How to can food in 12 easy steps.
Things you will need:
A working stove, fresh produce, a recipe, a big pot, a little pot, a sink, some clean towels, a ladle, a spoon, a mega shit ton of jars and lids, metal tongs, and a timer.
Optional things include:
Labels for the jars, counter space, a willingness to laugh at yourself and potholders.
Make sure you have necessary ingredients for canning. If making Jam or Jelly you will most likely need pectin and a lot of recipes for jam call for enough sugar to murder several diabetics. Also, do not optimistically assume you will have enough jars. You must have more jars then you need or you will find yourself either driving to the store at breakneck speed or eating jam for dinner for three nights in a row until your teeth ache.
Prepare your fresh ingredients and add them to the big pot as per your recipe instructions. Set timer so that you will not over cook the ingredients you slaved over growing and picking in the hot ass summer sun.
Wash each of your jars and lids in hot water and rinse in warm water. If you forget to rinse jars in warm water you might be in for a 'surprise.'* Set timer.
Forget about timer. Almost drop jar you are washing when it goes off. Scramble to shut off heat and stir your glop. Proceed to step 5.
Realize that you were supposed to have put the lids into boiling water before placing them on jars. Scramble to boil water with tea maker before your glop gets cold and you are fucked.
Reread directions and realize that they meant only the lids and not the rings. Try to fish rings out of boiling hot water before timer goes off again. Burn self while trying to get rings to cool off. Began to contemplate why you wanted to can your own food in the first place.
Have contemplation time broken by sound of timer. Carefully bring your jars over and arrange them for ease of filling. Grab ladle and began filling jars. Immediately spill a bunch of your glop over half the jars. Overfill first jar so that you have to try to dump it into another jar. The glop, and therefore by extension the jars, will be burning hot. Burn hands for the second time.
Wipe down the rims and threads of jars with a clean cloth or paper towel. Jars will be as hot as the surface of the sun. Any potholders you may use to ease this step along will become sticky or filthy as fuck all. Proceed to Step 9.
Carefully try to fish lids out of boiling water with a pair of tongs. Come to conclusion that this is impossible. Come to conclusion that lids do not want to come apart and also do not want to come out of the pot. Wrestle each lid out while cursing the cold uncaring universe that brought you to this point. If you have enlisted help in this endeavor, this is an excellent time for them to make sarcastic remarks about the how jars are cooling off and you are taking forever. Lid jars.
Add rings. Burn hands like a motherfucker. Remember fondly when you used to have fingerprints. Use non sticky potholders or clean towels to tighten the rings and invert jars for five minutes.
After five minutes turn jars right side up and leave for 24 hours. Curse wildly as you try to clean up because hot water plus finger burns equals oh god sweet Jesus motherfuckers. Find out that glop will harden like motherfucking epoxy. If making jam learn that this is the stickiest substance known to man.
After 24 hours test jars. You can label them at this time. Resist urge to label jars with curse words. They should be uniform in color and the lids should not have any give. If lids pop they must be refrigerated and eaten with a week or so. End up with way too much of whatever you made. Give some of it away. Give a lot of it away. Resign self to eating a shit ton of whatever you just made. Weep softy into your burned hands, drink heavily.
There you have it! How to can food in 12 easy steps. Be sure to catch the other tutorials such as How to denail a board in 10 easy steps.
* I've heard if you miss this step the jars might explode. (Cold jar, boiling food you figure it out.) I've never seen it happen, but then I've been really careful about that. I like to keep explosions in my kitchen to a minimum.