Water Bath Canning Basics for Beginners

By : | 11 Comments | On : September 23, 2015 | Category : Canning, Preserve

water bath canning basics

photo credit: Water Bath Process via photopin (license)

Water Bath Canning Basics for Beginners

Water bath canning is an easy, safe way to preserve high acid foods. Once you’ve done it a time or two and see how easy it really is, you may be hooked for life!

Not all foods are suited for safe water bath canning. Water bath canning is for high acid foods; generally speaking jams, jellies, pickles and some tomato recipes.

Always follow recipe recommendations from a trusted source. Don’t alter the recipe unless you are certain it is safe to do so.

When in doubt, Ball (a.k.a. freshpreserving.com) has lots of information online, or you can contact them by phone at 1 800 240 3340.

You can also pick up a copy of the latest version of the Ball Blue Book Guide To Preservingball blue book full of recipes and how-tos.

Canning Equipment

To get started you’ll need a few basic supplies.
The basic supplies can be bought separately or as a canning kitcanning kit.

Supplies you may need:

Basic Water Bath Canning Procedure

  1. Read through your recipe. Gather your supplies and wash everything with hot soapy water. Rinse well and towel dry bands.
  2. Place wire rack in bottom of large pot and add jars. Fill half full with water (adding water to jars will keep them from floating).
  3. Bring temperature to a low simmer and leave at a simmer to keep jars warm until ready to fill.
  4. Add rack to canning pot, fill half way with water and bring to a low simmer. Keep at a low simmer until ready to add hot filled jars.
  5. Place jar lids in a small pot with enough water to cover. Bring up to a low simmer (180 F) for 10 minutes, and leave at low heat until ready to place on filled jars.
    Some manufacturers now produce lids in a way that they do not require the seals to be heated first, check label on package.
  6. Prepare your recipe to be canned.
  7. Use a jar lifter to remove warm jars from water and fill one at a time.
  8. Using a funnel and a ladle, fill jars leaving proper headspace according to your recipe.
  9. Use a bubble remover, non-metal spatula or chopstick to jostle air bubbles from jars.
  10. Check for correct headspace topping up jars if needed.
  11. Use a dampened, wrung out paper towel to wipe any food from rims of jars.
  12. Use your lid wand to remove lids from warm water. Place on jars.
  13. Add bands to jars, tightening to JUST finger tight (stop tightening when you feel resistance). Do not over-tighten.
  14. Add jars to canning pot. Top with enough water to cover jars by 1 – 2″.
  15. Add lid to pot and bring to a full rolling boil. Start timer when water reaches full boil and process jars according to recipe.
  16. Remove from heat and remove lid from pot. Leave jars in the pot for 10 minutes to bring temperature down before removing them.
  17. Use jar lifter to remove jars from hot water. Without tipping the jars, place them on a towel on the counter top somewhere they won’t be disturbed for 12 – 24 hours and away from drafts. Leave 1 – 2″ of space between jars for air flow.
  18. After 12 – 24 hours, press down on the center of each lid. If there is no up and down movement, the jar has sealed correctly. You can also remove the bands and lift the jar by the edge of the lid to check for a proper seal.
  19. If any jars haven’t sealed, store in the fridge or freezer, or reprocess right away.
  20. Remove bands from jars, and use a damp cloth to wipe away any food residue. Add labels with type of food and date processed. Store in a single layer (not stacked) in a cool, dark area such as a cupboard or pantry.
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Comments (11)

  1. posted by Betty on September 27, 2015

    I have been canning for years and this is a great post. Thank you for sharing at the Thursday Favorite Things blog hop

      Reply
    • posted by YogurtHydro on September 28, 2015

      Thanks Betty! I’ll see you next Thursday!;)

        Reply
  2. posted by vegeTARAian on September 28, 2015

    I’ve never done this before so your tips will come in handy!

    Thanks for joining the My Monthly Loves link up, I hope to see you there again next month.

      Reply
    • posted by YogurtHydro on September 28, 2015

      Glad it helps you Tara! I’ll be there!:)

        Reply
  3. posted by DJ on December 1, 2015

    Wonderful! I have been wanting to start canning my own foods to save at the store and also so I know what’s in my family’s food.

      Reply
  4. posted by Mark Warren on December 3, 2015

    love this! im pinning….

      Reply
  5. posted by Sally Wilsey on December 4, 2015

    I have canned since I was younger. It is a great way to get summer tastes in the fall and to use up almost every part of the fruit and vegetable.

      Reply
  6. posted by trishkaqueen on February 22, 2016

    Wow glad I haven’t poisoned anyone with MY canning,LOL!Did not know you should leave the jars in the water for 10 minutes,yikes!

      Reply
    • posted by YogurtHydro on February 22, 2016

      Oh dear lol. If you mean in step 16, AFTER processing, then you are ok.

      Removing the very hot jars right away may cause them to crack from the shock of cooler air which is why I recommend letting them cool in the water for at least 10 minutes.

        Reply
  7. posted by clojo9372 on March 1, 2016

    We have just begun to can fruits and pickled vegetables. Your blog has been very helpful with tips on how to do it. Thanks so much! :)

      Reply
  8. posted by krysprincess on March 3, 2016

    never heard of water bath cannng sounds interesting

      Reply

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