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Yes, You Can: How To Can All Your Fall Garden Vegetables

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If your garden haul was abundant this fall, then you might be wondering what to do with all of those delicious extra vegetables. After all, the freezer has only so much space (and you can make only so many pots of vegetable soup).

It’s no wonder so many gardeners turn to canning as a way to preserve their favorite hearty vegetables to enjoy throughout the long winter ahead. (Yup, it’s called canning even though the food is in jars. Canning is short for “canisters,” which were made of wood, clay, or tin before glass jars came along.)

We tracked down seasoned canners and got all the details to help you get in on some canning action this harvest season. Here’s everything you need to know about canning your autumn haul ASAP.

Vegetables that preserve well

There are a lot of veggies you can preserve to make all your favorite winter recipes. But because of the different characteristics of each vegetable (mainly its sugar and water content), some naturally lend themselves to the process of canning better than others.

“In general, I can any and all vegetables that don’t freeze well,” says Stephanie Seferian of Mama Minimalist. “For example, zucchinis traditionally can’t be frozen due to their high water content. To ensure that the produce I grew so diligently in my garden doesn’t go to waste, I’ll simply can them and create a year’s worth of pickles.”

Another way to decide which veggies to can is based on how you’ll eventually use them.

“My favorite vegetables to can are onions, kale, potatoes, and carrots because it’s super simple to throw them into soups, sauces, and broths,” says Seferian.

Vegetables to avoid canning

While many vegetables fare the canning process well, some are better off being enjoyed fresh.

“Broccoli is one of the worst vegetables to preserve,” says Emilly Barbosa Fernandes of House Grail. “It doesn’t have a great shelf life after being canned and also loses a lot of its original taste.”

A few more veggies that are better kept out of jars? Squash, peppers, cauliflower, and all types of lettuces.

“They become very soft, similar to the consistency of baby food,” says Laura Ritterman of Recipe Fairy.

Keep it clean

Never canned before? Then it’s good to know some basic do’s and don’ts.

One mistake newbie canners make is forgetting to sterilize equipment.

“The biggest thing to watch for, in my opinion, is making sure your cans and lids are thoroughly cleaned before canning,” says homesteader Chelsea VanderGraaff, of Love From Our Backyard. “Any little bacteria that gets in there can cause big problems or affect the flavor.”

Choose a canning method

There are two basic canning methods: hot water bath canning and pressure canning. Both methods prevent the growth of botulism.

Hot water canning is used for veggies with high-acid pH. If you want to pickle your vegetables—for example, carrots and Brussels sprouts are frequently pickled—you’ll be adding acid, making them good candidates for hot water canning. The vinegar allows these low-acid foods to be processed safely in a boiling water bath.

Veggies that aren’t acidic should be processed by pressure canning. These include beets, potatoes, and squash.

Always follow instructions

Canning might seem as simple as throwing veggies in a jar and sealing it, but that’s simply not true. Always follow the canning guidelines set forth by the USDA to keep your food safe. And if you’re pickling, follow a recipe.

“Not strictly following the recipe is a big mistake,” says gardening and plant expert Pol Bishop, of Fantastic Gardeners. “Sometimes the salt or the vinegar may seem like a lot, but that’s the recipe for a reason.”

Put aside enough time

Another thing to keep in mind when getting ready to can your harvest is that it might take longer than you originally anticipated.

“Know that canning can be a half-day or even a full day’s activity if you have a lot of produce,” says Seferian. “So be prepared. Perhaps chop all your vegetables the day before to lessen your workload on canning day.”

The post Yes, You Can: How To Can All Your Fall Garden Vegetables appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

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