Canning vegetables comes with increased health benefits, including lowering blood pressure and improving the quality of a person’s food intake. The convenience of canned foods, combined with their potential to stay fresh for years, increases the opportunities for people to improve their diets by adding more fruits and veggies to their pantries.
When canned properly, these vegetables retain many of the same nutritional values as their fresh counterparts.While some vitamins like Vitamins C and B may decrease in quantity during the heating process, other nutrients intensify through the canning process.
In tomatoes, for example, antioxidants levels improve through the canning process. Whether you are dipping your feet in the proverbial canning sea, or are a veteran canner branching out to other options, this article shows you how to can vegetables safely and effectively.
- Tips and Tricks to Use When You Can Vegetables
- The Best Vegetables for Beginners to Start Canning
- Equipment You Need
- How to Can Vegetables in 3 Simple Phases
Tips and Tricks to Use When You Can Vegetables
Canning and freezing offer an equal amount of benefits and drawbacks, leaving the ultimate decision to what works for you and your lifestyle. Canned vegetables last significantly longer than frozen vegetables, varying between several months for frozen vegetables to several years for canned vegetables.
When you think about how long green onions last, as well as potatoes, carrots, peaches, and tomatoes, they really do not have a long shelf life if they are not preserved in some way.
The best way to store fresh beets and other produce is by home canning. Why not extend the time you can eat these delicious veggies and fruits by canning them to eat when fresh produce is not as readily available?
What are the benefits of canned vs frozen vegetables?
Canned vegetables, like canned Brussels sprouts, are also great ways to conserve energy since they don’t require the use of a freezer.
This advantage also makes them a great source of food that won’t spoil with the lack of electricity during power outages. Though not to be outdone, frozen vegetables are less complicated to prepare than canned vegetables and require fewer tools as well.
Are canned vegetables good for you?
Canning increases the shelf life of vegetables like sauerkraut or pickles or even asparagus by years, but does that mean that home canning makes them suitable for you to eat? Their accessibility and affordability promote increased vegetable consumption across the world.
This improvement arises because consumers can eat canned vegetables whenever they want, rather than risk them spoiling before they have the chance to eat them.Choosing the right container for your canned vegetables also determines how “good” they are for you.
Foods packaged in BPA products may allow the chemical to leech into your preserved foods. This issue is avoidable, however, by using glass jars that come with glass covers and a rubber ring around the top. Mason jars do work and are used by home canners around the world, but their jar lids still contain BPA.
Canning vegetables can be a little time-consuming but once you do it a few times, the process gets a little easier and shorter. Canning carrots, tomatoes, peppers, peaches, apples, and more ensures that you know exactly where your produce is coming from and the process it went through for preservation. You don’t have to worry about chemical preservatives and added ingredients that you don’t want your family to eat.
What are some common food safety concerns I should be aware of when canning vegetables?
The National Center for Home Food Preservation recommends pressure canning as the only option for canning vegetables. Using the wrong canning equipment increases the risk of growing bacteria known as Clostridium botulinum or botulism poisoning.
Ensuring the food is prepared in a pressure canner, instead of a water canner, with an accurate dial gauge to measure pressure build-up reduces the possibility of bacteria entering your canned foods, but it is still important to note any off odors, leaking or bulging cans, and any breaks in a vacuum seal.
The Best Vegetables for Beginners to Start Canning
The process for canning vegetables varies depending on the variety being canned. Some candidates are more complicated than others, requiring additional steps such as fermentation or pickling, pitting or boning, and may use a large cache of canning equipment.
You can always find a delicious pickled vegetables recipe to use if you want to experiment with that extra step before canning. However, the following vegetables are relatively simple to can and are better for canners who are still learning the process. After you master these, you’re ready for more complex canning and pickling steps.
Most vegetables are low-acid foods, meaning you will use a pressure canner instead of a boiling water bath. Foods with high acid levels are the only items to use a water bath. Pressure canning, which is not the same as using a pressure cooker, is a canning method used for low-acid level foods.
The only exception to this is the tomato, which borders the high-acid to low-acid food line the same way it shifts between the vegetable-fruit quandary. Its susceptibility to bacteria like Clostridium botulinum still makes it a better candidate for the pressure canner.
Not only is it possible to can tomatoes, but you can also enjoy canning tomato paste, tomato juice, and tomato sauce in the pressure canner. There are delicious green tomato canning recipes that take advantage of this tart aspect of the tomato, too.
The variety makes tomatoes one of the most versatile foods to put on your canning list and should probably be included as one of the first veggies you learn to can.
Canning in a variety of ways is a great idea to keep ripe tomatoes from going bad if you have a large supply you got from the store or your garden produced an overabundance that you weren’t anticipating.
If you need a substitute for butter beans when canning, choose limas. They are almost the same thing.
Equipment You Need
Canning pickles or fresh fruits and vegetables requires some equipment you probably already have at home, but there are some specialized pieces, too, that make the canning process safer and easier.
