How to Can Food without a Canner

canning food without a canner

People have been canning food for a long time, even before canning tools were invented. This means that the practice of canning without a canner has existed for a long time. In the past years, no special equipment was used to can food, which explains why it is possible to do it even today. Some of the techniques applied may be difficult and even considered cumbersome, but they still achieve the desired result.

Canning has been used as one of the numerous preservation methods that can be applied. However, over time, canning has been put on the side because easier and better preservation techniques have been adopted. Some of these include freezing, drying, pickling, oil preservation, and cellar storage.

All these techniques seem to work better than canning, hence the lessened popularity of canning. However, despite the different storage and preservation options available today, canning is still being used in some households. Below are some unique methods you can apply even when you do not have a canner.

Types of Canning Techniques to Use at Home

There are different canning methods that one can use without the food canner. However, when searching for information on canning tricks, it helps to avoid using outdated content. Note that different canning methods will work for different situations, which is why you need to pay attention when settling for a technique.

Below are some of the most common and safe practices to apply at home. Some of the outdated techniques are not considered very safe but may still work if you have no option, but they are not recommended.

  • Pressure Cooker Canning
  • Water Bath Canning
  • Open kettle method
  • Oven-use method

Pressure Cooker Canning

Most homesteads own a pressure cooker, which is why they would not struggle using this canning method. It works for most homes because it is one of the safest methods that has been approved for use even today. The pressure canning method works best for acidic foods, including vegetables, meats, seafood, and poultry.

Stovetop pressure cooker: Presto 01362 6-Quart Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker

Electric pressure cooker: Instant Pot Smart WiFi 8-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker

To use this method:

You first need to select the right food, say vegetables. The food should also be processed as quickly as possible, preferably soon after picking them. Sort the vegetables, and wash thoroughly. Prepare the jars as directed by the manufacturer after properly cleaning them. When ready, proceed as follows:

  • Add 2 inches of water to the pressure cooker and place the jars in
  • Close the pressure cooker and turn on the heat to medium for around 15 minutes
  • Remove the pressure cooker from the heat and let it cool naturally, which could take anything from 30 to 45 minutes
  • Carefully remove the lid by opening it from one side to allow any remaining steam to escape
  • Remove the jars and place them in a place with cold air drafts  to cool

Note that most homesteads used to canning using the pressure method have the necessary pressure cooking equipment that is slightly different from the ordinary pressure cooker.

Boiling Bath Canning

This technique works for acidic foods. Suppose you have been wondering how to can apple butter without a canner, then this is the technique to apply. It also works for tomatoes, pickles, and jellies, to mention a few. The boiling method works best for high acidic foods like pickled vegetables and fruits.

To use this method, no special equipment is needed. However, there are tools you must gather if you want to achieve a successful canning procedure. These include:

  • 2 large pots with one being both deeper and broader than the second one. Depending on the jars you will be using, make sure the pots are 3 to 4 inches taller than jars.
  • Commercial jars with pop-top covers
  • Hot Mittens
  • A ladle
  • A funnel that has a wide mouth and is heat resistant
  • A spoon
  • Towels

Instructions to follow

A water bath canning technique follows a few simple steps that should be carefully adhered to.

  • Find the appropriate recipes for the food you want to can. You can always search online for the best recipes. You will discover that most foods in this category are mostly highly acidic, and those that are not will need some vinegar. Usually, fruits and other foods like tomatoes will require the use of this technique.
  • Once you are sure of what you need to can, wash the jars properly, making sure that both the jars and covers are in good shape. They should not have any chunks or cracks because this will affect the quality of the canning process.
  • Heat the jars and maintain them warm by putting them in a pot with water and bringing them to boil. Alternatively, put them in your dishwasher and run them through a cycle and keep them warm. It is essential to maintain the warm temperatures in your jars to prevent breakages when you pour in the hot food you are reserving.
  • Boil the jar covers in water
  • In your giant point, place a towel at the bottom and fill it partly with water, then bring it to a boil.
  • Once boiled, place the warm jars from your dishwater or hot water into the towel. Be careful when doing this. You can use the mitts and ladle to protect yourself.
  • Using the recipe method you are applying and the wide-mouthed funnel, fill the jars with the hot food you need to preserve.
  • Remove the covers from the boiling water and place them over the jars, making sure to cover tightly.
  • Exercising caution, take the filled jars, and place them in the giant pot of boiling water. Make sure they do not touch each other or the sides of the pot. Instead, they should stand alone in the boiling water.
  • Make sure the jars are covered with boiling water, at least 2 inches above. Be careful when adding the water because it should not pour directly on the jars.
  • Ensure the water gets to a rolling boil, and continue boiling it for the duration that the recipe you are using has specified.
  • Once done, turn off the fire and, using a ladle, remove the boiling water into a different container. You need to remove enough water to touch the top covers of the jars without getting the hot mitts wet.
  • Grab the jars’ upper part and remove them from the hot pot, placing them on a towel.
  • You should then leave the hot jars undisturbed for some hours, preferably overnight.
  • Confirm that the seal of the jars is intact. Commercial jars will have the pop-up indicator, which you need to be adequately sealed. If the seal did not pop, then you can put the jar in the fridge because the quality will be compromised when left on the shelf.
  • Store all the successfully canned jars on the countertop designated for them. Make sure the storage area is cool, dry, and dark.

