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Packing Instructions

The two methods of packing, food into canning jars are raw pack and hot pack. Raw pack is packing raw, prepared food into clean, hot jars and then adding hot liquid. Fruits and most vegetables need to be packed tightly because they will shrink during processing. However, raw corn, lima beans, and peas should be packed loosely, as they will expand. For hot pack, heat prepared food to boiling, or partially cook it. It should be packed loosely boiling, hot into clean, hot jars. Hot pack takes more time but has been found to result in higher quality canned foods.

For either packing, method, pack acid foods including tomatoes and acidified figs to within -inch of the top of the jar. Low acid foods to within 1 inch of the top of the jar.

After food is packed into jars, wipe the jar rims clean. Put on the lid with the sealing compound next to the jar rim. Screw the band down firmly so that it is hand-tight. Do not use a far wrench to tighten screw bands. There must be enough "give" for air to escape from the jars during, processing. Process food promptly after packing it into jars and adjusting lids. Processing times are given for pints and quarts. If you are using half pint jars, use processing times for pints. For one-and-one-half pint jars, use processing times for quarts. Fruit juices are the only product that may be canned in half gallon jars.

Canning at Altitudes Above 1,000 Feet

If you live at an altitude of more than 1,000 feet, you will need to modify the processing time for acid foods and the pounds pressure you use to process low-acid foods. The processing instructions presented in this bulletin are for altitudes of 0-1000 feet. To determine your altitude, contact the North Carolina Geological Survey Office. Their address is: 512 North Salisbury Street, P.O. Box 27687, Raleigh, NC 2761 1. Their telephone number is 919-733-2423. After determining your altitude, your local extension center can help you to determine changes you need to make to your canning instructions.

Processing in a Water Bath Canner

Use a water bath canner to process acidified tomatoes, acidified figs and all other fruits. A pressure canner can be used to process acid foods but the quality will not be as good.

Processing in a Pressure Canner

If you live at an altitude of 0-1000 feet you can process foods in a weighted gauge pressure canner at 10 pounds pressure. If you are using, a dial gauge pressure canner, use 11 pounds pressure. If you live at an altitude more than 2,000 feet you need to increase the pounds pressure at which you process foods. These increases are not given in this bulletin. Contact your county extension center to get this information. If tomato products are acidified, they can be safely processed in a water bath canner. If not, they must be processed in a pressure canner.

Here are some pointers for using a pressure canner:

Check Seals

Vacuum seals form as the jars cool. When jars are cool (12 to 24 hours after processing), check the seals. If the lid is depressed or concave and will not move when pressed, it is sealed. If sealed, carefully remove screw bands. If a band sticks, loosen it by covering, it for a moment with a hot, damp cloth. Bands left on jars during storage may rust, making later removal difficult.

If you find an unsealed jar, do one of the following:

The eating quality of twice-processed food may be poor. If more than 24 hours have gone by since processing, throw out the food. It might be unsafe to eat.

Label and Store Sealed Jars

Label sealed jars with the processing date. Store them in a cool, dry, dark place. Properly stored canned foods will retain their quality for at least a year. Never store canned foods near hot pipes, a range, a furnace, or in direct sunlight because they lose quality.

If stored in a cold place, protect from freezing by wrapping a the jars in newspaper or covering them with a blanket. Canned foods that do freeze may be used as long as freezing does not break the seal. However, they may not be as tasty as properly stored canned foods.

If canned foods are kept in a damp place, lids may rust.

The Icons below will guide you to more information on Canning. Recipes will be found on pages 4 and above.

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