Five tips for canning in a senior living community
What’s the difference between cooking and canning? Turns out, canning is just one step beyond cooking, making it ideal for saving yummy fruits and vegetables for the winter months. Canning is a method that applies heat to food in a closed glass jar to prevent natural spoilage by removing air from the jar to create a seal.
At Holiday Retirement, we’re proud to offer communities with shared gardens for our seniors who love to grow, harvest and cook with fresh, local ingredients. And our communal kitchens make the perfect space to can to your heart’s content. Explore the tips below to learn how you can preserve delicious foods now, to enjoy later on.
Pick a technique
There are two techniques for canning: water bath canning and pressure canning. Water bath canning is ideal for high-acid foods, such as fruits, fruit juices, jams, jellies, salsas, tomatoes with added acid, pickles and relishes, chutney, vinegar and condiments. Find a step-by-step water bath canning guide here.
Pressure canning should be used when preserving low-acid foods like vegetables, meats, poultry and seafood. Find a step-by-step pressure canning guide here.
Use only the best
Make sure to pick your produce the day you wish to can it. If you are unable to can on the day you pick, freeze your harvest immediately and instead can when you are able.
Stick to the recipe
While cooking recipes allow for adjustments all the time, canning is not the time to get creative. Canning recipes are very precise for a reason. One minor misstep can have catastrophic effects on the taste and quality of the end result. Looking for canning recipe inspiration? Check out these 17 canning recipes.
Don’t forget to sterilize
Avoid jars with any chips or cracks. Wash the jars, lids and bands in hot, soapy water and rinse well. To sterilize, place the jars upright on a wire rack in a large pot, fill the pot with hot water until the jars are submerged and bring the water to a boil. Boil for 10 minutes, turn off the heat and leave jars in the water. Use stainless-steel tongs to lift the jars from the pot, and place them on a padded layer of clean towels.
Seal with care
When pouring food into jars, fill up to a quarter-inch from the top and wipe the rims carefully. Eliminate air bubbles by poking through the content of the jar with a skewer. Place the lid onto the rim and, using one finger to hold the lid securely, twist on the screw band until it's tight. After boiling the jars, allow them to stand out on towels for 24 hours. When the jars are cool, check for a slight indentation in the lid, which indicates a vacuum seal.
Did this article get you motivated to whip up something delicious in the kitchen? Find yummy recipes to try in our first-ever cookbook, Home Cooking, From Our Family to Yours: Featuring Resident and Chef Recipes from Holiday Retirement. To learn about senior living options in your area, reach out to us today!