Beginners Guide to Canning Food
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Step three: Measure 3 cups juice, 2 teaspoons lemon juice and 3 cups sugar into a kettle and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring well. When the mixture reaches 220 degrees Fahrenheit, or sheets from a spoon, quickly skim any foam from the surface and begin ladling into your hot, sterilized jars.
Use your funnel to prevent spills, and leave about 1⁄4 inch of headspace. Wipe the rims of the jars clean with a moist paper towel and then apply the heated lids using a magnetic lid lifter. Tighten the bands to just finger tight.
Step four: Using your jar lifter, transfer the jars into the canner. The water left from sterilizing the jars should cover the top of the jars by 1 to 2 inches; if not, add more boiling water. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Start timing when the water reaches a brisk boil. Process jars for 5 minutes (10 minutes for altitudes 1,001 to 6,000 feet, and 15 minutes for altitudes above 6,000 feet). When time is up, turn off the heat and remove the canner lid. Allow the jars to rest for 5 minutes before removing them with the jar lifter and placing them on a towel. Leave at least an inch between adjacent jars so they will cool evenly.
Allow the jars of jelly to rest for 12 to 24 hours undisturbed. Do not try to retighten the bands, as this could disturb your seal. You can test your seal by checking that the lids’ centers are pulled down. If they are, then remove the band and gently lift on the lid with your fingertips; if the lid does not lift you have a good seal. Refrigerate and use the jelly right away if the lid does not seal within 24 hours.
Success! Enjoy this confidence-building recipe as your entry point into home canning. Once you learn the basics, you can make the Apple Jelly recipe your own. Add seasonal spices when extracting the juice, and wrap for Christmas. Try savory seasonings and citrus to make a glaze for pork chops.
The options for preserving your late-summer harvest are many. The experience is priceless, and the possibilities are endless!
Kristina Estis is a wife, paramedic and athletic trainer in the Oak Grove, Alabama, area where she and her husband, William, try to wrangle their home full of dogs, cats, chickens, and an 11-year-old boy.
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