What will you do with your extra fruits and vegetables from your garden this year? You can really elongate the amount of months your garden provides food to you and your family by jarring! When food is exposed to the air, it is also being exposed to bacteria. Be sure to clean your vegetables and fruits well with either a veggie wash or a homemade vegetable wash solution. In order to kill these bacteria, after the food has been jarred, the jars are boiled to kill off any bacteria within the jar and it simultaneously creates an air-tight seal to keep any other bacteria from entering the jar. This allows your food to last longer. Preserving foods is an art. Different types of foods require different types of jarring methods. Be sure to look up each type of vegetable on-line to ensure that you are jarring properly.

Prior to jarring, be sure to get all of the items you will need out, prepared and sanitized. You will need 1 large pot, 1 boiling water canner with a rack, mason jars, new lids or lids free of any dents, rust or damage, bands, jar lifter, and lid lifter. Be sure to check your jars for any cracks, nicks or damage, as this could result in damage when they are boiled, ruining your process. Your jars and lids should be kept in 180-degree water while you are preparing everything. Do not boil the lids, just allow them to sit in the water. These should only be removed one at a time as you are filling each jar.

Fill your boiling water canner halfway up with water and insert your rack. Heat your water to a simmer. Keep the water hot until it’s time to jar. Depending on what type of vegetable you are working with, you will need to prepare your vegetables according to that. Each jar should have ½ an inch of space from the lid to the top of the liquid inside. Once your jars are filled one by one, enter them into your boiling water canner. After your pot has been filled with all of your jars, lower your rack into the water. Make sure your jars are covered by an inch to an inch and a half by boiling water. If not, you should add more water. Put the lid on your canner and bring the water to a boil. Once the water has begun boiling, you should allow it to boil for up to 40 minutes for pint size jars and 45 minutes for quarts. Once the time is done, remove the canner lid and allow it to cool. Take your jars out and put them on a towel to cool for 12 to 24 hours. Once they have cooled, you will need to remove the band and test if you do in fact have a vacuum sealed jar. If it is a tight hold, then you have completed that jar! However, if you don’t have a good seal, you must reprocess it within the next 24 hours. Be sure to label and date your jars. Enjoy!

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