- Use jars made specifically for canning. Make sure they are not chipped or cracked.
- For canning, use new flat metal lids with rubber seals.
- Use new rings that twist around the top of the jars.
- Wash the jars and lids in hot, soapy water. Then place them in plain hot (but not boiling) water until you are ready to use them.
tongs for handling jars in boiling water
- Fill the canner half full with water and place it over high heat. In a different pan, heat more water (1-2 quarts) and add the clean jars to sterilize them. Boil briefly. In a small saucepan, heat (but do not boil) the lids.
- Prepare the food to be canned.
- Remove the jars from the hot water and pour out any excess water.
- Place these on a folded dish towel on the counter. Fill the jars with the prepared food, leaving 1/4 inch headspace for jams, jellies, and fruit sauces and a 1/2 inch space for tomatoes, salsas, and pickles.
- Clean the rims and threads of the jars with a clean, damp cloth.
- Place a hot lid on each jar top, then twist on a metal ring.
- Place the jars onto the wire rack in the canner. Be sure the jars are not touching each other or the bottom or sides of the pot.
- Add the boiling water to the canner until the tops of the jars are covered with 1 to 2 inches of water.
- When the water returns to a full rolling boil, begin timing. Processing time differs according to what is being canned. Be sure the jars are covered with water at all times.
- When the processing is finished, remove the jars and place them on a folded dish towel on the counter to cool.
- When the jars are cool, check to make sure they are sealed. If the lid does not move when pressed in, this indicates a proper seal. You must have a proper seal on your canned goods or else they will spoil.