Canning is fun – but it can be an ambitious undertaking and requires preparation to set up the kitchen. If you’re simply doing one small batch of jam or jelly, there’s not too much to worry about. However, if you’re putting up several bushels of peaches or ten flats of strawberries that you are making into jam, here are a few useful tips.
Consider doing all of your canning in one or two days, back to back. Most of the work is organizing the kitchen and preparing utensils and jars for canning.
Plan on eating out or have dinner prepared ahead of time on your canning days – after a long, hot day over the stove, you’ll appreciate the rest and you won’t have to mess up the kitchen!
Wear comfortable, cool clothes and slip-proof, comfortable shoes.
Turn your kitchen into a lean, mean, production machine! Clear the kitchen counters of extraneous clutter.
Clean kitchen surfaces and sink thoroughly – fill a spray bottle with solution of 1 tablespoon of Clorox and 1 quart of water. Spray this sanitizing solution on your counter tops, faucet and handles, refrigerator handle, etc. and wipe off with a clean cloth. Remember: bacteria is the enemy when it comes to food processing.
Fill the dishwasher with the clean canning jars you plan to use and time running the dishwasher so that the cycle finishes when it’s time to fill the jars. The jars will be hot and ready for filling. You can re-run the dishwasher through the rinse cycle to reheat them again, if necessary.
Have your knives sharpened – sharp knives reduce fatigue and make the chopping chores go much faster.
Wash all of your canning utensils and place on a nearby table for easy access.
Keep a clean stack of dishtowels on nearby table or drawer – you’ll use a surprising number for little drips and clean up.
Invest in a box of latex disposable gloves to protect your hands. Hands and nails may stain when working with certain fruits and vegetables, and may also begin to chap after hours of working with acidic fruits.