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two approved methods of canning foods at home
Two Approved Methods of Canning Foods At Home
  • Boiling Water Canning (212°F)

Acid foods, ie- tomatoes, pickles, relishes, salsas, jams and jellies

2) Pressure Canning (at least 240°F)

      • Low acid foods
      • Mixtures of acid and low acid foods )
why two methods
Why Two Methods?
  • Depends upon the food item
  • Acid vs Low Acid
why two methods5
Why Two Methods?

Clostridium botulinum

  • Yeasts, molds and most bacteria are destroyed at boiling temperatures (212oF).
  • C. botulinum forms spores that require higher temperatures for destruction in a reasonable period of time

(usually 240oF).

botulism foodborne illness
Botulism Foodborne Illness
  • The botulinum toxin, one of deadliest known, causes botulism food poisoning.
  • 1 mg can kill 655 tons of mice.
  • Food can contain toxin without showing signs.
  • Antitoxin is available, but there is slow recovery. Permanent nerve damage is possible.
botulism foodborne illness7
Botulism Foodborne Illness
  • Symptoms usually appear within 12 to 72 hours:
    • Digestive upset (in some cases)
    • Blurred, double vision
    • Difficulty swallowing, speaking and breathing
    • Possible death from suffocation
botulism poisoning
Botulism Poisoning
  • To germinate and produce toxin, the spores need the following conditions:
    • Anaerobic ( no air)
    • Low acid (pH > 4.6)
    • 40oF to 120oF
    • Relatively high moisture



spore (germinates)


waste materials and toxins

preventing botulism
Preventing Botulism
  • Home Canned Foods
    • Spores won’t germinate in acid foods (pH < 4.6).
    • Spores are killed when heated long enough at a specific temperature.
    • USDA usually recommends 240oF canned low-acid foods.
    • Pressure canner MUST be used for all low-acid foods.
preventing botulism cont
Preventing Botulism, cont.
  • Food must be properly prepared and processed for the correct time
  • Pressure canner accurate and operated correctly
  • Foods checked when opening jars
  • Foods should be boiled for at least 10 minutes before serving
preventing botulism cont11
Preventing Botulism, cont.
  • Follow the recipe- NO MODIFICATIONS

The following slow down heat penetration:

    • Extra sugar or fat
    • Oversize food pieces
    • Added thickeners
  • Use recommended canners

Heat-up and cool-down times in pressure canners are counted toward “sterilizing” the contents of the jar. Don’t rush!!!

home canning basics
Home Canning Basics




acid foods
Acid Foods
  • Generally all fruits
  • Tomatoes (specific

amounts of citric acid or

bottled lemon juice are

added to acidify)

  • Sauerkraut
  • Foods to which large

amounts of acid are

added (pickles,

relishes, salsas)

low acid foods
Low Acid Foods
  • Generally all vegetables
  • Meats
  • Poultry
  • Seafood
  • Soups
  • Mixtures of acid and low acid foods (spaghetti sauce – meat, vegetables and tomatoes)

Acidity measurement = pH

Low pH values = high amount

of acidity

Bacteria can grow between

pH 4.6 and pH 9.0

Bacteria grows best between pH 6.0 and pH 7.5






0 1.0 2.03.0 6.0 6.4 7.08.0 8.5 9.0 10.0 11.0 12.0 13.0 14.0



Egg White

Commercial Mayonnaise












Carrots, Pumpkins

Sweet Potatoes

Cheddar Cheese




  • Acidity levels affect bacterial growth
  • Different bacteria, different acid tolerance


home canning basics19
Home Canning Basics
  • Use only recipes/directions and DO NOT MODIFY from: USDA/ Cooperative Extension, National Center for Home Food Preservation (www.homefoodpreservation.com), Ball Blue Book, So Easy To Preserve.
  • Always use current methods and information.

NEVER USE “granny’s method.”

