Canning 101

Canning 101

Learn everything you need to know about the correct way to can fresh produce.

Canning not only extends life of fresh garden-grown produce, it can provide you with nutritious food throughout the season — and even the year. Here’s what you’ll need:

Jar Lifters
Use long, coated tongs to safely remove jars from boiling water. Find them at your local kitchenware store.

Bubble Remover
Remove bubbles from canning liquid before sealing with a long, clean plastic or wooden spatula.

Use a metal funnel to easily add canning liquid into jars.

Jars, Lids and Rims
Canning containers come in three pieces: jars, lids and rims. Lids are flat metal disks with a rubber seal on their undersides. Rims hold the lids in place while they’re being sealed. For best results, purchase jars specifically made for canning and have glass free of chips or air bubbles.

Canning Rack
Racks come with most canners and sit at the bottom of the pot to elevate jars off the direct heat source.

Mark canning containers with labels to easily identify the contents and date canned.

Canning requires specific temperature levels.

Waterbath Canning Method
Similar to a very large stockpot, water bath canners are for canning foods with a high acidity, such as fruit, salsa and pie fillings. It’s also the easiest to learn.


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Waterbath canner
Canning rack
Glass canning jars
Kitchen thermometer
Non-metallic spatula


  1. Remove rack from canner, set aside
  2. Wash jars in hot, soapy water. Rinse well and dry. Keep them warm in a pot of simmering water until ready to use to avoid breakage when filling with hot liquid
  3. Fill canner halfway with water, and heat to 88 C (190 F)
  4. Prepare food according to recipe instructions
  5. Fill jars with produce to the correct fill level, and allow room for expansion*
  6. Remove air bubbles and press produce against the jar with a non-metallic spatula
  7. Wipe outside of jars clean, then twist on lids until snug but not overly tight
  8. Place filled jars in canning rack and lower it into the canner, ensuring they are all covered by at least 2.5 centimetres (1 inch) of water
  9. Cover canner and boil as instructed in recipe
  10. Turn off heat and let stand in water for 5 minutes.
  11. Remove and let cool at room temperature for 12 hours
  12. Press on middle of lid, ensuring it does not flex. Store for up to a year

*Tip: Fill levels (or “headspace”) depend on the type of food and recipe. Consult the recipe and always measure from the top of the rim to the top of the food.

Pressure Canning Method
Use the pressure canning method for low-acid foods (corn, beans and meats) since they require higher temperatures to destroy any foreign bacteria or spores. It is unsafe to use it for other foods as it can increase the risk for foodborne illness.

Pressure canner
Canning rack
Non-metallic spatula


  1. Place rack in canner and fill with at least 7.5 centimetres (3 inches) of water. Heat water to 88 C (190 F)*
  2. Fill jars, leaving headspace and screw lids on snuggly. Do not over-tighten
  3. Lower jars into canner, leaving ample space between each jar
  4. Close canner lid and let steam for 10 minutes
  5. Raise pressure according to recipe
  6. Turn off heat and cool for 5 minutes after the pressure gauge reaches zero. Open canner lid, facing away from your body, carefully
  7. Remove jars with jar lifter and let cool for up to 12 hours
  8. Once cool, press lid ensuring it doesn't flex. Store for up to a year

*Tip: Do not turn on heat if canning food was cold when packed into the jars, as jars will crack when placed in water.

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