Basic Canning Tips

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1. Use only clean, perfect canning jars (no nicks or cracks). You may reuse jars, but always use new seals and rings.

2. Start with cold water when you boil the jars, seals, and rings to sterilize them. Use a rack or trivet to keep jars off the bottom of the pot. Heat to the boiling point; then lower to a gentle boil for at least five minutes.

3. Use tongs to remove the jars and place them on a clean dishtowel. Use a canning funnel (to avoid spills) to fill jars. Run a hot, sterilized knife around the inside of each jar to release air pockets.

4. Don’t touch the seals. Use tongs to remove the seals from the hot water and place them on the jars. Repeat with screw rings. Quickly screw the rings down as tightly as possible.

5. If you’re going to give these jars a boiling-water bath, put them back into the kettle for additional sterilization. Leave the jars in place until they’re cool and you hear the “pop” of the seal contracting, creating a vacuum inside the jar. Label and date each jar. Store in a cool, dark place. Jars processed this way will keep at least a year.

For complete canning and pickling instructions, go to:

USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning

USDA Publications


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