Taking inventory of your canning equipment now may sound like some thing you would do later in summer, when you’re ready to hit the farmer’s markets or harvest your garden’s bounty.
But doing it now will save you lots of frustration and shopping around for the supplies, equipment and parts you may need. It might take a little bit of time, but the time spent is well worth it.
I start with the jars:
- Check for nicks or cracks. Nicks can stop your lids and rings from seating correctly and let air in, causing your food to spoil. Cracks interfere with the integrity of the jar its self. This may actually come apart in your pressure canner, ruing the entire batch of jars in the canner.
- Do you have enough in sizes you need? Having to hold off finishing processing your fruits or vegetables in the middle of the season can cause you to lose some of your hard work, especially when making jelly. Running to get more jars can prove an additional problem; what is they are out of the size of jars you need?
- Do you have new lids? Even if the lids look good when removed from your canned goods – They Should Never Be Reused! Once used, they will no longer hold a safe seal – and this allows the jar of food to become a home for dangerous food-poisoning bacteria.
- You also need to check your rings (also called bands). If they have become dented or rusty, do not reuse them. Replace them; they are not worth taking the risk of spoiled food.
- Now is the time to check your pressure canner. Check the O-Ring that makes the top and base seal – this is a critical part and without replacing an O-Ring when in doubt is Not Safe. If your inspection of your canning pressure cooking leaves you with questions of its safety – I would recommend replacing it. They are wonderful tools to use in your canning but if faulty they can be very dangerous.
- I use my Food Sealer a lot for vegetables and fruit that are safe to freeze. Here is a trusted site I use for guidance: National Center For Home Food Preservation – Nchfp.uga.edu/how/freeze.html
- Every year I also check the soundness of my crocks. I enjoy making sauerkraut with my first cabbage of the season. Crocks are an investment that if handled carefully will last many years, but you still need to check them for chips and cracks.
Canning and preserving time will be here before you know it … it are you ready?
For LOTS more canning info and tutorials, watch our new series of canning videos here!