I have a couple of questions. First I have the recipe I want to make. When leaving headroom does the amount matter? Because I was told to never go above the bottom of the funnel when pouring in jams. Also I heard you have to sanitize everything, ladle, jar lifter, magnet, screw on lids, and jars. How long do I have to boil these for? Also, how do I sanitize the seal lids?
Then once I have the jars filled with jam, and after it's reached a boil 10 minutes is enough right?
Yes you should sterilize everything including utensils and lids. Jars also. I usually boil them in the canner for about five minutes. Ball canning guide has a good section on headroom. usually about an eighth of an inch below the straight sides where the lids screw. Good luck! read the instructions several times before you go and soon you will gain more and more confidence. Start with high acid foods until you have a good amount of self-confidence. They are more forgiving
Headroom This is the air space between the lid and the contents. While the exact measure is not written in stone, its a good idea to stick within the guidelines found in the Bluebook. The importance is due to the nature of heated and cooled gas (air) and how it forms a vacuum.
Sanitize Yup, sanitize EVERYTHING. A few minutes in the boil will do the job for most parts. I put the lids in a small saucepan for about 5 minutes. This is sufficient to sanitize the lids and serves to soften the sealant in order to achieve and hold a vacuum.
Process Time I run jars for 30 minutes in a boiling water bath, regardless of size.
Seed the Mind, Harvest Ideas.
Never boil the lids - just simmer them. Boiling the jars and rings is okay, but the sealing compound on the lids won't work right if you boil them before processing the jars.
With a standard canning jar, I find that the lip at the bottom of the threads is a good stopping point for filling. The height of the ring is about a half inch, which is enough headroom for most canned products.
Make sure you wipe the threads and rim of the jar with a clean, damp cloth before you put on the lid and the ring.
The Ball Blue Book is the standard text for home canning, but it costs money. The USDA guides provided in a previous post are paid for by your tax dollars, a better use of tax money than much of what our government does if you ask me, and are nicely comprehensive.
Don't tap the lids to see if they'll pop down. If the lid doesn't pop down in the middle on its own, then you don't have a good seal, and the jar goes in the fridge for immediate use.
For a boiling water bath, have the water at a simmer when you put in the jars, then bring it up to a boil. You'll have fewer jars break that way. Same as boiling eggs - put in the eggs, then boil the water, so that you get hard boiled eggs insteadof egg soup.
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