Written by Sean P.O. MacCath-Moran
We LOVE to can food at our house! It's a rare and wonderful treat to be able to pull items from our seasonal harvest off the shelf to find them tasting as fresh as the day they came off the vine. It fills us with pride and joy to give out Yule gifts of our berry and fruit jams or to serve guests sauce we put up over the summer using nothing but vegetables and spices grown in our own garden. Best of all, canning is easy to do and costs very little to get started!
All that being said, there is a dark side to canning. If you mess up, you can grow nasty, nasty things in your canning that have unpleasant effects. Botulism, for example, is a very powerful toxin - just one microgram is lethal to humans, blocking nerve function and leading to respiratory and musculoskeletal paralysis. So, on that cheery thought, let me stress that sanitation is key in successful canning as is good planning and preparation. It's also important not to deviate from a given recipe until you're sure you understand why all the ingredients are there (e.g. don't drop the citrus juice and/or vinegar from a canned salsa recipe as this ingredient insures the acid content of your food is high enough to withstand bacterial growths). In all, it's important for me stress that if you mess things up and kill off your family, friends, or neighbors by using bad canning practices, then it's all your fault, not mine; read "all warranties stated or implied herein are null and void forever and ever and ever, neener neener".
- Something To Can (e.g. Baked Tomato Sauce)
- Canning Jars
- New Canning Jar Seals
- Wide Exit Funnel (a.k.a. Home Canning Funnel)
- Jar Picker Upper Thingy
- Large, Deep Sauce Pan; get that big stainless steel one out that you use for chili.
- 1 Metric Whack® Water; preferably filtered.
- Hot Pads
- Clean Towel(s)
- Clean Washcloth(s); possibly dipped in bleach water.