Canning Fruit and Vegetables
CANNING BY HOM-CAN OR DIXIE CANNING MACHINES
Fruit and vegetables can be canned: fruit in a hot-water sterilizer and vegetables in a pressure cooker.
As for bottling, fruit should be chosen with care, be ripe but firm, and should be prepared as for cooking, ie. topped and tailed, in some cases peeled, stoned and sometimes halved, and in every case carefully washed and examined for blemishes.
Vegetables should be young and fresh, and they should also be prepared as for cooking.
Apparatus for home canning usually includes a booklet of instructions — this should be carefully read and followed with exactitude. The directions for sealing the cans, in particular, must be exactly followed for successful canning.
First of all, soak cans and lids in boiling water for 2 to 3 minutes to sterilize them. Drain well and set on a tray.
Fill the cans with fruit or vegetables to within 1 in. of the top and pack fairly firmly, using the handle of a wooden spoon or spatula. Tap the bottom of the can on the table to settle the contents.
Fill to within 1/4 in. of the brim of the can with boiling water or syrup, and be sure it is boiling. Have a boiling kettle at hand, or a saucepan of boiling syrup, fill one can at a time and seal it at once. This is important.
Lift the can on to the stand of your canning machine with a folded cloth, or with tongs (these are very useful in bottling and canning), and seal as directed in the booklet provided with the equipment.
Take the can and plunge it at once into a large container of fast-boiling water. Boil rapidly for 23 to 25 minutes, consulting the chart opposite. If, after all the cans are in, they take some minutes (say 10) to come to the boil, deduct this time from the time allowed for sterilizing.
Lift out the cans with tongs and plunge them into cold water. A deep sink is convenient for this soaking, and the tap should be allowed to run for some time to cool the cans quickly. When they are quite cold, lift them out, dry them, write the contents on the tin with the pencil specially provided with the equipment for this purpose, add the date, and store the tins in a cool, dry place.
Syrup for filling the cans of fruit varies according to the acidity of the fruit. The strength should be the same as that used in bottling.
Vegetables are filled into the tins in the same way, and the tins are then placed in a large pressure cooker, on a rack, and sterilized for the times specified on the chart. When the time has elapsed, they are lifted out of the cooker and plunged into running cold water. The water in the pressure cooker should cover the rack— for over 30 minutes pressure cooking, allow 1 pint of boiling water for safety’s sake.
All vegetables are pre-cooked or blanched for a time before canning.