When you prepare your fruits and vegetable for jarring, the goal is to preserve as much as the taste, color and nutrients as possible. Canning may seem complicated, but it really isn’t. Here are some great tips for properly preparing your fruits and veggies for a long shelf life…
First choose fresh fruits wisely from a reputable produce supplier such as Perrine’s Produce. Then just let me say, “Clean, clean, clean”! You need to wash your fruits or veggies. Wash your jars and lids in the dishwasher or with hot, soapy water, and then sterilize them by boiling them in water.
Next, you want to prepare your produce. If you are pickling cucumbers, trim off the blossom end. That keeps them crisp. Then just cut into slices or spears. For tomatoes, slice a small X on the bottom, boil for 30-60 seconds, place in cold water to stop boiling process, remove stems and now easy to peel skins. You will want to remove the stalks, stems and leaves from fruits such as berries. For rhubarb, cut off the tip and stem of the oak, and then cut into same length pieces. Apples and pears should be peeled with their middles cut out and then cut into quarters or squares. Apricots, peaches and nectarines can be stored in jars whole or cut and semi-skinned or peeled.
Hot fruits and vegetables are immediately placed loosely in your canning jars. Conversely, raw foods should be packed firmly in jars. Then cover with water, juice, syrup or your brining mixture that has been heated to a boil. Allow space at the top of the jar to allow for expansion of food from heat and to allow for a proper vacuum seal. Remove air bubbles by placing a non-metallic utensil inside the jar between the jar and food. Do this completely around each jar. When your air bubbles are gone, wipe the tops of jars including the screw threads to make sure they are clean for a proper seal. Then just place the lid squarely on and tighten securely, but not so tight that you need Paul Bunyan to open them. Store your canned goods in a cool, dark, dry, airy space. The last step is just open up those jars as you need them, and enjoy!