Storing Your Backyard Garden Veggies
A Quick Lesson in Canning from Weed Man
Fall is upon us and temperatures everywhere are plummeting, which means plants and grasses are about to head into dormancy in many parts of the country. In addition to having beautiful, healthy lawns, many Weed Man customers are active gardeners with a penchant for fresh backyard vegetables. While it may seem as though garden-fresh vegetables become a thing of the past come colder weather, you can actually enjoy homegrown veggies all year long. Take advantage of what’s left of your summer garden by safely storing your bountiful harvest through the process of canning.
What You’ll Need:
- Boiling-water canner
- Canning jars
- 2-piece canning lids
- Tested, reliable recipes
- A clean working space
- Veggies from your backyard garden
Tips of the Trade:
Keep it Clean and Keep it Hot.
- Choose Your Canner Wisely. The boiling-water canner – basically a big pot with a lid and a rack in the bottom – is used for high-acid foods, which naturally resist bacteria growth. Pressure canners are used with low-acid foods and recipes that are especially prone to harboring harmful microorganisms. They heat food hotter than boiling-water canners. Recipes will specify which type of canner is appropriate.
- Choose the Right Jars. Use jars made specifically for canning. Don’t use glass gars from purchased food, even if they look like canning jars. Don’t use jars that look different from the canning jars currently on the market. And avoid jars with chipped edges because that can affect the seal. Use the jar size specified in the recipe.
- Use Lids Properly. Use the special two-piece lids manufactured for canning. Reuse rings but do not reuse lids, which have a sticky compound that seals the jar. Don’t screw on lids too tightly or they won’t create a vacuum seal. Heat the lids in very hot but not boiling water or the compound won’t seal. Test for sealing on each jar after it has cooled.
- Choose the Right Recipe. Modern canning recipes are safer than those from even 20 years ago. Foods may be processed longer or hotter. Always use tested recipes from reliable, current sources and follow the recipe exactly. Don’t alter ingredients. Alterations can compromise food safety.
Keep everything scrupulously clean. Wash and sterilize jars. Pack hot food into hot jars one at a time – not assembly-line style. Take only one sterilized jar out of the canner at a time. As soon as it is filled, place it back in the simmering water in the canner.
The end of growing season doesn’t mean your tastebuds have to suffer. Enjoy the fruits (and veggies) of your labor during the colder seasons ahead by canning and storing your backyard harvest.
Brought to you by Weed Man Lawn Care: we care for your lawn.