Plan Ahead for Canning Season

Now is the time to start preparing  for canning season. It is always a good idea to purchase your supplies early so you are not running around hunting for supplies at the last minute. You can buy canning supplies at many grocery stores, home goods and farm supply stores, hardware stores, big box retailers, and online.

Begin by taking an inventory of your supplies.  See what you have on hand and what you need to buy before heading to the store. Inspect gaskets on pressure canners and make sure your racks are in good condition. Now is the perfect time to take your dial gauge canner to the Extension Office and have agents check it for accuracy. Gauges should be checked once a year, and this service is free.  Don’t forget to check your jars too. You can reuse canning jars year after year as long as they are not chipped, cracked, or have nicks along the sealing edge. You can also use ring bands over and over if they are not rusted.

When purchasing new jars, buy mason-type jars specifically made for canning. Other types of jars such as storage jars or craft jars are not suitable for canning and may break under the high temperatures of processing. You will also need lids and rings to seal the jars. Experts recommend two-piece lids (flat lid and ring band). If you cannot find two-piece lids, you can buy one-piece lids for use in a boiling water bath canner. Do not use one-piece lids in a pressure canner.

Get more information on safe canning, including research-based canning recipes, by contacting your local County Extension Office.

Source: Annhall Norris, Food Preservation and Food Safety Extension Specialist