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Canning – it’s not as hard as it looks!

Canning is one of those things I always thought was only for domestic goddess types. You know, the girls who never make a recipe that turns out awful and whose husbands never take one bite and then go get a burger. Since I’m trying to be more self-sufficient and I’m anticipating having a lot of produce from my garden, I wanted to give canning a try.

I bought some Mason jars at the grocery store and read the instructions on the packaging. It sounded really complicated, so I gave up and called my mom.  Turns out it’s pretty simple and you don’t need a pressure cooker. In under two hours I had five jars of pickled squash, onions and green beans. Here’s how I did it…

First, you have to sanitize your jars. Bring a pot of water to a soft boil and drop in your jars and lids.

While you’re boiling your jars, start making your canning mixture. I pickled my veggies and I found a recipe online that had good reviews. I used 2 cups of water, 2 and a 1/2 cups of vinegar and 3 cloves of garlic. (I love garlic.) Bring this mixture to a soft boil and let it simmer while you’re getting your veggies ready to can. Chop them up and remove the stems as needed.

I did NOT pre-cook my veggies because I like them crisp. Some canning recipes call for you to cook the veggies first. It’s up to you. I like my veggies to retain some crunch.

Once your jars have been sanitizing for 5-10 minutes, use tongs to remove them from the hot water. I set my jars on a towel on the counter.

Now it’s time to fill your cans with some veggies! They need to be FULL. Stuff those veggies in as tightly as you can. You want to pack as many in as possible. Once the veggies are packed in, it’s time to pour the vinegar mixture over the veggies. Pour it until there is about an 1/4 of an inch between the liquid and the top of the jar.

Once your vinegar mixture is poured in, put on the lid and screw it on tight. Now it’s time to put the jar back in the hot water. The jars will need to sit for another 5-10 minutes in the hot, softly boiling water.

Once they are done, remove them from the hot water (with tongs!) and place them UPSIDE DOWN for 5 minutes.

After 5 minutes, turn the jars right side up. They have been heated to expand and now as they cool, they will contract. This is what causes the lid to seal. You will know the lid is sealed when it doesn’t move and make that clicking sound. It will suck down and seal up. It will take about an hour for the lids to seal. You will hear a loud POP when the lid seals. It’s a wonderful sound! It means you have canned successfully and you are one step closer to being a Southern Domestic Goddess!

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