How to Can (Cont.)
Continued from How To Can
Now comes the crucial part, heat sterilization. There are two methods for doing this, boiling water canning and pressure canning. Place jars on racks in canner following specific canner directions. Place lid on pot and wait for the required time period.
Remove Jars from boiling water, tighten lids as appropriate. Set jars aside an inch apart and let cool for 12 to 24 hours. Then test your seals. The lid should be concave and not move when pressed. You can also try tapping them with a spoon. A clear ringing sound means that the seal has set properly. A dull thud may be bad news, but might also mean that food is touching the lid. Also turn jars on sides and roll to check for leakage.
If within a few hours of heat sterilization you find that the seals have not set, you have a couple of options. You can refrigerate the food and use it before the food spoils. You can pour the contents in a sealable plastic bag and freeze it. Or you can sterilize the food again. If you pick the final option, then adjust the head space in the jar and use new lids.
When the jars have finished cooling, it is time to store the canned food. Ideally the best place to store canned food is a cool (not freezing) dark, dry place. Heat can cause spoilage, direct light can cause discoloration and dampness can cause the rings to rust.
Now, frequently visit your storage area, to both admire your handiwork and to access a supply of the best canned goods in the county.
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