Canning is simply a step after the preparation and cooking of a meal. It’s a method that is able to use heat to store food in a closed glass jar to remove the air from the jar, creating a sealant. There are two main forms of canning: pressure canning and water bath canning. We’ll be focusing on the latter for this article.
What Is It?
Water bath canning is a shorter and lower temperature process that is generally used for high-acid foods. Higher amount of acids is the popular choice because they are easier to preserve. Foods with a 4.6 pH or less, are considered high-acid food, anything higher is low-acid. The process involves heating the water to boiling (212°Fahrenheit and 100°Celsius). The boiling process removes the oxygen remaining in the jar. Overall, water bath canning is where you seal the jars and contents through the boiling water. When it is cooled, the jar will seal. In most cases, the water bath canning process takes roughly 10 – 15 minutes after the water has reached a full boil.
The types of fruits and vegetables that ARE considered high-acid and are ideal for water bath canning, are:
- Fruits (e.g. apples, apricots, berries, cherries, cranberries, pears, and plums, etc.)
- Fruit juices
- Jams and jellies
- Fruit spreads
- Tomatoes (with added acid)
- Chutneys and sauces
Examples of low-acid foods (higher than a 4.6 pH), that AREN’T ideal for water bath canning, are:
Why Is It Done?
There are many reasons why water bathing is the preferred method for canning food. First of all, it kills off bacteria like the ‘Escherichia coli O157:H7’ and ‘Salmonella Enterica’. The high temperature kills off a lot of the molds, yeasts, and bacteria. Second, it drives out the air in the jars and food that could spoil the food. Oxygen in food and containers causes food to degrade in nutrition, flavor and appearance. This ensures a long shelf life for the product being stored. And finally, this practice is considered a good and safe procedure.