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Its September and gardens are brimming with fresh fruit and vegetables what is more, summer harvests can be enjoyed all winter by preserving them now. Canning as a way to preserve has become popular once again and surprisingly, it is the millennial generation that has reawakened this kitchen art.
A survey done for Ball® brand canning line showed that 68% of Americans preferred making their own fresh, rather than store-bought, foods and of those 49% were millennials. The millennial desire to preserve and savor fresh, organic produce started last summer with the quarantines; they reported that were interested in canning because they loved cooking and that canning seemed fun. (healthycanning.com)
For those of us who may be (or have been) skeptical that canning fresh produce is seeing a resurgence, try finding lids at this time of year!
There are two methods for canning: pressure and water bath processing. Canning preserves food by bringing the temperature inside the jar high enough to kill toxic microorganisms. High temperature also stops enzyme activity. In both methods a vacuum is created; with lack of air, nothing can grow inside the jar, which keeps food from spoiling.
Foods with a pH of 4.6 or lower are low acid and must be processed by pressure because the bacteria botulism can be killed only when temperatures exceed 240° F. Pressure processing raises the temperature of water higher than the 220° F of boiling water; high temperature is necessary to prevent growth of the odorless and colorless botulism, which if consumed will result in death. Pressure processing requires expensive equipment and is much more difficult than water bath canning.
Water bath canning is used for processing high-acid foods like pickles, jams, jellies, and fruit. Acidity is adjusted in recipes with tested proportions of vinegar and for this reason it is critical that proportions are kept to tested levels in the recipes. Water bath processing works by transferring heat to products inside jars by the boiling water, which raises products to a temperature lethal to microorganisms and inactivating enzymes. During water-bath processing air is eliminated from jars, creating a vacuum where organisms cannot grow and spoil the product.
Any deep pot that holds enough water to cover the tops of jars can be used in boiling water bath canning. The USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning gives step by step instructions for sterilizing equipment and safe practices.
Canning brings such a sense of satisfaction especially when freezer space is limited. Going to the pantry in January and bringing down a jar of pickles, beets, or applesauce is a reward for time spent in the kitchen in September.