What can you Can? Food Canning Tips for Beginners 

 August 10, 2022

Written by Yemisi Iyilade, Project Management Consultant, Scientist & Innovation Expert.

If you’re searching for a way to keep your food, consider canning, but then the next question that comes to mind is what can you can?

A few days ago, I’d made some jam from the grapes I gathered from our garden at the back of the house the previous day, and my daughter had asked me about foods that can be preserved.

Then I had an epiphany, recalling the canning method as a scientific technique for keeping food safe.

Canning is an excellent method to preserve your crops and prepare a quick supper or snack in just a few minutes. During canning, food is sealed in airtight jars or cans and then heated to a temperature that destroys microorganisms.

This process allows food to be stored for long periods of time, making it an ideal way to preserve your harvest or store food for emergencies.

The history of home food storage is a long and varied one. Food has been stored for centuries in various ways, from caves and cellars to pantries and larders. But food storage has gotten a lot easier and more convenient over the years thanks to canning and freezing.

Many individuals are concerned about food storage, especially during emergency situations. This might include stocking up on non-perishable items in case of a power outage or having a supply of food and water in case of a quick change in life situation. Whatever the reason or type of emergency situation, it’s essential to be prepared.

The canning process was first developed by the French inventor Nicolas Appert in 1809. The process was later improved upon by the Englishman Peter Durand, who received a patent for his improvements in 1812. Canning is a very old food preservation method; however, its popularity increased greatly during and after World War II, when rationing made it a necessity for many families.

When food preservation or canning is not done correctly, bacterial growth becomes a major concern. This means that food spoilage and bacteria development may cause sickness if the correct canning process is not followed.

Vomiting, diarrhea, and cramps are some of the symptoms of food poisoning, and sometimes hospitalization might even be required in severe situations. Hence, it is very important to always follow the directions for canning food meticulously to avoid this or any other bad health impact.

The process of canning is still one of the most basic and efficient methods to store food at home. It allows you to regulate the flavor of your meals and avoid wasting good food that otherwise goes bad and is tossed out.

When done properly, canned foods can last for years, providing a shelf life typically ranging from one to five years if the food contents are processed and sealed in an airtight container, although under specific circumstances it can be much longer. For example, a freeze-dried canned product, such as a dried soup mix, can last as long as 30 years in an airtight container.

What is the Best home food preservation method?

I believe Canning is the most effective food preservation technique because it extends the shelf life of foods and allows us to eat fresh produce all year round.

The two most common types of canning are water bath canning and pressure canning. Water bath canning is best for high-acid foods like fruits, jams, and pickles. Pressure canning is best for low-acid foods like vegetables, meats, and soups.

Water Bath Canning Process

For water bath canning, you will need a large pot with a lid and a rack that fits inside, the process is pretty simple.

You start by sterilizing your jars in boiling water. To do this you place the jars on the rack and bring the water to a boil. Boil the jars for the time specified in your recipe. Turn off the heat and let the jars sit in the hot water for a few minutes before removing them to cool on a towel.

Then, when the food you want to preserve is ready, fill the jar with your prepared meal, leaving enough headroom at the top of the jar according to your recipe or canning guide.

Wipe the rims of the jars with a damp cloth to remove any food or residue, then place the canning lid on top and screw on the ring until it’s finger-tight.

Then, in a large pot, set a canning rack at the bottom. Add enough water to cover the jars by at least an inch. Carefully lower the jars into the pot using a jar lifter.

Bring the water to a boil and boil for the amount of time specified in your recipe. Remove the pot from the heat and let it sit for a few minutes before removing the jars.

Finally, place the jars on a towel to cool. Once they’re cooled, check the seals by pressing down on the center of the lid. If it pops up and makes a clicking sound, it’s not sealed properly and you’ll need to start over.

If the lid doesn’t move, it’s sealed and you can store the jars with it’s content, for up to a year. That’s it!

You’ve now successfully canned your own food using the water bath method, and you can start enjoying your own homemade canned goods!