  • Use only high/ quality food/ fresh produce.
  • Food must be properly prepared and processed the correct amount of time.
home canning basics20
Home Canning Basics
  • Food is placed in a canning jar with a 2-piece lid and is heated to a temperature that destroys microorganisms.
  • Pressure canner must be accurate and operated correctly.
  • Heat also inactivates enzymes that can cause changes in color, flavor and texture.
  • Air is driven from the jar during heating.
  • As the jar cools, a vacuum seal is formed.
home canning basics processing time
Home Canning Basics Processing Time

* Each food has its own processing time.

Follow directions carefully!

* Time differs with size of jar.

* Too Little

  • Spoilage
how canning process times are determined
How Canning Process Times Are Determined
  • Foods are prepared by a specific procedure.
  • The length of time it takes to adequately heat the coldest spot in the jar is determined.
  • Size of the jar, size of the food, consistency of the canning liquid, etc. all have an effect on how heat penetrates through the product.
jars and lids
Jars and Lids
  • Wash canning jars; don’t use if nicked

or scratched – keep hot until used

  • ALWAYS use new flat lids
  • Follow package


to prepare 2-piece lids

and ring bands

home canning basics vacuum seal
Home Canning Basics Vacuum Seal
  • Holds the lid on the jar.
  • Prevents recontamination of the food.
  • Prevents air from drying out the food.
testing for seals
Testing for Seals
  • Listen for “pop”
  • Lid curved inward, won’t move when pressed

* Clear ringing sound when tapped

packing methods
Packing Methods

Raw/Cold Pack

  • Use fo foods that lose their shape when cooked
  • Raw food put into jars
  • Boiling hot liquid is poured over the food
  • Pack firmly, don’t crush
Hot Pack
  • Preferred method for most foods.
  • Food is cooked in liquid before packing
  • Cooking liquid poured over food in jar
  • Fewer jars needed
  • Less floating
  • Better color and flavor
  • Easier to pack, foods pliable

Note: If directions say only hot pack then hot pack!

  • Is the space in the jar between the inside of the lid and the top of the food or it’s liquid
  • Check directions for the correct headspace

* Usually:

    • 1/4” jellied fruit products
    • 1/2” fruits, tomatoes and pickles
    • 1” to 1-1/4” low acid foods

* Too little

  • Food may bubble out during processing
  • Deposit on rim may prevent sealing

* Too much

  • Food at the top is likely to discolor.
  • Jar may not seal properly, as all the air may not be forced from jar during processing
low acid foods32
Low Acid Foods

pH greater than 4.6

  • Meats
  • Poultry
  • Seafood
  • Generally all vegetables
  • Soups
  • Mixed canned foods

(low acid + acid)

    • However, if pH < 4.6 = acidified foods
pressure canners vs cookers
Pressure Canners vs. Cookers
  • To be considered a pressure canner for USDA processes, the canner must be big enough to hold at least 4 quart-size jars
    • Pressure cookers/saucepans with smaller volume capacities are not recommended for use in canning
    • Enough heat may not be delivered during pressurizing and the cool-down period in smaller pressure cookers/saucepans
pressure canner features
Pressure Canner Features
  • Flat rack in bottom
  • Pressure regulator or indicator
  • Dial or weighted gauge
  • Vent pipe (port) for pressurizing
  • Safety valves or overpressure plugs
  • Safety locks when pressurized
  • Flexible gasket in lid
pressure canners features
Pressure Canners Features
  • Dial Gauge
    • Indicates pressure inside the canner
    • Must be checked for accuracy
    • Has dead- or counter-weight to close open vent for pressurizing
    • Pressure is increased or decreased by adjusting burner heat.
pressure canners features37
Pressure Canners Features
  • Weighted Gauge
    • Regulates pressure inside the canner
    • Open vent is the same one that pressure regulator fits
    • Will continue to allow some air to be released from canner during process
    • Can’t be tested for accuracy
Weighted Gauges cont’d
  • One piece
    • Fitting for 5, 10 or 15 pounds
    • Do not use dead- or counter-weight from dial gauge canner or pressure cooker.
      • Mirro: “jiggles” 3 to 4 times per minute.
  • Three piece
    • Number of pieces used determines 5, 10 or 15 pounds
      • Presto: rocks gently throughout entire process.
      • Mirro: “jiggles” 3 to 4 times per minute.
pressure canner how it works
Pressure CannerHow it Works
  • Steam inside the pressurized canner circulates around the jar
  • Transfers heat by conduction
  • Food in center of jar much reach 240°F
pressure canner processing
Pressure Canner Processing
  • Use 1 inch headspace in jars.
    • A few products use 1-1/4”
  • Have 2” to 3” of water simmering or hot in canner.
    • Hot packed jars – simmering water, 180 F
    • Raw packed jars – warm to hot water, 140 F
  • Place jars on rack in canner.
  • Put lid on canner with weight

