Stretch the fruits of your garden labor with canning - News, Weather & Sports

Stretch the fruits of your garden labor with canning

Jars of pickles ready to be canned. Jars of pickles ready to be canned.

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - It is no surprise that with more people planting gardens, more people are trying their hand at canning and preserving the fruits of their labor.

At the Bullitt County Extension Office, canning classes are becoming more popular and there is a lot to learn for both beginners and even those with more experience. For example, the lids that seal in the yummy goodness no longer have to be brought to a boil.  

Extension Agent Ruth Chowning gets a lot of question about that. "Nowadays, manufacturers have changed the rubber inside the lid. You don't want to bring that to a boil. It will destroy the seal," she explained.

A lot of beginners start out with what is called 'water bath canning.' That is where the water is brought to boiling point and then the jars are left to boil for 10 or 15 minutes according to the directions on your canning packets.  

That is another big change for canning today. No longer are all the ingredients for canning bought separately, like the salt and the spices, instead you can buy a packet already put together for everything from bread and butter pickles to salsas and chili. The packets are only around $2.

"When our mothers canned, they had to use lime and salt, put it in a big crock and let them soak," said long time canner Delores Mudd. However, with today's easier steps, you can spend an afternoon canning up water bath pickles that will be ready to eat the next day.

Something important to know about canning, is that the USDA only recommends water bath canning for more acidic fruits and pickling vegetables because bacteria does not grow as easily in these types of foods.  

For lower ph vegetables, like green beans and corn, you will need to use a pressure cooker. The extension office will check out your pressure cooker for you to be sure it is safe and ready to prepare your foods. They will also make sure a dial gauge canner is accurate. You need an accurate temperature to keep those foods safe.

For more information on the canning classes at the Bullitt County Extension office July 17 and July 31 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., call 502-641-6513.

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