credit – Susan Jackson K-State Family and Consumer Sciences
You made it through another canning season, and when the last jar was filled you may have been glad to stash all equipment away quickly in order to be done….so why not take a little time right now to check all canning equipment and be prepared for this year’s food preservation season?
First inventory all canning equipment. Do you need more of a certain size of jar? Check current jars for nicks, cracks or rough edges along the lip and throughout the jar. Empty, clean, canning jars should be stored in boxes or totes with thin cardboard between layers to protect them from breakage. Next inventory flats of the lid, make note of what you’ll need for this season. Carefully check screw bands for rust, recycle those that are unusable.
Next, check canners – are the bottoms flat and free from warping? Are the safety valves still flexible on the pressure canner lid? Are air vents clear of food particles? Has the pressure dial gauge been checked for accuracy? Are the canner handles tight and secure? Make sure the canners are clean. The darkened surface on the inside of an aluminum canner can be cleaned by filling it above the darkened line with a mixture of 1 tablespoon cream of tartar to each quart of water. Place the canner on the stove, heat water to a boil, and boil covered until the dark deposits disappear. Sometimes stubborn deposits may require the addition of more cream of tartar. Empty the canner and wash it with hot soapy water, rinse and dry.
Store crumpled newspapers inside canner to absorb moisture and odors. Place the lid upside down on the canner. Do not store a pressure canner with the lid clamped and sealed onto the canner.
Does the pressure canner rubber seal, gasket, feel flexible and still fits tightly in the lid groove? Make sure small equipment, such as a jar lifter, headspace tool, flat magnetic wand, bubble freer and funnel are in good condition and functional. This is also a great time to think about updating canning publications. There will be a new edition of the “Ball Blue Book” released soon, as well as the ultimate Food Preservation Guidebook “So Easy to Preserve” has been updated for this season.
You can always check with K-State Research and Extension, Harvey County, in the Courthouse for the latest canning guidelines.
Preserve it Fresh. Preserve it Safe.