Introduction: "Hot Water Bath" Canning - the Basics

About: I'm the father of 4 great kids, a drummer, a toy collector, and a super proud Hufflepuff. I'm also a habitual crafter, tinkerer and a huge nerd!

Canning is a huge part of my summer. I always keep a mid sized garden (60-80 plants), growing mostly tomatoes, hot/mild peppers, and herbs, with a few other things thrown in for fun. This means, from about the middle of summer forward, every few weeks, I'm canning something.

It's a skill I picked up from my wife's mom and grandma (whose pot I am honored to currently use) and one that I really enjoy. So, the other night when, I was working on a small batch of my "Hellish" hot pepper relish and a small batch of pickled tomatoes I thought, "why not share, what they shared".

I hope you enjoy!

Step 1: Tools of the Trade...

For "Hot Water Bath" canning, you need a few basic things.

1. A Large Canning Pot w/ a Rack

2. Mason Jars with Rings and Lids

3. A Basic Set of Canning Tools -

  • Wide-Mouth Canning Funnel
  • Jar Lifter
  • Magnetic Lid Lifter
  • Bubble Remover/Headspace Tool.

* If you don't have a canning pot with a rack, you can use any large pot with canning rings placed hole side up in the bottom of the pot to act as the rack. Just be sure you have at least a 1-2 inches of water over the top of the jars.

Step 2: Getting Started...

Ok...Lets get can canning!

First, wash the jars and lids thoroughly with soap and water. Next place each of the jars into the rack, in the bottom of your canning pot.

Fill the pot, 2" over the top of the jars, with water. Put the lid on the canning pot and over high heat bring the water to a rapid boil.

* It normally takes about an hour to get mine to a rolling boil. During this time, I prep what I'm canning and gather anything else I may need.

Step 3: Lids and Rings

Once the water in the canning pot has started to boil, place the washed rings and lids in a small/medium size pot and over high heat bring to a boil. Reduce and let simmer, until needed.

Step 4: Removing, Filling, and Toping

Once ready, pull the jars from the hot water bath using the "Jar Lifters" and using the "Wide Mouth Canning Funnel", fill each of the jars with your contents of choice (being sure to leave at least 1/2" of headspace).

Now, using the bubble removing tool, gentle insert it into the jar and it move it around to remove any air bubbles.

Wipe any spills or excess from the rim of the jars (to ensure a good seal). Then using the "Magnetic Lid Lifter" remove the lids and rings from the simmering water and apply to the jar. Finally, tighten until secure.

* To make up for evaporation, pour the water from the jars, back into the pot when you remove them.

** Be sure to put the lid back on the canning pot, to hold in the heat, once you've removed the jars to fill them.

*** Non-acidic foods (which include vegetables that are not pickled, soup stocks including vegetable stocks, and all animal products) must be processed in a pressure canner, not a boiling water bath, unless being canned using vinegar which adds an acidic pH.

**** Pictured: Hot pepper relish and pickling brine.

Step 5: A Nice Hot Bath...

Using the "Jar Lifters" place the jars back into the boiling water and replace the lid to the canning pot.

From this point forward, you will need to follow the directions included with the recipe the you are canning, as the amount of time you will need to leave the jars in the hot water bath may vary.

For most of my pickling recipes, I leave them in for 15 minutes. Then I remove the jars allow them to cool on the counter over night, to seal (12-24 hours).

Once the lids start to pop, you'll know it's a success.

Step 6: Storing

Once sealed, store in a cool, dry place until such time as you decide to crack open one of the fruits of your labor!!

I really hope you've enjoyed this brief Instructable on the basics of "Hot Water Bath" canning and I hope it inspires you to make something delicious!

* Storing time will vary based on what you are canning. Most pickles and other high acid foods will store 1-2 years.

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