off or petcock open.

venting the canner
Venting the Canner
  • Also called “exhausting” the canner.
  • As the water boils in the canner, the “empty” space becomes a mixture of steam and air.
  • The temperature of a steam/air mixture is lower than the temperature of pure steam.
  • Venting eliminates (“exhausts”) the air so processing takes place in a pure steam environment.
    • Process times are intended only for a pure steam environment.
venting the canner cont
Venting the Canner, cont.
  • Some manufacturers of weighted gauge canners say venting is not necessary.
  • USDA instructs to vent ALL pressure canners.
    • The one difference in “following manufacturer’s directions” if not included there.
  • Without proper venting, up to 30% of the sterilizing value of a 20-minute process may be lost.
    • At 10 pounds.
venting the canner cont44
Venting the Canner, cont.
  • Steam must flow freely from the open vent port in the lid for 10 minutes prior to pressurizing.
    • After putting filled jars in the pressure canner, fasten the lid in place.
    • Leave the ventport open.
      • Pipe where weighted gauge or dead weight will go.
    • Turn the heat on high.
    • When water boils, steam will start to come out of open vent.
    • Wait until there is a constant, strong funnel of steam, then start timing 10 minutes.
    • At the end of the 10 minutes, place weight in place to start the processing for the time sprecified in the directions.
loss of pressure
Loss of Pressure
  • Drop in pressure during processing means the sterilizing value of the process will be decreased.
    • Underprocessing.
  • Foodborne illness (botulism) and/or spoilage could result.
  • If pressure drops below target anytime during the process time, bring the canner back up to pressure and start timing the process over, from the beginning.
fluctuating pressure
Fluctuating Pressure
  • Large and/or quick variations in pressure during processing may cause loss of liquid from jars.
  • If the variation is a drop in pressure after process has begun, it also means the process must be started over.
opening the pressure canner
Opening the Pressure Canner
  • Turn off the heat at end of process and let jars cool in canner until pressure is 0

(Dial gauge should read zero)

