The Grow Appalachia program at High Rocks held a canning workshop with our Local Foods Team and Young Farmers in September. At this workshop we canned green beans that were grown at the Ruby Grow High Tunnels. We followed the FDA and WVU extension guidelines. The workshop was held to help educate the community on the canning process, which we’d like to share an overview on.
After harvesting fresh vegetables, they can be canned. The canning process is rather simple. First you must clean and cut vegetables. You can also pick seasonings to add to spices.
Next, choose the size canning jar you’d like to use and boil the jars and lids. Fill it with vegetables. Then pour boiling water into the jar and leave some head space from the top of the jar, the amount of space will depend on what is being canned, for further guidelines refer to resources. Make sure there are no air pockets and that the vegetables are below the water level, if not this can affect the proper sealing of the jar and the flavor of your vegetable.
The jars are filled, and lids are tightened (do not overtighten them) before sealed by pressure cooking. An airtight pot where food can be cooked quickly under steam pressure. The time it takes to pressure cook produce jars is different, see attached resources for detailed instruction. After pressurizing, remove jars from cooker to cool. During cooling the lid should pop, this indicates that the jar has sealed properly. Label and date jars. Shelf life varies depending on the vegetable and the acidity. Elevation can influence the boiling temperature and timing, example, being in higher elevations gives lower boiling temperatures and longer timing. Store within temperatures of between 50° and 70°. If your storage gets too hot your product is likely to spoil.
Canning is a great way to preserve vegetables from your garden. An accomplishment that can be shared with family and friends.