My process goes like this:
Step 1: Get all of the jars and lids out, and place them on the counter. Fill sink with hot water, and soak. I rinse the lids and lay everything out on a towel to air dry as I start the canning process.
Step 2: Gather the ingredients. Organize them in another area on the counter.
Step 3: Place all of the canning utensils next to the jars so they are ready when needed. Fill the canner half full of water. Start to warm the water on low heat. I actually increase the heat when I am ready to seal the lids.
Step 4: Prepare the recipe. My recipes that I use are : tomato sauce for spaghetti, salsa, and plain tomatoes for chili. I try to keep it very simple and to me tomatoes are very easy to process.
One of my favorite tools to use for canning is my food processor. I just throw my tomatoes in and it chops them for me!
Step 5: The actual sealing process of the jars. After recipes have been cooked according to directions on the recipe they are ready to place in the jars. Now by this time my jars have been sitting on the counter air drying on a towel. As well as the the lids. I do my very best to not touch or contaminate any jars.
Using the funnel that is provided in the canning kit I pour the cooked recipe of spaghetti mix, or whatever I have fixed into the jar using the funnel.
Then I take the stick with the jagged edges ( that is my description of it, I’m sure it has a name but I don’t remember) and stick it in the jar. Going around each area in the jar will help prevent air bubbles.
After that, I take the magnet stick provided in the canning kit and use it to put the lids on, and then tighten them.
Step 6: Insert the jars upside inside of the rack before placing in the canner. At this point the water in the canner should be boiling. Also, one more tip about the water, prior to heating make sure it is only filled about half full.
Insert the rack into the canner and boil for the duration described in the recipe.
Step 7: When the timer goes off indicating it is time to take the canning rack out of the canner, USE HOT MITTS!!! It will be hot. That was found out by trial and error.
Then set the jars upright on the towel used to let them air dry and listen for them to seal. It will sound like a loud POP! I count my pops because you have to know how many jars sealed.
Then I go to check on them after the pops and press on the lid. If it doesn’t move that means they have sealed. If they haven’t sealed remove the lids and do the canner process over with them to re-seal.
Step 8: To label my jars I take a sharpie and mark the name and date on the top of the lids. I buy new each year so these are disposable to me. That way I don’t have messy labels on my jars. Since recycling saves money, I do re-use my jars.
Canning is a great money saver for the winter. My philosophy is like that of the little red hen….I want to be prepared when winter strikes or money is low. Having a storage of food let’s me rest a little better at night.