Low acid vegetables must be processed in a steam pressure canner at a temperature of 240ºF (10 pounds pressure) to assure that all spoilage micro organisms are destroyed. The following is general canning instructions for low acid vegetables.
1. Read recipe for produce being canned. Check manufacturer's instructions for filling and sealing jars.
2. Assemble all equipment and utensils needed. To assure safe operation of your steam-pressure canner, clean petcock (vent) and safety valve openings by drawing a string through them. Wash canner kettle thoroughly. Reread manufacturer's instructions for using the steam pressure canner.
3. Check jars for nicks, cracks and sharp edges on sealing surfaces. Use only standard jars; do not use jars in which food products have been packed. Wash jars in hot soapy water. Rinse. Cover with hot water. Let jars remain in hot water until ready to use. Wash and prepare lids.
4. Can vegetables when they are garden fresh and at the best stage for cooking.
5. Wash and drain vegetables before cutting or breaking the skin. Lift vegetables out of water so dirt that is washed off will not be drained back over them.
6. Work quickly.
7. Prepare only enough produce for one canner load at a time.
8. Pack vegetables loosely enough for water to circulate between the pieces, but tightly enough to prevent waste of jar space.
9. Cover vegetables with fresh boiling water, or with the water in which they were heated for packing, leaving 1 inch head space.
10. Remove air bubbles by running table knife gently between jar and food. If needed, add more liquid to cover.
11. Wipe top and threads of jar with clean, damp cloth before capping.
12. Put each jar on rack in steam pressure canner, containing 2 to 3 inches of hot water, as jar is filled. Fasten canner over securely, according to the manufacturer's instructions. Leave petcock (vent) open until steam escapes steadily for 10 minutes. Close petcock and bring pressure to 10 pounds. Start counting processing time. Process for recommended length of time, keeping pressure constant.
13. Remove canner from heat. Let pressure fall to zero. Wait 2 minutes, and then slowly open petcock. Unfasten cover; tilt the far side up so steam escapes away from you. Remove jars. Stand them on cloths, a few inches apart and out of drafts to cool. About 24 hours later, test jar for seal. Do not turn lids, for this will break seal. If lids are puffed, it is an indication of a poor seal.
14. If for any reason a jar has failed to seal, use new lid, repack and process the full length of time or refrigerator and use the food as soon as possible.
15. Store jars in a dark, dry and reasonably cool place.
16. Salt may or may not be used when canning vegetables. The amount used (usually 1 teaspoon per quart) is too small to prevent spoilage and should be left out if it is not wanted for flavor.
17. Steam pressure saucepans may be used for processing pint and half pint jars, provided the pressure can be held at 10 pounds. Since the pan heat and cool quickly, 20 minutes should be added to the regular steam pressure processing time.
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