Canning Basics For Preppers: Do’s and Don’ts for Long-Term Food Storage

Simple canning basics for preppers will aid in making the process less intimidating. Canning is easy once you get the hang of it.

What’s Canning and Why Do it?

Canning is a procedure that applies high heat to food in closed jars to prevent spoilage from air and other microorganisms that eat away at it over time.

The best foods to can are fresh fruits and vegetables that have reached their peak stage of ripeness. Use only top quality ingredients when canning.

Be certain that all fruits and veggies are completely cleaned and scrubbed of excess dirt and chemicals before starting the process.

Important Do’s and Don’ts of Canning

Use a water bath canning process for high-acid foods, fruit juices, jams, jellies and other fruit spreads. It’s also the process for foods like tomatoes with added acid, pickles, relishes and chutneys, sauces, vinegar, and condiments. This canning process reaches a critical temperature of 212°F that’s crucial for killing dangerous bacteria.

For low-acid foods like vegetables, soups, stews, meats, poultry, ragouts, and seafood with pH values higher than 4.6, use a pressure canner. That will help the foods get hot enough (around 240°F ) to kill nasty bacteria.

Don’t vary the recipes for canning. Use recipes that give exact instructions on supplies used, ingredients needed, time, temperatures, and quantities, then follow them exactly.

Take your time with the process. It can take practice to master the exact techniques. Fill the water-warmed jar with food you want to can — leaving the recommended space at the top. Next, remove airflow bubbles by slipping a nonmetallic spatula between the jar and food. Press gently on the food to release trapped air. Do the same thing around the circumference of the jar.

Cleanliness is paramount when canning foods. Keep your work area spotless by using a clean, damp cloth to tidy the counter and jars.

Be sure to wipe the rim and threads of the canning jars with a clean, damp cloth. Center the heated lid on the jar. Screw the band down evenly and tightly until you feel some resistance.

Use high quality canning equipment. Strong towels, a jar lifter, quality canners, lids, and bands that seal tightly.

Don’t use any canning equipment that looks old, slightly broken, or unclean.

Never recheck the lids or re-tighten the bands for a seal while the jars are still hot. This is done after 24 hours.

Ensure the lids are securely sealed by pressing the center. Remove bands and clean the jars for storage only after you’ve double checked for a secure seal.

Don’t store your foods anywhere that has wide temperature swings or light penetration. Store them in a cool,dark, and dry place.

Congratulations! You now have canning basics for preppers and will have fresh food whenever you want it. In addition to having delicious food around in case of an emergency, this is a great alternative to buying store-bought foods … and it saves money!

It’s important to note that for best quality, you should consume canned foods within one year.