Canning Basics With Ball®


As we near the end of the growing season, many home gardeners are faced with a crucial decision.

"What the heck am I gonna do with all this food?" While the obvious answer is to eat it all right this second - why not save some for later? Nothing will warm your heart in the subzero depths of January like a delicious blueberry jam or some homemade dill pickles.

What is canning?

Simply put, canning is one step beyond cooking. It’s a method that applies heat to food in a closed-glass, home canning jar to stop the natural spoilage by removing air from the jar to create a seal. There are two home canning methods: water bath canning and pressure canning.

Getting Started: Canning Methods

Understanding the components and difference of water bath and pressure canning will help you choose which method will work best for you and the foods you choose to preserve.

Technique 1: Water Bath Canning

Water bath canning is a shorter, lower-temperature canning process that is ideal for high-acid foods. The high acidity of the foods kills bacteria, allowing for the water bath method. Types of fruits and vegetables ideal for water bath preserving, include:

  • Fruits and fruit juices
  • Jams and jellies
  • Salsas
  • Tomatoes with added acid
  • Pickles and relishes
  • Chutneys
  • Vinegars
  • Condiments

For step-by-step instructions, check out Ball's Water Bath Canning Guide.

Technique 2: Pressure Canning

When preserving low-acid foods like many vegetables, meats, poultry and seafood, you’ll use pressure canning to keep your foods fresh and safe to eat. Pressure canning heats contents to 240° F, eliminating the risk of foodborne bacteria. Even when you’re mixing high-acid foods with low-acid foods, you must use the pressure canning method to safely preserve contents.

For step-by-step instructions, check out Ball's Pressure Canning Guide.

Need supplies?

If you need any jars or lids this canning season, come on into Valu Home Centers!


Want to learn more?

Check out these additional canning guides from our friends at Ball®. Their guides will walk you through each step of the canning process, assist you in choosing the right methods and help you solve problems along the way.