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Canning 101

Home canning requires just a few basic pieces of equipment and knowledge of a few simple techniques:

1. Get the Proper Jars

In addition to normal kitchen tools, like ladles and big pots, you will need special jars (which work with lids and rings) that create a vacuum seal. Ball and Kerr are good brands. Canning tongs specifically made for gripping jars are also helpful.

2. Keep the Equipment Hot

Bring a large pot of water to 180° and simmer the canning jars, lids and rings and other utensils (ladles, tongs and spoons) for at least 10 minutes. Just before using, carefully remove everything from the pot, shaking off as much of the hot water as possible. If necessary, you can hold the jars in a 200° oven until you're ready to fill them.

3. Process the Jars

Set a metal rack in a large pot. Fill the pot with water and heat to the temperature recommended in the recipe. Using canning tongs, carefully set the filled jars on the rack; make sure the jars are covered by at least one inch of water. Cover the pot and process according to the recipe. Lift the jars from the pot and set them on a work surface until the lids seal (they will look concave) and the jars cool to room temperature. Refrigerate any jars that do not seal.

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