Importance of Canning

— Written By Patti Snyder
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Canning jars

It’s that time of the year again, when we break out our pressure canners and get to work. For hours on end, our weekends are spent in the kitchen preserving our homegrown favorites. Most of us have been doing the same old song and dance for years and years. Others, like myself, might be new to the canning game.

Fresh foods are perishable because they contain a high percentage of water. The practice of canning preserves fresh food by removing oxygen, destroying enzymes, and preventing the growth of bacteria, yeasts and mold. Using proper canning methods is extremely important in keeping your family safe when eating home canned foods. Improper canning methods can result in the production of C. Botulinum, which is responsible for the illness know as Botulism. Botulism mimics a stroke and results in facial paralysis, drooping eyelids, drooling, and in severe cases, can lead to death. It is important to follow these proper canning practices:

  • carefully select and wash fresh produce,
  • peel according to recipe,
  • hot packing many foods,
  • adding acids (lemon juice or vinegar) to some foods,
  • using acceptable jars and self-sealing lids, and
  • processing jars in a boiling-water or pressure canner for the
    correct period of time.

Purchase a science-based food preservation guide. “So Easy to Preserve” (University of Georgia Cooperative Extension), the Ball Blue Book, and the USDA  Complete Guide to Home Canning are three highly-regarded home food preservation resources. The recipes in these guides have been tested for safety and quality. When you obtain your new guide, read through it prior to your first attempt at preserving. By doing this, most of your questions will be answered, and you will know what equipment you need to purchase prior to beginning. If you prefer a web-based source, check out The National Center for Home Food Preservation website at This site sponsored by the University of Georgia, contains instructions for preserving foods by canning, freezing, and dehydration. The site also has instructions for ordering the “So Easy to Preserve” food preservation guide and you will also find a link to the USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning.

Please reach out to Patti Snyder, if you have any questions.