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Safe Home Canning

Kaitlyn Comeau BScAHN, RD

Have a vegetable or fruit you absolutely adore when it’s fresh and in season? Want to find a way you can enjoy it all year round? Why not try canning? Canning can be a fun experience for both you and your children as they learn the importance of food safety as well as food preservation.

Everyone loves Grandma’s home canned jams and spreads, right? But, what if she is unknowingly using unsafe canning methods? A lot of people who do home canning don’t follow all the proper safety measures. If canning isn’t done correctly, it increases your risk of getting sick from bacteria. Follow the precautions and safety measures to reduce the risk.

There are two types of home canning: water bath and pressure canning. Water bath canning is for high-acid (pH below 4.6) food like: jams and jellies; fruit; tomato with added acid; and pickled products like pickles, relishes, and chutneys. Pressure canning is for low-acid (pH above 4.6) food like: vegetables; meats, poultry, and game; tomato without added acid; and seafood. Make sure you use high temperatures for the length of time indicated on the recipe. For water bath canning, it’s 100°C (212° F). For pressure canning, it’s 116-121° C (240-250° F).

Also, don’t forget to wash, trim, and peel fresh food before canning. That will reduce the amount of bacteria going into your cans. Using new lids every time is another way to minimize bacteria by helping you get a proper seal. It’s also very important to use recipes that have been tested and proven to be safe.

Get answers to your nutrition questions:

Visit eatrightontario.ca for great recipes and tips for getting started with your home canning.