Pressure Canning Process

Pressure canning is done at a higher temperature than water bath canning, so it is important to follow the safety instructions that come with your pressure canner. To pressure can, you will need a pressure canner.

The process starts when you place the filled jars in the canner and add water according to the canner instructions. When you close the lid and turn on the heat, the canner will build up pressure and start to jiggle.

Once it reaches the correct pressure, you can set a timer for the amount of time specified in your recipe.

A good pressure canner will have a few key features that make it ideal for preserving food, such as

  1. First, be made of durable material that can withstand the high pressures required for canning.
  2. Second, have a tight seal to prevent any air or water from entering the cans.
  3. Third, be large enough to accommodate the amount of food you want to preserve.
  4. and finally, It should be easy to use so that you can get the most out of your food preservation efforts.

What are the different foods that can be canned?

There are a number of different ways to store food at home, and there are a lot of different kinds of food that you can put in a can for storage. The most important thing is to choose the food that you use most of the time and use a canning process that will work for you and your family.

Here is a list of some common types of food that can be canned:

1) Fruit

Canned fruit is definitely a staple in my house. I love having canned peaches, pineapple, and mandarin oranges on hand for a quick snack or to add to a recipe. I know that you can always buy canned fruit at the store, but there’s something about making it yourself that just tastes better.

There are so many different types of fruits that can be canned. I’ve personally canned peaches, pineapple, mandarin oranges, and pears. I’m looking forward to trying to can some cherries this summer.

Canned fruit is also great for baking. I always have a few cans of crushed pineapple in my pantry for when I’m feeling like baking something tropical.

If you’ve never canned fruit before, I would definitely recommend giving it a try. It’s not as difficult as you might think and it’s a great way to enjoy fruit all year round. Trust me, once you start canning, you’ll be hooked!

2) Vegetables

Jarring and canning vegetables is a great way to preserve the harvest. Vegetables that are commonly canned include tomatoes, green beans, peas, and corn.

Tomatoes are the most popular vegetable to can. They can be canned whole, in slices, or as a sauce. Green beans can be canned whole or in pieces. Peas can be canned whole or in pieces. Corn can also be canned whole or in pieces.

Home canning vegetables do not require expensive equipment, but because they are low acid foods, the process of canning them is vulnerable to bacteria growth. Canning jars and lids are readily available at most hardware stores.

To begin home canning of vegetables, wash the jars and lids in hot, soapy water. Boil the jars for the recommended time, based on the type of vegetable being canned. Be sure to check your canning manual for specific instructions.

Rinse well afterward and set aside to air dry. Next, prepare the vegetables for canning. Wash them thoroughly and trim off any bad spots. Cut the vegetables into pieces if desired.

Pack the vegetables into the jars, leaving one inch of headspace at the top of each jar. Follow the canning process of choice, as outlined above.

Canned vegetables, whether plain or mixed can last up to one year if stored in a cool, dark place.

3) Soups and stews

Canning soups and stews is a great way to preserve the harvest, or simply to have a delicious and healthy meal on hand. Here are some tips for canning soups and stews:

  1. Always start with fresh ingredients. This will ensure that your soup or stew has the best flavor.
  2. If you are using canned or frozen ingredients, be sure to drain and rinse them properly before adding them to the pot.
  3. Add your meat or protein first, then your vegetables. This will help ensure that your meat is properly cooked.
  4. Be sure to simmer your soup or stew until it is nice and thick. This will help it stay together when you are canning it.
  5. Can your soup or stew in Mason jars, you can use a canning funnel to help prevent spills.
  6. Always remember to wipe the rims of the jars clean before putting on the lids and rings.

4) Ground meat and poultry

Canning ground meat and poultry is a great way to have these foods on hand without taking up a lot of freezer space. Plus, canned meat and poultry can be used in a variety of recipes.

Pressure canning is the only safe way to can ground meat and poultry. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your pressure canner carefully.

Here are some tips for canning ground meat and poultry:

  1. Use lean meats to avoid having too much fat in your canned meat
  2. Cook the meat thoroughly before canning to ensure food safety.
  3. Add a little bit of salt to the meat before canning to help preserve it.
  4. Always remember to leave about an inch of headspace at the top of the jar, when filling jars with cooked meat.
  5. Seal jars tightly and process in a pressure canner according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

With a little bit of planning, you can have delicious, home-canned ground meat and poultry on hand whenever you need it!