  • Wait 10 minutes to remove the canner lid.
  • When the canner lid is opened, tilt it so the steam is pushed away from your face.
  • The steam, water and jars in the canner will still be very hot, even bubbling or boiling.
prepare the canner
Prepare the Canner
  • The canner must have a rack in the bottom
  • Fill the about half full of water, and begin heating
  • There must be enough water so the filled jars will be covered with 1 to 2 inches of water
  • The temperature should be about 180°F when it is time to add your filled jars
prepare the tomatoes
Prepare the Tomatoes
  • Wash tomatoes. Make an “x”-shaped slit in the skin at the base of each tomato.
  • Dip washed tomatoes into boiling water for 30-60 seconds until skins just begin to split.
  • Then dip immediately into cold water.
  • Slip the skins off the tomatoes and core them.
  • Chop the tomatoes into small pieces. Measure out the required amount.
prepare peppers
Prepare peppers
  • Caution: Wear plastic or rubber gloves and do not touch your face while handling or cutting hot peppers. Wash hands thoroughly before touching your face or eyes.
  • Wash the peppers well. Cut the peppers lengthwise. Remove the stems and white membranes. Remove seeds; the more seeds you remove, the milder the salsa will be.
  • Chop the peppers into small pieces. Measure out the required amount.
prepare onions and garlic
Prepare onions and garlic
  • Remove the outer skin. Wash the onion and garlic cloves well.
  • Cut away any tough stem or root end parts.
  • Chop the onions into small pieces. Use a garlic press to finely mince the garlic (or chop very small by hand).
  • Measure out the required amount of each.
cook salsa mixture
Cook Salsa Mixture
  • Canned salsa is a hot pack.
  • 1. Combine all the measured prepared vegetables in a large saucepan with the vinegar and seasonings.
  • 2. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently.
  • 3. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
fill jars part 1
Fill Jars: Part 1
  • 1. Pour the hot salsa mixture into clean, hot canning jars.
  • 2. Use a ladle and a funnel to avoid getting salsa on the sealing surface (and prevent a big mess!)
  • 3. Leave ½”HEADSPACE
  • 4. Liquid should cover the salsa mixture
fill jars part 2
Fill Jars: Part 2
  • 5. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if needed, leaving ½” empty. Use a plastic knife or special bubble remover tool. Do not use metal knives or spoons.
  • 6. Wipe the rims (top surface) of the jars with a dampened clean paper towel, to make sure no food or liquid is on them. This could interfere with sealing.
place lids on jars
Place Lids on Jars
  • 1. Remove the pretreated lids from the warm water
  • 2. Apply the lids to the tops of the jars.
  • 3. Tighten the ring bands over the lids until “fingertip-tight” and snug. DO NOT over tighten and cut through the warm gasket.
place jars in canner
Place Jars in Canner
  • Water Temperature should be about 180°F (simmering)
  • Carefully add the jars to the canner, using a jar lifter.
  • Keep jars straight up; do not tilt.
Turn the heat on high and bring the water in the canner to a full boil over the jars.

After the water is fully boiling, process the jars for the required process time.

The water must never stop boiling. If it does, return the water to a boil and start timing the process again.

After all the jars are in the canner, make sure the water is 1 to 2 inches over the tops of the jars. Place the lid on the canner.

removing jars
Removing Jars
  • Turn off the burner.
  • Remove the lid, turning away from you to avoid getting steam in your face Leave the jars in the canner for 5 minutes.
  • Using the jar lifter, remove the jars from the canner, not tilting
  • Place on a thick clean towel, or plastic or wooden cutting board to cool. Do not sit the jars directly on a cool surface.
cooling jars
Cooling Jars
  • If jar seals properly, the lid will be curved inward and there will be a clear ringing sound when tapped.
  • Let jars sit undisturbed while they are cooling (between 12-24 hours).
storing home canned food
Storing Home Canned Food
  • Remove ring bands from sealed jars
  • Gently wash the lid area and

threads of the jar removing

any food or liquid residues

  • Rinse and dry; label

and date

  • Store without ring bands in

a cool, dark, dry place

  • Refrigerate unsealed jars
  • Avoid temperature extremes
  • For best quality, use within a year
disclaimer and credits
Disclaimer and Credits
  • Disclaimer:
    • Trade and brand names are used only for information. The Cooperative Extension Service, University of Georgia College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences and College of Family & Consumer Sciences, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture do not guarantee nor warrant published standards on any product mentioned; neither does the use of a trade or brand name imply approval of any product to the exclusion of others which may also be suitable.
  • Document Use:
    • Permission is granted to reproduce these materials in whole or in part for educational purposes only (not for profit beyond the cost of reproduction) provided the author and the University of Georgia receive acknowledgment and this notice is included:
    • Reprinted (or Adapted) with permission of the University of Georgia. Andress, E.L. 2003. Freezing fruits and vegetables at home (slides). Athens, GA: The University of Georgia, Cooperative Extension Service.
  • This material is based upon work supported by the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under Agreement No. 00-51110-9762.
photography credits
Photography Credits
  • Elizabeth Andress and Elaine D’Sa, National Center for Home Food Preservation, University of Georgia.
  • Information Staff, Agricultural Research Service, USDA.
  • North Caroline State University