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How to Preserve Food

The summer months (and all year round in Florida, for that matter) can produce the most delicious fruits and veggies, but how many zucchinis, tomatoes and peaches can one person eat at a time? Canning helps extend the joy, so that you can safely and deliciously enjoy some of your harvests or purchases at a later date. And here is an added bonus…canning is easy!

First, you just need to make sure you have the proper tools. You will need canning jars and seals, a wide mouth funnel and clean cloths to keep things from getting messy, a large pot and ladle, a thermometer, and rubberized jar lifters to make things easy.

Next, sterilize your jars and lids by placing them in boiling water for ten minutes. It’s best to can immediately after harvesting to maintain the most freshness and highest vitamin concentration in your produce. Fill jars, but not completely because produce expands when boiled. You also need to top your jars with boiling water, your favorite pickling solution or juice (tomatoes and fruits require lemon juice), depending on what you are canning.

Make sure there are no air bubbles and wipe the rims for a tight seal. Then, preheat your water to 180 for hot produce and 140 for cold to prevent cracking. Water should be an inch or two above your jars. Bring to a slow boil and cook the required time for the product and region. This information can be easily found online. When your jars cool, they will create a vacuum seal.

Finally, just open up and enjoy whenever you “can”!

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