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89 Small food particles on the jar rim will prevent it from sealing. Use a damp washcloth to wipe around the rim of each jar before topping it with the lid. 6 LEAVE SOME HEADSPACE The contents of the jar will expand during the canning process, so leave some headspace between the lid and the food. The rule is ½ inch headspace for whole vegetables and sauces, and ¼ inch headspace for spreads and juices. This step is very important, because if too little headspace is left, food will seep through the lid and destroy the seal. Likewise, if there’s too much headspace, too much oxygen is left in the jar, which might lead to bacterial growth or an insufficient vacuum. 7 ELIMINATE AIR BUBBLES When working with pickles or whole vegetables, there are often air bubbles after pouring the hot brine into the jar. To pop them, poke the handle of a wooden spoon or something similar into the jar, all the way to the base, several times. This will cause the liquid to flow down. More liquid might be needed to maintain adequate headspace. 8 PUT A L I D ON I T Using a clean, damp cloth, clean the rim of the jar of any food residue before securing the jar with a lid. Place each jar back into the hot water canner. Continue until all the jars are back in the canner. savor Before sealing, use the handle of a wooden spoon and a gentle up-and-down motion to pop air bubbles in freshly packed jars. 9 BOIL Add water to the canner as needed, cover, and bring to a boil. Maintain a rolling boil for the recipe’s specified time to ensure a proper seal. Start the time as soon as a rolling boil is reached. More hot water might be needed through the process, so keep an eye on the pot as the water evaporates. 10 SEAL I T Once the timer goes off, turn off the burner and let the pot rest, lid removed, for about five minutes. Using jar-lifting tongs, remove each jar, place on a washcloth-covered saucer and transport to the towel-covered counter or table. Allow a little space between jars for airflow and cover with a bath towel. Don’t be tempted to fiddle with the bands as this can disturb the seal. As tempting as it is to touch them, let the jars rest for about 12 hours. As the metal jars seal, each one will make a pinging noise as it snaps into a slightly concave position. www.wrightsvillebeachmagazine.com WBM


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