Pickling foods has long been a staple of homemaking. Even in today's modern times, many families still pride themselves on their pickled creations, proudly storing their canning jars and gifting them to friends.
The process of pickling foods involves settling fresh vegetables and fruits in a saltwater brine or acidic mixture and allowing them to soak until they are no longer raw and subject to spoiling. The process encourages microbial organisms to be born. These organisms turn the sugars occurring naturally in foods into lactic acid. The acidic environment prevents bad bacteria to take over and spoil the food.
In order to preserve your foods properly, you need to start with the proper equipment. This equipment includes:
Canning Jars with Lids
There are a variety of canning jars on the market in all shapes and sizes. Choose a high quality, economical jar for your home canning needs and consider a more decorative canning jar when giving preserved foods as gifts. Canning lids need to seal properly to protect foods. There are one and two-piece lid options to consider. Many experts recommend using lids only once to ensure the sealing capabilities are strong. All jars and lids will need to be sanitized and sterilized before use to keep them free of bacteria and other debris which can spoil food quickly.
A canning funnel is recommended to pour foods into your jars without the mess. Messing pours can result in poorly- sealed jars. You will also need a ladle, a pair of tongs, and a canning jar lifter.
You can utilize a large pot for your canning but there are also special canners and cookers available just for the occasion. Water bath canners are the least expensive choice and are good practice for those just starting. There are also pressure canners available for experienced canners.
While canning, you'll need a handful of clean towels available. The towels will be used to wipe down jars and as a resting place for hot jars.
To ensure you are using the correct process and processing times for different foods, invest in a quality canning book for recipes you can follow. You may also want to ask relatives for their own recipes passed down through your family's history.
EXPERT TIPS FOR PICKLING SUCCESS
Ideally you should only use the freshest produce when pickling and canning foods. Produce purchased from the grocery store likely contain a waxed covering which can affect your foods negatively during the canning process.
Make sure to use the exact measurements when following a recipe. If you do not weigh out the ingredients properly, you can ruin the flavor of your canned foods.
Using recipes which require the use of salt means you need to use specific canning salt and not table salt. There is a big difference. Table salt has additives which can make the brine change colors and cause sediment to build up at the bottom of your jars.
When making a crisp pickle, slat the whole cucumber in bowl first and allow it to set overnight in a cool place. The salt application will take the moisture out of the cucumbers so you end up with a crisper, tastier pickle.
Choose the right kind of vinegar. White distilled and cider vinegars with 5% acidity are the best choices. Use white vinegars when the foods are light in color.
Creativity can increase your options and expand your meal plans. There are plenty of recipes available for simple canning ideas for your favorite garden staples and beyond. As long as you follow canning instructions carefully and make sure every jar is properly sealed, you can enjoy your creations all year around.
IBOYA offers a great selection of quality glass canning jars and lids to preserve your own garden’s harvest. Find affordable and decorative glass jars for your canning and gift giving needs.