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Here are 13 tips to guide the novice and the seasoned home canner this season

Here are tips to help you can your favorite foods this fall
Posted at 1:45 PM, Aug 04, 2023

While many people know and understand basic freezing and dehydrating methods for preserving foods, it becomes a different story when they contemplate bottling.

We invited April Litchford, PhD, from Utah State University Extension, to give us some tips.

She says food preservation is a science and research-based practice. When preserving food with water-bath or pressure canning, a kitchen must be turned into a laboratory.

April gave us 13 tips to help guide both the novice and the seasoned home canner:

1. Follow canning directions exactly.

2. Always use up-to-date, scientifically tested recipes, and only use approved canning methods (boiling water bath or pressure).

3. Adjust altitude by adding more time to water bath canning or increasing pressure for pressure-canned products.

4. Be sure that canned products have a proper lid seal.

5. Don't add extra starch, flour, or other thickeners to a recipe.

6. Don't add extra onions, chilies, bell peppers, or other vegetables to salsas.

7. Be sure to vent the pressure canner properly.

8. Get your dial-type pressure canner gauges tested annually.

9. Don't use an oven instead of a water bath for processing.

10. Be sure to acidify canned tomatoes properly.

11. Do not cool the pressure canner under running water.

12. Do not let food prepared for "hot pack" processing cool in jars before placing them in the canner for processing.

13. Be aware of recent reports of vinegar in grocery stores labeled at 4% acidity. The vinegar percentage needs to be 5% to be safe, so be sure to check the label.

If you have questions you can contact your local USU Extension office. Additional information can be found at canning.usu.edu or check out their Preserve the Harvest online course and use code PRESERVE23 for a $5 discount.