5) Fish and shellfish

Fish and shellfish are a nutritious and healthy addition to your diet. They are low in calories and fat and a healthy and affordable option, providing plenty of protein, omega-three fatty acids, and essential vitamins and minerals.

Canning fish and shellfish are a great option for those who don’t have the time or inclination to cook fresh seafood.

There are a few things to keep in mind when home canning fish and shellfish.

  1. First, be sure to use fresh, high-quality fish and shellfish. They should be free of blemishes and bruises and have a firm texture.
  2. Second, you’ll need to properly clean and cook the fish or shellfish before canning them. This will help to prevent the growth of bacteria.
  3. Thirdly, be sure to use the proper canning method.

When home canning fish or shellfish, you can either pressure can them or water bath them. Although pressure canning is the recommended method because it provides a higher level of safety.

There are many different types of canned fish and shellfish available, from tuna and salmon to sardines and anchovies. And there are just as many ways to enjoy them, from straight out of the can to adding to salads, pasta dishes, and more.

Home canned fish and shellfish can be a great way to include protein in your diet. So if you’re looking for a delicious and convenient way to add more seafood to your diet, Try canning, you might just be surprised at how many delicious options there are!

6) Baked goods

Canning baked goods is a great way to enjoy your favorite baked goods all year round. There are a few things to keep in mind when canning baked goods.

Baked beans are a great option for pressure canning. They are easy to make and can be a healthy option for your family. There are many different recipes available online or in cookbooks. You can also add different spices or ingredients to personalize your baked beans.

Make sure to use recipes that are specifically designed for canning, as regular recipes will not work as well. Also, be sure to sterilize your jars and lids before getting started

Remember always to follow the safety instructions and directions to ensure that your canned foods are safe to eat.

Finally, whether you’re preparing for the coming winter, need to sell food items, or are making presents for family and friends, many of the ingredients you’ll require can be found in your kitchen right now.

Canned food can be a great addition to your home food storage. Canning is a great way to preserve food for later consumption and can be used to store both cooked and raw foods. With a little planning and care, you can enjoy fresh, delicious canned food all year long. Canning foods from your garden have a freshness and value that you can’t find in stores.

All of the above tips are just some of the home food preservation methods that you can start using for your own food.


What is the process of canning food?

The process of canning food involves sealing food in an airtight container and then boiling it. This kills any bacteria or other contaminants that might be present in the food and prevents them from spoiling the food.

There are two primary canning techniques: the water bath method and the pressure canner. They’re both excellent for preserving fruits, vegetables, meat, and even sauces and soups.

If you’re interested in canning food, there are a few things you’ll need to get started.

  1. First, you’ll need some Mason jars and lids. You can purchase these at most hardware or home goods stores.
  2. Second, you’ll need to sterilize the jars by boiling them for a few minutes, if you are using the water bath process. This will ensure that any bacteria present in the jars are killed before you start canning.
  3. Thirdly, you’ll need to choose what type of food you want to preserve.

What are the various food preservation methods used in most homes?

Canning is one of the most common methods of home food preservation, but other popular methods include freezing, pickling, and drying.

Freezing is a quick and easy way to preserve food and is especially useful for produce that is in season for a short time.

Pickling and drying require a little more effort but can be very rewarding.

The type of food preservation used in a home will depend on the household. But generally, canning still remains a common home food preservation method.

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Yemisi Iyilade

Yemisi Iyilade is a Project Management Professional, PMP and Maxwell Leadership Coach and Trainer. She has worked in the environmental, nonprofit, and technology industries, developing new products and services, providing leadership, and facilitating meaningful engagement with stakeholders. Yemisi is driven by a mission to empower young people, women, and immigrant professionals through content delivery, coaching and training. She believes that if given the right tools and tactics, any motivated person can gain the awareness and grit needed to create better opportunities.


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