Home Canning 101: How to Can at Home

Enjoy fresh, local food all year long by canning your own produce at home.

| October 2010 Web

Saving the Seasons cover

"Saving the Seasons" offers clear instructions, step-by-step pictures, tips, charts and user-friendly recipes to help beginners and experts alike enjoy the season's bounty all year long.

Photo Courtesy Herald Press

The following is an excerpt from Saving the Seasons: How to Can, Freeze, or Dry Almost Anything by Mary Clemens Meyer and Susanna Meyer (Herald Press, 2010). The excerpt is part of a chapter titled "Canning." 

Canning preserves food by sealing it airtight in glass jars. The heating process that causes the jar to seal kills bacteria, molds, and enzymes that spoil food; the airtight seal keeps them out.

Advantages: Canned foods do not need to be refrigerated. Store them on a shelf in a dark, cool place for a year or more—no energy use is required after the canning process. Canned foods are ready to use; there’s no need to thaw or cook. They make delicious, ready-made gifts.

Disadvantages: Foods lose some nutritional value because of the high temperatures used in canning. Some fruits and vegetables should not be canned because of significant changes in taste or texture. Canning food can be a long process, and a hot one on summer days!


Plan to can when produce is in season. If you don’t have your own garden, check with local farmers about buying larger quantities of produce.

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