The Taste of Summer: How to Can
Do you ever wish you could just bottle-up the summer sun, the freshly cut grass smell and save it for some gloomy winter days? ...me too!
You may not be able to preserve the summer sun, but you can preserve those delicious summer flavours. How? you ask. Canning! It can be a fun activity for the whole family. The idea behind canning is to preserve the freshest and ripest summer foods. Foods that are picked when they’re at their ripest have the highest nutritional value. So they’re not only the tastiest but the healthiest, too. The delicious benefits will keep on coming for months ahead.
How to get started
- Canning jars and lids
- A large pot
- A cooling rack
- Tongs (for lifting the hot jars out of the water!)
- Clean kitchen towels
- Jar labels
How it works
Here’s a step-by-step guide to canning:
- Clean all of your jars and lids (running them through the dishwasher on a hot cycle works wonderfully).
- Place the lids in a bowl with boiling water until you’re ready to seal your goodies.
- Fill a large pot with water (¾ full is best) and bring it to a boil.
- Place the jars in the boiling water for 4 minutes to sterilize them.
- With your clean kitchen towels, dry the jars.
- Fill the jars with pickles or jam! Leave about ½ an inch of space on top.
- Top the jars with the solution of your choice (vinegar or sugar syrup).
- Screw on the clean lids!
- Now that the jars are done, let them cool completely before you touch them. 24 hours should do the job.
- Test your seal! Once the jars are cool, remove the screw on part of the lid. Test the actual lid by pulling on it — if it comes off easily, the seal didn’t work. Tip: If the seal doesn’t work, store the food in your fridge and eat this week.
- Use your labels to date and label your food!
- Store your cans in a cool, dark area.
- Most things need to be used within the year!
Before you dive right into canning, I suggest you visit the National centre for home food preserving. This resource has in-depth knowledge about how to safely can and preserve all kinds of foods! Safety first!
Now that you know the basics, here are some of my favourite foods to can!
- Pie Fillings
- Fresh corn
- Tomato sauce
- Fresh strawberries and blueberries
AND, if this all sounds like a little too much work, the easiest and quickest way to preserve those summer flavours — freezing. Go to your garden or farmers market and pick up some local fresh fruits and freeze them for winter smoothies!
Chef Lisa Ruscica
Chief Food Ambassador