Boiling Water Bath Canning Tips

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How do I get the skins off the tomatoes?

Removing Tomato Skins

To remove tomato skins, wash the tomatoes and dip in boiling water for about 30 to 60 seconds, or until the skins begin to split. Dip the tomatoes in cold water, and slip the skins right off.

If my lids did not seal, can I safely re-can my food?

Re-canned Food

If your food did not seal the first time, remove the lids and rings. Check the lids to be sure they are in good shape, wipe the tops of the jars, discard the first lid and add a new one. Process again.

What do I do first with my water bath canner?

Water Bath Canning

Fill the kettle with the appropriate amount of hot water and begin heating it on the range. The water bath requires 1 to 2 inches of water above the tops of jars. This can be difficult to determine before the filled jars are in place but after a batch or two you will learn how much water you have to add. It is always a good idea to have an extra small pot of water heating just in case.

How do I raw pack?

Raw Pack

Raw Pack (Cold Pack)

Pack raw fruit into jars and cover with boiling hot sugar syrup, juice or water. It is necessary to leave a head space between the lid and the top of food or liquid. If the jars are filled too full the contents may overflow during processing. The amount of head space is usually between 1/8 and 1/2 inch.

How do I can tomatoes?

Canning Tomatoes

Pack hot jars with hot prepared tomato mixture leaving one inch of head space. Remove air bubbles. Wipe rims, and threads. Adjust lids and bands, and tighten. Process.

Is it necessary to sterilize my jars?

Sterilizing Jars

It is always safer to sterilize your jars to remove any toxins and germs that may be present.

What should I use if I don’t have a wire rack?

Wire Racks

If a rack is not available, clean cotton dish towels or similar can be used to pack around jars.

Why do some pickle recipes call for lime?

Pickling Lime

Pickling lime is used as a 'crisping agent', to prevent the pickles from becoming soft. When called for in a recipe, it is added to the brine before the pickles are soaked, and the soaking time should be 12-24 hours. Then the pickles should be soaked in clean water for 1 hour, and then rinsed at least 3 times to ensure the lime is removed. It is often not recommended, as it is known to lower the acidity of the vinegar, making the pickle unsafe.

What does raw pack mean?

Raw Pack

The practice of filling jars with raw, unheated food. Acceptable for canning low-acid foods, but allows more rapid quality losses in acid foods heat processed in boiling water.

Should I use a water bath for canning my tomatoes?

Canning Tomatoes

Canning tomatoes has been done traditionally using the water bath method, however more people are finding that canning tomatoes in a pressure canner will result in higher quality and a more nutritious product.

What can I use if I don’t have a regular canner?


If a standard canner is not available any large metal container may be used as long as it is deep enough for l to 2 inches of briskly boiling water to cover the jars. The diameter of the canner should be no more than 4 inches wider than the diameter of your stove's burner to ensure proper heating of all jars.

What causes yellow spots on my pickled onions?

Yellowing Onions

Yellowing onions due to the forming of a harmless chemical in the onion, and the pickles can still be eaten.

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Carma Spence-Pothitt