May 1, 2012

Help! I need some canning confidence!

Dear blogging friends and readers,

Hello there! I am about to embark on a learning experience of canning fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables this spring and summer. I have been VERY interested in canning for years now, but have never been BRAVE enough to take that step. This might seem silly to some, but I think it's because I did not grow up with a mom that canned....or with a grandma that canned. My mom always cooked and baked...every single day....I have totally inherited that gene from her....but she never canned or preserved food...other than freezing, of course.  My mom was very domestic, she was a stay at home mom, she was never afraid to try new things.....however, she never canned a day in her life......and so, I am at a little disadvantage here for not growing up in a home where this was the norm. Oh I wish I had....because then I don't think I would even think twice about it.

Today I received my new pressure canner in the mail! Yay!!  I have already purchased a water bath canner and accessories. I am on my step at a time! I will first master water bath canning, then I will move on to pressure canning. I do NOT plan on learning to can meat. No, I am really not that brave. However I do want to be able to can green beans, carrots and corn....and for that, a pressure canner is a must. I have been interested in canning for years now and I am finally giving it a go.

Now, having said there anyone out there reading this, that can give me some confidence. First let me tell you....I am a seeker of you do not have to worry about me not taking the proper don't have to worry about me creating my own recipes and just winging it, I would not do that in a million years, ...I have read and understand when to use the water bath canner and I know when to use the pressure canner...I am very aware of the safety rules to me, I will be up on every single pre-caution, every single sterilization process, every single attention to detail there is, before I pressure can...or water bath can. I am not interested in killing over from botulism.

So getting that out of the way.....can any of you, who have ever canned, please talk to me....tell me your experiences, tell me your mishaps, let me learn from you, tell me your success, tell me how you have been canning for years and it has been wonderful.....tell me you have been canning for years and never got sick, I am going to do this with our without you....but it would sure be nice to have some positive talk and feedback with you about this!  I NEED FEEDBACK people, positive feedback!! If you can help me, I would be most appreciative!

P.S. I only know a couple people who have canned just a couple of different items....such as tomatoes, salsa and jam....and that's it. Also, when I have talked to these people....they aren't anal retentative about it as I am. They are just kinda casual when talking about it and I am not finding that to be of any use to me. My one friend who has canned 2 different items is like "ummm, well, ya, you just do this, and then that and, oh wait, I forget, oh ya, that's right.....scared? of what? no. I'm not scared....I just do it.....{and then I'm like.......ok!?!?!} These books that I have been reading offer up the most scariest of information about potential deadly botulism....why aren't you afraid????? LOL!

Ok, so anyhow......can anyone boost my confidence here???? I need a friend!!!


  1. You can do it!! I took a Master Canning Course in Nevada about a year ago and loved it. I am so excited for you and your new adventure! A pressure canner!! How fun! I don't have my own but borrow a friends when needed. The first thing I canned was chicken! lol it was REALLY easy too! I was very surprised. Please contact me if you need any other encouragement :) I am excited to hear what you can first. I am SO glad to hear that you will follow all the guidelines too ;)

  2. This is exciting Bonnie!

    A couple of tips that I would give you: when processing tomatoes (either whole, chopped up or juice) in the hot water bath canner, I always add at least a tsp or so of vinegar to each jar, to make sure they are acidic enough. Some tomatoes are less acidic by nature than others. Since I don't know which ones are which, I just always add it. We have never gotten sick! :)

    I always let the jars sit to cool for 24 hours before storing them, just to make sure the seals are tight. Then I remove the rings and wash the jars in hot soapy water to get any residue off from around the top of the jars.

    It's important to follow the processing times closely, but I'm sure you will be doing that! :)

    One other thing I would suggest...always use jars that are specifically made for canning, not old mayo jars, etc. I have had them break in the canner on occasion. That's a mess.

    Oh yes...and have fun!!!

  3. You are too cute!! First of all. .as much of a kitchen rat as you are. .you will have NO. .I mean. .NOOOO problem!! The quickest, easiest way to start (in my lowly opinion) is to go get a jar of organic (or not) grape juice and some pectin. .and make some 1/2 pints of grape jelly!! That will give you the gist of it, without ruining a whole bunch of food you bought. The bad thing about pressure canning stuff like carrots and beans is that it takes a LOT of produce, which is why many people don't do it at home. .unless they grow it themselves. It's probably cheaper to buy it than make it. .pressure canning is a fun challenge, but time consuming. I did green beans years ago. .but my hubby didn't like them as well as the store ones, and it was a major hassle to clean, stem, cut, stuff jars, and wait on the canner to do it's thing. Your own salsa would be divine, as would your own pasta sauce (I would love to do that, never tried it!) Applesauce is a fave of mine, and my recipe is on the blog. .probably under the canning tag. Jams/preserves/jellies are always great!! I have a superb pomegranate jalepeno jelly that I can and give for gifts!! So, even if you don't enjoy it for canning all the food you eat, you will totally love to make cool little gifty things with it!! You can email me ANY time. .I love to give advice, ask anyone that knows me :-) Good luck. .and can't wait to hear how things go!
    And my theory always was. .mental note to self. .we ate a jar of canned food. .if anyone gets sick, remind them in the ER!! :-) You can do it!!

  4. Bonnie,
    You will enjoy canning! Don't think that having a mom that canned makes things eaiser. My mom canned and she terrified me by saying that watch the canner carefully or it will blow. I didn't buy a canner until last year because of that. What a mistake to wait so long. I love love love it! I canned meat, salsa, and syrup. Just read the instructions. It seems so complicated until you do it once. I promise after the first time you will not be so intimidated. I highly reccommend canned meat if you have never tried it. You will learn to love the pop of jars sealing. Enjoy! I am happy for you.

  5. I've don't a little water bath canning. Not hard to do, just dot all your I's and cross your T's. You'll do fine. As for direction, here's a link to one of my favorite blogs. Suzanne grew up as a city girl in Wash DC and then moved to the country where she's now living on a farm. She's done lots of posts about canning and here are 2 posts that I hope will help, Water Bath Canning: And Pressure canning: And then she has a discussion forum thread for canning too:

  6. Oh, and here's my post about making plum jelly.

  7. Can't help much. My family did lots of canning but I have only made jelly. Looks like your on the right path. Good luck!