Category Archives: FAQ’s

Canning FAQ 2 or How do I get myself into these situations?

It’s time again for a FAQ.  So prepare yourself for the awesomeness that is a new FAQ and a little bit of my real life.

This weeks question is a fairly simple one but a very important one.  What equipment do I need?  This is a question that a lot of new canners have.

You CAN go out and spend a lot of money on fancy pots and jar lifters and other such stuff.  However all you really need is a pot deep enough to cover your jars with at least an inch of water, something to keep them off the bottom of the pot, and of course your jars, lids, and rings.

That’s it.  Really it’s that simple.  I personally have other things that make it easier.  A jar lifter, a canning pot (that I got at the local army navy store for $15),   and ways to organize my stuff.

You don’t need all that stuff to get started canning however.  You just need the three items listed above.  Oh and stuff to put in the jars.

I’ve also taken up a new hobby.  Not that I don’t already have a ton of other ones, canning, knitting, crochet, cross stitch, kumihimo just to name a few.  I have just started locker hooking.

For those of you not familiar with what that is, it’s quite simple really.  It’s making rugs.  Okay it’s a little more complicated than that but it’s still simple.  You pull strips of fabric, or yarn through a mesh and lock them in place with a locking material.  I’m using some really old really cheap yarn that I got a few years ago on e-bay.

However I made the mistake of sending a picture of my partially completed project to my roommate who is out of town right now and will be back in less than a week.  I also told him that I would have it done by the time he gets back so he can see the finished project.

However, I start a new job this Sunday and have to get myself back onto a sleeping at night awake in the day schedule in those 5 days.  I also have some canning projects that I want to do, I have to clean my carpets before my mom comes to get her carpet cleaner back tomorrow, and I’m getting my cracked windshield replaced in a few hours.  Ugh.  What did I sign myself up for?

Canning FAQ 1 Or You’re in some pretty hot water.

So I have asked my roommates, who don’t can, to pretend they were interested in canning and give me some questions that a new/novice canner might have.  There will be a series of posts covering these questions.  If you can think of one that I don’t cover please feel free to post it in the comments of any of my FAQ posts.  These posts will also be linked from my FAQ page.

The first question they came up with, and I think it’s a good one, is “How hot does the water need to be?”  This question actually requires a non-answer.

That non-answer is well that depends.  Are you doing a water bath canning process or a pressure canning process?  Also it doesn’t really matter how hot the water is.

You see you don’t get the water to a certain temperature and then drop in your jars.  If you’re doing a water bath canning process you start your process time when the water comes to a full rolling boil.  You might ask what a rolling boil is.

A rolling boil is so aggressive that it cannot be disturbed or disrupted by stirring, or by dropping ingredients into the water. What that means is that you can stick a spoon in the water and stir till your arm falls off but the water will still be boiling.

If you’re doing pressure canning then you never actually get to see the water boil.  However because increasing the pressure causes the water to boil at a much higher temperature than normal, normal being 100°C (212°F), you get a hotter boil than you would in a regular water bath canner.

Either way you need a boil.  How hot the water is just depends on the pressure it’s under.  For example I live at about 5,000 ft above sea level.  That means that water boils at a lower temperature here than it does down there.  So when I process in my water bath canner I have to process for longer times.  If I had a pressure canner I would have to put a heavier weight on the canner or let the dial get to a higher pressure before I started my timer.

Just make sure you always get your water to a boil, or your pressure to the right weight, before you start your timer and you’ll be golden.  Your food will be safely processed for shelf stability.