Question and answer section
Crazy About Canning! (And Pickling! And Fermenting!)
Home canning and preserving is a fun and rewarding family activity that yields delicious results year-round. Small-batch canning is a growing trend that allows us urban folk, who may be short on space, time, or cash, to try our hand at canning and produce just enough for our own use at home. Gardeners can enjoy their bountiful harvests for months to come. No garden? No worries! There is an abundance of farmers’ markets in the Bay Area full of freshly picked and locally grown fruits and vegetables. By preserving at home, you can enjoy the summer produce that is flooding the stands now for months to come.
Home canning is not complicated. It is a simple procedure that applies heat to food in a closed glass jar to interrupt the natural decaying that would otherwise take place. There are two types of canning methods: water bath (boiling water) canning and pressure canning.
Water bath canning—boiling jars of food in a boiling water bath—is a quick and easy way to safely preserve high-acidity foods such as tomatoes and fruits. Pressure canning is required for preserving low-acidity foods such as carrots, green beans, and most other vegetables. The pressure method takes a little longer, but it offers gardeners a way to can almost anything from their garden.
Pickling is another way of preserving foods, and almost any veggie can be pickled—not just cucumbers! Using a brine solution of salt, water, and/or vinegar, you can create scrumptious pickled peppers perfect to garnish a Bloody Mary, toss in a salad, or just munch on as a snack.
Fermentation is a type of pickling (created through lactic acid fermentation) that dates as far back as 6,000 B.C. Fermented foods such as kimchi and sauerkraut are lauded now for their prebiotic qualities: they’re foods that feed the probiotics in your gut. According to CookingLight.com, fermented foods have been preserved and transformed by benign bacteria. That usually means sugars and carbohydrates in the food have been eaten by the bacteria, which convert that sugar into other substances, like acids, carbon dioxide, and alcohol. These substances then preserve the food—and add to its flavor. So when you eat fermented foods, you also consume the flourishing colony of good bacteria that has preserved it for you.
Cole Hardware is your canning and pickling supply headquarters! Visit any of our stores to check out our selection of canning jars in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, and ask us your canning questions. Here’s just a sampling of the canning products you’ll find at our stores.
Ball® Jars: The same kind of jars that your grandmother used! We offer 4-ounce jelly jars (12-Pack: Sku 68448, $9.99), half-gallon jars (6-Pack: Sku 62300, $12.99), and every size in between in both regular- and wide-mouth openings.
Click below to check out our two new Pickling Products!
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