Thursday, 22 April 2021 12:39

Plan Ahead for Canning Season

By Diane Whitten, MS, Master Food Preserver, CCE Food & Nutrition Educator | News
Plan Ahead for Canning Season

If you plan to preserve your harvest this year by canning, now’s the time to plan ahead. In 2020 canning jars and lids were hard to find, so shop now for these items. Only buy what you need for this year, resist the urge to hoard equipment. The shortage last year was due in part to many people buying more than they needed. 

Lids: The lid system that the USDA has tested extensively and stands by is the two-piece metal lid and screw band. The design of these lids has changed recently to be BPA-free. The new lids no longer require heating before applying to the jar which is an advantage. You may still have older lids, so check the direction on the package for preparing the lids for canning. This style of lid is meant for one-time use. 

Reusable lids are made by a few companies, these lids may be easier to find. Both plastic and glass lids with rubber rings are marketed. Obviously, the advantage of using these is that they are reusable, so you don’t have to buy more every year. Research done at the University of Georgia showed slightly more seal failures within 3 months of storage for the reusable lids compared to the two-piece system which in this study had no seal failures. (1)

Jars: Do an inventory of the jars you have noting the sizes and whether they’re regular or wide-mouth jars. Make sure you have lids that match the jars. If you plan to make a lot of jam or jelly this year, be sure to have an appropriate amount of half-pint jars, and try to estimate how many pint and quart jars you’ll need. 

Pressure Canner Dial Gauge Testing at CCE: The manufacturers of pressure canners recommend that dial gauges be tested annually before canning. CCE of Saratoga County and Albany County will test dial gauges at no charge. Contact Diane Whitten at 518-885-8995, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Last Season’s Canned Goods: Take a look in your pantry for last summer’s canned goods. Check the seals on the products, and discard any items if the seal is not intact. Make plans to use up last summer’s products (including frozen) to make room for new products to prevent food waste. If you have a lot of canned beans left over from last year, maybe you should can fewer this year, or visa versa. Only can what you will reasonably use within a year for best quality. 

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