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Planning Your Canning:

When you are planning out your canning season you will have to keep in mind whether you are going to be getting your fruits and vegetables from the farmer's market or whether you plan on growing your own in a garden. Perhaps you will even do a mixture of the two. But no matter which way you plan on getting your foods for your family you will need to have a game plan prior to getting (or planting) your fruits and/or vegetables in order to determine what you family's needs will be.

Your family's needs/wants are the things that you eat and enjoy often. Use this as your starting point to decide on the types of food and recipes that you will be canning. Read through the recipes and the recommendations to determine what lids, bands, jars, etc. you will need for each and then assemble these canning tools. Before you do anything else with your food you will want to be sure that your canner is working properly. Check the gauge, gasket, vent pipe, and safety valve. If any of these parts is damaged you will want to find and replace with pressure canner parts that fit your particular brand and model canner before you begin. You will want to have your canner ready and all canning supplies purchased a few days before you are ready to start canning. This will allow you time to locate and wash everything.

Be sure you allow enough time in order to start canning immediately after harvesting or purchasing your produce so that you can ensure the safety and quality of your home canned goodies. If it will be necessary to keep your fruits and/or veggies for longer than a couple of hours before you begin canning then you will want to store the produce properly in order to minimize the effects of deterioration from microorganisms and enzymes. Be sure to follow all recipe guidelines and make sure that your recipes are from a reliable tested source. You also do not want to make any changes to the recipe or else you risk problems with your canned foods.

When you are setting the time that you want to start canning you will want to keep in mind that once the processing of a recipe is started that it must not be interrupted. It might be wiser for you to do small batches of canning over the course of a few days. This will make the canning process a little less overwhelming and allow you to enjoy it.