Lots of people are asking me if they can can food (vegetables) without a pressure canner. My mom said, she only used the water bath method to can her foods. I personally use the pressure canner. She never owned a pressure canner and canned ALL her food, including navy beans using a large kettle. When I was little I watched her can her vegetables from her vegetable garden. And she made plenty of jams from blueberries we picked. I ate the food she canned and I'm still here today. That was many many moons ago. I won't tell you how many moons, but it was many.
I personally use a pressure canning for canning low acid foods. When I left home and one day started canning, my first projects were navy beans. So, when I read up on canning, I purchased a pressure canner. I was adventurous and wanted to try it out. I use both methods.
So, here's a guide
I found that lists the times to process your vegetables using the water bath method. You can get started now. Even if you don't have a large enamel pot or kettle, you can use any large pot. Check out the link below. It has lots of information.
In the past, before the days of the pressure canner, people canned their vegetables using a boiling-water canner. This is nothing but a great big pan. The pan has to be big enough for your jar to fit well inside and be covered with several inches of water. It should have a rack in the bottom and a well fitting lid. The rack should hold the jars at least 1/2 inch off of the bottom of thhe pan to allow the water to circulate.
This method of canning is not as safe as canning in a pressure canner because the high temperatures necessary to kill all harmful bacteria inside the jar cannot be achieved in a boiling-water canner. Vegetables processed in a boiling-water canner simply do not get hot enough to destroy all bacteria, and the food may spoil, no matter how long you process it. The only food that is really suitable for canning with this method are fruits. They have an acidic value to them that prevents certain bacterias from growing in the first place. Keeping all of this in mind, you should decide what method of processing your vegetables is best for you.
I am constantly getting e-mails on how to can certain vegetables the old-fashioned way--the way Grandmother did it--in a boiling water canner, so I am including this section on canning vegetables in a boiling-water canner in this series. Just be prepared...this method of canning results in a long processing time.
Steps in Canning With a Boiling-Water Canner.
- Fill the canner with enough water to cover jars at least 1-inch over the tops.
- Place the filled jars in the canner onto the rack. If water does not cover the tops of the jars by 1-inch, add boiling water. By adding boiling water to the canner, you will not lower the temperature of the water already inside of the canner.
- Start counting the processing time as soon as the water around the jars comes to a full rolling boil. Keep the water boiling for the whole processing time. If the water boils down and begins to expose the tops of the jars, add more boiling water.
- Process for the required length of time. Use the chart below to determine processing times and procedure.
- Remove jars from canner when processing time is complete, and allow the jars to cool completely in an upright position. Check for a seal by pushing on the lid. If it pops up and down, it has not sealed. Refrigerate and eat within 2 days.
Boiling-Water Canning Chart
Beets: Harvest beets cut off the tops leaving 2 inches of top on the beet. Leave the root attached. By leaving the top and root attached, will prevent your beets from "bleeding" and turning white. Scrub the beets and parboil until skins slip off, about 15 minutes. Dip the beets in cold water and peel.Slice the big beets, and leave the small ones whole. Pack into jars leaving a 1-inch headspace. Add 1/2 tsp. salt to pints;add 1 tsp. to quarts.Cover beets with boiling water. Seal. Process for 120 minutes.
Carrots: Wash and peel carrots.Slice large carrots or leave small one whole. Bring carrots to a boil and pack into jars, adding 1/2 tsp. salt to pints;1 tsp. to quarts. Pour boiling water over carrots leaving a 1-inch headspace.Seal. Process 120 minutes.
Corn-Whole Kernel: Remove husks and silk. Blanch the corn, if you do not want corn juice spraying across your kitchen when you cut the kernel off of the cob. Bring to a boil and pack corn loosely into jars, leaving a 1-inch headspace. Add 1/2 tsp. salt to pints and 1 tsp. salt to quarts. Process for 210 minutes.
Green Beans: Break beans into 1 inch pieces. Wash and precook beans for 5-10 minutes. Add 1/2 tsp. salt to pints;add 1 tsp. salt to quarts. Pack into jars leaving a 1-inch headspace. Process for 180 minutes.
Peas: Shell and wash. Boil for 5 minutes, and pack into jars. Cover with boiling water leaving 1-inch headspace. Add 1/2 tsp. salt to pints;add 1 tsp. to quarts. Process for 180 minutes.
Tomatoes: See How to Can FruitPage 4 of "How to Can Fruits and Vegetables from Your Garden." This page talks about canning fruit.
Zucchini: Wash and trim ends. Cut into 1/2 inch slices. Do not peel. Bring to a boil and pack into jars. Add 1/2 tsp. salt to pints and 1 tsp. to quarts. Cover with boiling water, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Process for 180 minutes.
I've decided to include this video so you can see how easy it is to can, using the water bath method. Please watch the video. It's only 3 minutes.
Easy step-by-step video on canning, using the water bath method.