How to Prepare Produce
How do you create the best preserves possible? Well, the best preserves and canned goods come from using the best ingredients that you are able to find, buy, or grow. Fruits & vegetables that are at their freshest should be used in order to create an amazing food product. Vegetables are usually at their freshest at harvesting, so they should be canned or eaten as soon as possible. Fruits, on the other hand, are sometimes picked before they are fully ripe. While the majority of fruits do best in preserving when they are slightly under ripe, you may still want to give them a day or so to get just a little riper before canning them.
You will want to thoroughly wash your produce in order to get rid of any chemicals and dirt (a large colander is helpful during this step). If you are preparing rough root vegetables you may want to use a scrubber brush to get all of the dirt off. Bruised and moldy fruit should be thrown out, as micro-organisms most likely have started to grow on them (and that is something you want to avoid adding to your preserves at all costs.) If your fruit just has surface blemishes or imperfections then it is still okay to use.
Unless the recipe calls for peeling the fruit or vegetable, you will want to leave the peels on because some peels contain valuable pectin, which helps to thicken the end product.
Now that you have your produce prepared you will want to read through the canning recipe you are using and set out all your ingredients. And always remember to get all your measurements as accurate as possible!