The method this step-by-step process follows is known as the hot pack method, which differs from its colder cousin by applying heat to remove air from the canning jars and to improve shelf-life. Adding heat also kills harmful bacteria and reduces the potential to grow Clostridium botulinum bacteria.
How to Can Vegetables in 3 Simple Phases
Whether you are canning beens, carrots, or mushrooms, most veggies and fruits start the same way. You have to clean them first, and then slice them if you want so that they will fit in the jars.
How long are carrots good for after canning? Most veggies last for several years after canning. How long do carrots last without canning? While you can freeze or dry them, carrots only last a couple of weeks in the refrigerator so it’s best to preserve them in some way so you can enjoy them later.
Process the Vegetables: Clean, Peel, and Slice Your Vegetables to Prep Them for Canning
To learn how to can sweet potatoes or another vegetable, it is critical to pick the freshest specimens. Selecting fresh vegetables for canning may seem like a no-brainer, but choosing and preparing the right kinds of vegetables are a pivotal point of the canning process.
You don’t want any bruising, discolorations, mold, or sprouting evident when you choose one of the ways to store asparagus, beets, or other fresh veggie.
Some people select their vegetables based off of plants they grow in their gardens, or frequent farmers markets that use organic processes to improve their healthy, tasty produce. You may even find a great sale at the grocery store that you can’t pass up.
Whatever your method, after you have chosen your vegetables, wash them thoroughly, and remove all peels and seeds. The next step is to prepare the veggies by cutting them into smaller slices or cubes, preferably about two inches wide.
After you have finished, toss all the vegetables into a large pot with boiling water, allowing them to boil for approximately five minutes. There should only be enough water in the pot to crest the tops of the vegetables.
Can the Vegetables: Pack the Vegetables in Canning Jars with a Vacuum Seal
How to can okra or another veggie starts by adding them to the glass jars along with the boiling water from the large pot and a teaspoon of salt. For those worried about high sodium intake, once you are ready to eat your canned vegetables, rinsing them before cooking significantly reduces the amount of salt left on the greens or other vegetable.
For tomatoes, add a tablespoon of lemon juice instead. If you are worried about the taste, try adding a tablespoon of sugar, as well. Leave only an inch of space between the vegetables and the top of the canning jar when filling them.
Wipe the rims with a clean damp cloth to avoid a build-up of bacteria, and stir the mixture to reduce the number of air bubbles trapped inside the jar. Seal the jars, then place them inside the pressure canner on the rack. Avoid letting the jars touch to keep them from bumping and possibly shattering.
Not only is this a great way to preserve whole or sliced vegetables for use during the months when it is hard to get fresh produce, but you can also can vegetables in juice form, too. You can make carrot juice, and even learn how to can tomato juice to use for smoothies, Bloody Marys or drinking straight. The possibilities are almost endless to keep vegetables fresh to eat (or drink) later!
Heat the Vegetables: Boil Vegetables Using a Pressure Canner
Follow the instructions on your pressure canner to ensure you are adding the proper amount of hot water. Close the cover and increase the water temperature to boiling. All canners have vents that allow steam to flow out of the top while the temperature rises inside.
Depending on the kind of pressure canner you have, you’ll either have vents that close on their own or weights to keep them closed. Steam escapes from the canner as the pressure builds. Allow this to go on for about ten minutes before you add the weights or close the vents.
Pay close attention to the dial gauge. When the indicator shows the desired level of pressure, let the jars sit for a total processing time of 90 minutes. Consult your canner’s manufacturer’s guide for specific standards.
After the 90 minutes are up, turn off the heat. The pressure in the canner will continue to decrease, but do not open the vents until it has reached 0 PSI. Open the vents and allow the heat to escape for a few minutes before removing the lid.
Do not pull the jars out with your hands. Instead, use a jar lifter to remove the jars and place them where they can cool. The jars need to sit for several hours to ensure the cans seal properly. Don’t forget to label and store them in a cool area like your pantry.
Pasta Fagioli Soup Recipe with Canned Vegetables
Now that you know how to can vegetables, you need a stupendous recipe to help you use them. A simple soup that combines several ingredients, and alternates between canned or fresh veggies, is Pasta Fagioli.
Brown the beef in a large pot, drain and add all the other ingredients except for the pasta. Bring the pot to a boil before reducing the heat. Continue to simmer for an additional 30 minutes, add your pasta to the pot, and allow the soup to simmer for an additional 15 minutes, or until the pasta is soft and tender. The last step: enjoy!
Canning, although time-consuming, is easy once you get the hang of it. Now that you know how to can your favorite veggies, you may want to start preserving them by freezing, too. Can you freeze tomatoes and other vegetables? Yes, you can. The process is actually even easier than canning.
So, are canned vegetables good for you and your lifestyle? We certainly hope so. Veggies are a great source of nutrients like fiber that promote healthy digestive systems. Canning your veggies makes it that much easier for you to get the vitamins and minerals you need.
We hope you enjoyed these tips and recipes for canning vegetables. If so, please remember to share this article on how to can vegetables on Facebook and Pinterest!