Canning and Food Preservation

vegetable soup for canningWild Heaven Farms spends many hours preserving and canning food for our family. It’s important to us to eat what we grow all year long.Being more self-reliant on our farmstead and less reliant on the big box grocery stores is one of our top goals.

As we do each canning or food preservation project we will post the recipes and how-to instructions here. You’ll find the whole list of our canning projects will display.

If you are just getting started with canning you can review the information below to make sure you have everything you need before you attempt to do your canning project. The National Center for Home Food Preservation is a great place to learn safe canning methods. They have many different instructions for all safe methods of putting up fruits, vegetables and even meats.

I’ve started my own canning group on Facebook and you can visit and join here It’s called, Canning and Cooking with it. We will be discussing not only the art of preserving food, but also how we cook meals with it.

Our group is growing everyday and there is usually someone available to help answer any canning questions you might have. You can get inspire to put up more food in jars than you ever thought about!

It’s also helpful to have a Ball Canning Book on hand as they have also tested lots of recipes for safety. This is the most current one available:
Ball Blue Book Guide To Preserving, 37Th Edition

There are two different kinds of canning – Water bath canning and Pressure canning. Many people abbreviate these as WB and PC. The two are very different and you should know the difference between them before you start putting canned goods on your shelf.

The one on the left is for WB or water-bathing and the one on the right is a pressure canner.

Depending on what you want to can will decide what canner type you need. We have both and often use the WB pot to heat the goodies we will be Pressure Canning (PC). It doesn’t hurt to have both.

The WB can do jams and jellies, tomatoes, pineapples, and other highly acidic foods. The low acid foods like meats, broths, soups with mixed veggies and meat, chili, beans, and just about anything that has a low acid level will need to be pressure canned.

“My grandmother never used a pressure canner!”

So what, she probably never put you in a car seat or seat belt either but that doesn’t mean it was safe to do!

Times have changed and with that the risks of canning methods of days gone by are just not worth taking. There are tried and true, tested recipes and directions for canning just about anything you can imagine. Why bother doing it an outdated way when the information is right at your fingertips.

Botulism is a rare but serious paralytic illness caused by a nerve toxin that is produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum and sometimes by strains of Clostridium butyricum and Clostridium baratii.

Here is what the CDC has to say about the treatment of Botulism:

The respiratory failure and paralysis that occur with severe botulism may require a patient to be on a breathing machine (ventilator) for weeks or months, plus intensive medical and nursing care. The paralysis slowly improves. Botulism can be treated with an antitoxin which blocks the action of toxin circulating in the blood. Antitoxin for infants is available from the California Department of Public Health, and antitoxin for older children and adults is available through CDC.If given before paralysis is complete, antitoxin can prevent worsening and shorten recovery time. Physicians may try to remove contaminated food still in the gut by inducing vomiting or by using enemas. Wounds should be treated, usually surgically, to remove the source of the toxin-producing bacteria followed by administration of appropriate antibiotics. Good supportive care in a hospital is the mainstay of therapy for all forms of botulism.

Is it really worth it to not take the time to make sure that botulism spores don’t grown in your jars? The only place they thrive is in an oxygen free environment like jars that have been canned.

The spores are present in the soil which means you have to peel any root crop before being able to can it. You don’t want to take any chances! It’s just not worth it.

You can read more about botulism at the CDC website. They have lots of good info about it.

What is Raw Pack or Hot Pack?

Raw packing or hot packing have more to do with how you prepare your product to be canned than the actual method of canning you will be using. You can raw or hot pack for either waterbath canning or pressure canning. The type of food that you are canning will determine what method you will use.

When pressure canning green beans, for instance, raw packing is acceptable as a way of preparing the jars but you will find he end product of hot packing them will allow you to fit more in the jar.

If your jar of peaches is floating with several inches of packing syrup below, you should try hot packing them next time to “preshrink” them and get some of the air cooked out of them before placing them into the jar.