According to Jananne Finck, nutrition and wellness educator
at the University of Illinois Extension Springfield Center, the
National Center for Home Food Preservation released two new
summer 2005 recommendations for preserving foods with a pressure canner or
boiling water bath canner. Both canning procedures are popular
methods when preserving fruits, vegetables, pickles, jams and
jellies for home use.
When using the boiling water canner, the
recent update includes the following: "After jars have been
processed in boiling water for the recommended time, turn off the
heat and remove the canner lid. Wait 5 minutes before
removing jars from the boiling water bath canner." Previously jars
were removed from the canner after the processing time was
For the pressure canning process, the following is new for 2005:
"After the canner is completely depressurized, remove the weight
from the vent port or open the petcock. Wait 10 minutes; then
unfasten the lid and remove it carefully."
For a complete step-by-step description on pressure canning
foods, visit the University of Georgia Extension website at
The boiling water canner directions are available at
For more information visit the National Center for Home Food
http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/, which is linked from the above sites.
[To download Adobe Reader for the PDF
files, click here.]
Acidifying tomatoes when canning
Unfortunately, some old family recipes for canning tomatoes are
out of date. Many of the low-acid tomato varieties grown today
require an extra step before processing, according to Finck.
U.S. Department of Agriculture research has found that many of
the tomato varieties are on the border between acid and low-acid, so
they should be treated (acidified) to ensure safety before canning.
To acidify tomatoes, add 2 tablespoons of bottled lemon juice or
one-half teaspoon of citric acid per quart, Finck advises. For
pints, use 1 tablespoon bottled lemon juice or one-fourth teaspoon
citric acid. The acid can be added directly to the jar before
filling with the tomatoes.
If the final product tastes too acidic, you may want to add a
little sugar to offset the taste.
For more information on tomatoes and acidification, visit the
National Center for Home Food Preservation website at
Processing tomatoes safely
How do you can tomatoes? According to Finck, many people use the
raw pack method when canning tomatoes. Whole or halved tomatoes
canned in a raw pack require 85 minutes to process pints or
quarts in a boiling water bath.
Finck states that the hot pack method for canning tomatoes, while
not the most popular method, takes much less processing time. Time
using a boiling water bath canner is 35 minutes for pints and 45
minutes for quarts.
To hot pack tomatoes, wash, peel and core tomatoes before boiling
gently for five minutes.
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The use of a pressure canner will result in a shorter processing
time too. Pints and quarts of hot, crushed tomatoes can be processed
with a dial-gauge pressure canner at 11 pounds of pressure for 15
minutes. For weighted gauges, process pints and quarts at 10 pounds
for the same time, 15 minutes.
For more information on canning tomatoes, visit the National
Center for Home Food Preservation website at
Use pressure canner to can green beans
Young, tender and firm green beans picked fresh from the garden
are ready for the table or for the home canner with a few simple
steps. Using the right canning equipment will ensure that home
canned beans are safe for later use.
Since green beans are low in acid, water bath canners do not
provide high enough temperatures to destroy dangerous botulism
spores, according to Finck. Adding canning powders or using a
boiling water bath process is never a safe alternative to using the
pressure canner when canning green beans.
She provided the following steps on preparing and canning green
beans at home, as recommended by the U.S. Department of
Agriculture’s National Center for Home Food Preservation.
Wash beans several times. Remove and discard any diseased or
rusty pods. Trim the ends. Cut or snap beans into 1-inch pieces.
To hot pack the beans, cover them with boiling water and boil for
five minutes. Pack them loosely into jars, leaving 1 inch for
headspace. Add 1 teaspoon canning salt to quarts, one-half teaspoon
to pints, if desired.
To use the raw pack method, fill jars tightly with raw beans,
leaving 1 inch headspace. Add canning salt if desired, then add
boiling water, leaving 1 inch of headspace to allow water to expand.
Don't try to line beans up vertically in the jar because they may be
packed too tightly for heat to penetrate the beans.
Wipe the jar rims clean, and then place pretreated lids on jars
so that the sealing compound is next to the glass. Screw metal bands
on firmly, but do not force.
In Illinois, process pints (hot or raw pack) at 11 pounds of
pressure in a dial-gauge canner for 20 minutes. Process quarts (hot
or raw pack) for 25 minutes. When using a weighted-gauge pressure
canner, process at 10 pounds of pressure for the same amount of
For more information about home canning, contact your local
University of Illinois Extension office or check the National Center
for Home Food Preservation website at
Finck, nutrition and wellness educator,
University of Illinois
Extension, Springfield Center]