Making Strawberry Jam Canning Class

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When it starts getting warm and the gardens are being planted you may start thinking about learning how to can your own foods. The price of everything is rising in the grocery store, so now might be a good time to invest in some Hot Water Bath canning equipment and save some money by preserving foods. There will be an initial investment but once you have your supplies it will be worth the investment for years to come. Here are several things you will need to get started.

Canning Supplies

  • Hot Water Bath Canner
  • Jars with lids and rings (made for canning)
  • Wide Mouth Jar funnel
  • Jar Lifter
  • Lid Lifter
  • Canning Salt

A water bath canner is a tall stockpot with a lid and a rack. If you do not have a rack, use a cake cooling rack or extra ring bands tied together to create a rack. A Granite Ware 21.5-Quart Water Bath Canner with Jar Rack will range in cost of about $25-$75.

Buy Mason canning jars, new lids, and ring bands, $10-$15 depending on the size you will need. After your first season, you can reuse your jars and rings but you will need to buy new canning lids every year, they run about $4 for a 12 pack.

The rest of the supplies are available as a canning kit (jar lifter, bubble freer, wide-mouth funnel, lid lifter) and runs about $10-$15. You also will need various bowls, and pans depending upon your project, paper towels, dishcloths, and a timer.

And don’t forget a permanent marker to label lids. Most of these supplies can be found at any hardware store, locally check Byrum’s True Value Hardware, W.E. Nixon’s Hardware, and Kellogg Supply Company.

Select a research-based recipe and read through it completely. Only high-acid foods (Jams, Jellies, Pickles) can be safely processed in a boiling water bath.

All low acid foods (vegetables like green beans) must be pressure canned. Sources of research-based recipes include the Penn State Let’s Preserve SeriesUSDA Complete Guide to Home Canning, the National Center for Home Food Preservation, or So-Easy to Preserve.

Check the List of Ingredients 

Do not forget the canning salt, sugar, and other ingredients listed in the recipe.

Prepare Jars and Lids

  • Check the jars for any nicks, cracks, or uneven rims.
  • Check lids to avoid scratches and uneven or missing sealing compounds.
  • Check that ring bands fit jars.
  • Wash jars, lids, and ring bands in hot soapy water; rinse, drain.
  • Sterilize jars if they will be processed for less than 10 minutes by covering jars in boiling water for 10 minutes. Jars processed 10 minutes or more do not need to be sterilized.
  • Place jars that will be filled with hot product in 180°F water to heat jars before filling. This may be in water heating in the canner or a separate pan. Another option for heating jars is to wash them in the dishwasher and time to remove the jars from the dishwasher when you are ready to use them.
  • Heating jar lids are optional.

Prepare Boiling Water Canner

  • Place rack in the bottom of the canner.
  • Fill the canner at least ½ full of water.
  • Cover and heat to 140°F for food that is packed into jars raw; heat to 180°F for foods packed into jars hot.
  • Heat an additional pan of water to have in reserve for filling the canner later.

Prepare Food

This step depends upon the food being canned and the recipe instructions.

  • Prepare only one canner load at a time, do not double the recipe.
  • Sort items by size and quality, and remove any spoiled products.

Additional things to remember:

  • Discard old recipes published before 1994. Old recipes may have inadequate processing times, inaccurate processing methods, or lack adequate acidity.
  • Center the canner over the burner. Select an appropriate size burner. Canner should not extend more than 2 inches beyond the burner.
  • Clean your canner after each use.
  • Electric Pressure Cookers for example Instant Pots are not approved for canning.
  • Don’t use recipes from social media sites like Google, TikTok, Pinterest, and Facebook unless they are from a .edu source.

If you would like to learn more the Chowan County Cooperative Extension will be offering classes on “Making Strawberry Jam” on May 25th from 1-2:30 p.m. and 6-7:30 p.m. To register Click Here or contact Mary Morris at 252-482-6585 or email