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Monday,we posted an article about canning basics. Let’s take a further look at specific questions you may have around canning vegetables.

What types of Vegetables can be Canned?

vegetable-canningMost vegetables can be canned with relative ease. When canning vegetables, it is best to can the same day that you pick them. This will help ensure the highest quality of your canned produce. Some of the most popular vegetables for canning include green beans, tomatoes, and root vegetables, such as carrots and potatoes.

As with most vegetables, green beans have a low acidic content, which means they must be pressure canned and not hot water bath canned in order to prevent the growth of bacteria. The beans should be washed and cut, with both ends removed. Season the beans – most people simply use salt – and pack them into the jars. The beans can be hot packed or cold packed, depending on personal preference.

Hot packing, or blanching them before canning, is the best method if you want to preserve the crispness and bright color of the vegetables. Blanching means you add the vegetables to boiling water and let them boil for 5 minutes. Adding a small amount of baking soda or lemon juice to the water can also aid in preserving the color of the vegetables. After blanching, pack the beans into your canning jars, and pour boiling water over the beans, leaving an inch of head space at the top of the jar.

Another method is cold or raw packing. This method can often be easier and cleaner, but it may not preserve the color in the same way. The process of cold or raw packing is similar to hot packing, but it differs in that you do not cook the vegetables first. Pack the raw vegetables, washed and cut, in the jars, and then pour boiling water over the top of them, again leaving an inch of head space at the top.

The canning procedure is the same for pretty much all vegetables, and it should be done in a pressure canner as mentioned above. For more detailed instructions on the steps and tools required, visit truevalueprojects.com.

Alternatively, vegetables can be pickled to preserve them in jars. This method allows you to preserve vegetables for up to 6 months with no pressure canner and no hot water. However, if you don’t like the taste of vinegar, this method is probably not for you. The vegetables should be cleaned, cut, and seasoned with dried herbs. Pack them in the jars and then cover them with vinegar. Pickled vegetables should be kept in the refrigerator, and they will be ready to eat within one to three weeks.

Don’t get discouraged if the vegetables don’t turn out right the first or even the second time you try to can them. Learning to can is a process that is very rewarding once you get all the kinks worked out! Happy canning!