Note that when this method is used appropriately, it is one of the safest and most effective. Sometimes, the seal is too tight that only poking a hole on the cover can release the vacuum and open it.

Open Kettle Method

This is also called the hot fill technique. It may have worked in the past, but it is not one of the safest methods to use, especially considering numerous other options to consider today.

This method involves pouring scorching foods into the cans and letting the food’s heat to seal the cans. It is not one of the most recommended ways because there are several loopholes for safety compromises.

It is necessary to process foods if they are to kill all the harmful microorganisms that can cause future issues.

The Oven Method

This method involves using the oven where jars are placed in the hot oven to process. The technique’s safety level has also been found wanting. In most cases, the food jars tend to burst and explode, causing danger and injuries in the process.

You may find a few old cookbooks and recipes that give direction for oven canning. However, this method is not the safest one to use and should be avoided. In some cases, you may even come across canning instructions for the microwave. While these may seem like quick and easy fixes, they cannot be exchanged for proven and tested techniques.

How to Can Tomatoes Without a Canner

While many foods are canned in most homesteads, none is as familiar as the tomatoes. If you want to take advantage of the abundance of tomatoes when they are in season, then learning how to can them safely for use in the future months when they will be less available or too pricey to use them fresh is necessary.

Fortunately, the canning of tomatoes is easy and straight forward. Consider this procedure for your basic tomato canning process. The steps involved will work in most cases, regardless of the type of tomatoes.

  • Start by picking your tomatoes. If you grow them, then this would be easy. Alternatively, get them from a supplier you trust. Remember that your canned tomatoes’ quality highly depends on the raw material you use, so make sure that the tomatoes you start with are the best.
  • Get the mason jars and lids that you will use to can the tomatoes
  • Get the biggest stockpot you have and get to work.
  • You may also need to get jar lifters if you want to avoid getting burnt
  • Start by sterilizing the jars and lids. This will require that you put them in boiling water for 3 to 5 minutes. It would help if you left them in hot water until when you are ready to use them. Some people may argue that sterilizing the jars is not essential because they come readily prepared. However, it is best to re-do it.
  • How you can tomatoes depends on how you want to use them in the future. You can choose to prepare them for dishes and can others whole.
  • Start by washing and peeling the tomatoes. You can use the hot or cold method to peel where you deep the whole tomatoes in boiling water and peel or deep them into an ice bath to get the covering peeled.
  • Remove the stem and skin
  • In the giant pots with boiling water, place the jars with filled tomatoes and ring to a boil. Make sure to fill the jars half an inch from the rim.
  • Squeeze them in using a spoon, and add some lemon juice to increase the acidity level. 2 tablespoons of lemon juice will be okay. You should then test to ensure that the distance to the rim is half an inch. You should add boiling water if necessary
  • Wipe the rim clean to avoid making the tomatoes go bad.
  • Process the tomatoes according to your recipe. Most tomato canning recipes will need 85 minutes to be well processed. Remove them from the water bath after this period elapses and allow them to cool. If possible, let the cans cool overnight before storing them in a cool and dark panty section for use in the future.

Check this too: Dometic RV Fridge How to & Troubleshooting Guide

Most canning processes are easy to achieve. Follow the given recipe to be sure of the results you are going for. The last thing you want is to put yourself and your family at risk by compromising the canning process. In the end, canning is one of the safest ways to store your food, especially if you intend to enjoy fresh and better tasting food in seasons that they do not exist.