, I think you do the same thing, Lori. When I first started canning in the past, very young. I left them on and they do rust. I don't want to take the chance that that's going to rust a hole through my lid and cause a botulism outbreak or something like that. So I remove my rings because they're only on just to hold that disc in place while we're processing. And then I wipe off all of my jars and lids, label and date them, and store them in a cool, dry place. And what's nice about that is then you can use the screw bands again next week when you're canning the next thing as well. You have to have as many then if you don't keep them on. So they do and I throw my Usted ones even slightly rusted out because metal to metal does do that. Another question, Karen, on storage, there's been a couple of questions about storing for only one year and you want to just explain the quality piece. Sure, we recommend that because of quality after a year, you start losing quality over time. And things keep pressure caning as long as you properly did it can keep food preserved for a very long time. We do have a couple of ways to check on that, like food keeper app that we have or you can call our hotline, which I'll talk about that in a second. But it's just about food quality is why we recommend that. That's pretty much it, but we're definitely not saying after a year they have to discard. It's just that general guideline Yep. Because it usually comes around next year. Instead of overworking yourself, we just recommend can what you're going to use in a year because that could be a lot of stuff in your storage that could take a lot of space. Yeah. It's mostly about that that happens because I always tell people too. You know, let's say you had a bumper crop of tomatoes one year and so, you know, you have extra because you had had them available. So again, you know, use them as soon as you can. But just keep in mind that the longer they are in the pantry can or in the cellar, you know, again, the quality can start to ease up, so Yeah. So we're not saying you're right, Lorie. We're not saying don't, can it. We're just saying that, you know, you don't have to go out and have, you know, 150 jars of one thing or anything. Just, you know, can what you're going to use in the next year because it'll be back around and hopefully you have good quality food when you do that. And make sure you date it so you know what is from year to year. That's the big thing. So definitely. Great. Definitely. Okay, I'm going to tell you about our food safety hot line. We actually have a hotline that you can call. The number is 8 776-439-8821 of our team members answer that call. We take two months at a time and it's in operation between 09:00 and 05:00 P.M. 09:00 A.M. to 05:00 P.M. every day during the week. And we also answer any questions like if your freezer you found it unplugged and is there still ice crystals? Can we do this or what do we do with it Or any type of food safety question, You can call that hotline and we'll help you out with that. It might take us a little research, but we can generally get back with you right away on that. Also we have what's called ask extension at MSU extension, which if you go online, look up that link, you can type in any type of question that you have and it'll be routed to the appropriate experts. Such as if you're planting a garden, who would, you know, they would find a person to answer your question about how do you do whatever it is you're asking about your garden or anything like that. So those are two ways to get some answers from us on some very important topics in life. So, and I'm going to turn it back over to Lorie for our survey. And Karen, while I do that, say that we did have a question. You mentioned the food keeper app. Would you just put the name of that in the chat maybe? Sure. Usda Food Keeper. And it is a really great resource to look up how long you can safely store things in your refrigerator freezer. You know, all sorts of storage. That was a good question there, Susan. But yeah, feel free to ask any further questions. We'll stay on a minute or two. We do appreciate you taking some time this afternoon to join us and hope this was helpful. Another thing to mention is we do have preserving classes that we do every Thursday online at both 01:00 P.M. and 06:00 P.M. And I will send out some information, but you can just go to our Safe Food and Water Michigan State University Extension Safe Food and Water, or our Food Preservation page. And click on Events, the Events tab. And you will see the sessions we have from now until April. And there will be more through the summer as well. If you'd like to learn more on preserving lots of different topics, we'd love to have you join us for those free online sessions. For whatever your interest level is or whatever your schedule is, please feel free to join us. Um, so again, thanks for joining us today. Please always reach out if you have questions. So I hope you enjoy the rest of your sessions through the My egg ideas to grow with conference this week and next week and May we'll see you again on one of ours. But enjoy and have a wonderful day. So let me see if there's any oh, hold on. When siphoning occurs, how much liquid loss deems a jar unsafe? That's a good question. It is a good question. A lot of times when there's liquid loss and correct me if I'm wrong, Lorie, but it's just mostly a discoloration. It's not usually effective to the food quality or it does affect the quality but not the safety of it. As long as the pressure was kept up at the whole time as when? As long as it's supposed to. And you use the proper method for that type of food. Yeah. Yeah. It's not a safety issue. If you pressure can it properly just might not look pretty? Yeah. You know how we all are about food. Yeah, it has to be pretty. Yeah. Good question. Great. All right. We'll enjoy your day, everyone. Thank you. Take care. Thank you.