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Home Canning

Home canning consists in heating jars of food until they reach a high enough temperature to destroy the micro-organisms and enzymes that cause food to spoil. Two modern home canning methods are recognized as safe.

Modern canning methods

Acidic Foods: Boiling

Acidic foods (jams, jellies, fruit butters, marmalades, fruits and fruit sauces, pickles, chow-chows, salss, chutneys) have to be boiled in a covered canning kettle.

Non-acidic Foods: Pressure Cooking

Non-acidic foods (meat and game, fowl, fish and seafood, soups, stews, tomatoes and vegetables that are not pickled in acid) have to be processed at a higher heat than that of boiling water, so they have to be processed in a pressure cooker.

Sterilizing jars in the dishwasher or oven is no longer recommended. Sealing jars with paraffin has also fallen from favour, as the seal is not sufficiently airtight.

Follow the guide for quality home preserves !

1Make the recipe

2Sterilize jars and lids

Wash glass jars in hot soapy water and rinse thoroughly.

Boiling: Place the jars in a large kettle and cover with 1 inch (2.5 cm) of water. Cover and bring to a boil. Boil for 10 minutes. Make sure that the kettle is big enough that the jars don’t touch and that there is enough room between water and kettle cover to allow for a rolling boil.

Pressure-cooking: Place a trivet in the pressure cooker. Add 3½ inches (8 cm) of water and set the jars on the trivet. Cover and heat until water begins to boil. Boil gently for 3 to 5 minutes. Keep at a slow boil for 3-5 minutes.

Boil lids and screw-bands about 5 minutes to sterilize them and soften the sealant.

Leave jars and lids in hot water until they are needed.

3Fill and process jars

Fill hot jars leaving the headroom recommended in the recipe. Use a spatula to remove air bubbles.

Wipe the rim of the jar, centre the lid over the jar and screw the band on but not so tightly as to prevent steam from escaping or to damage the lid’s sealant.

Heat the jars again using the appropriate process.

Boiling: Put the filled jars in a kettle of boiling water. Cover, bring to a boil, and boil for the time specified in the recipe. Lift the jars out. Calculate processing time from the moment the water comes to a boil once more with the jars in the water.

Pressure-cooking: Set the jars back on the trivet in the pressure cooker. . Leave enough room between jars for steam to circulate. Lock the pressure cooker cover in place, leaving the vent open. Heat pressure cooker over high heat, allowing steam to escape through the vent for 10 minutes. Close the vent and set heat to reach and maintain recommended pressure for the time specified in the recipe, depending on the size of jar used. Remove pressure cooker from heat and allow pressure to fall to zero. Lift jars out.

4Cool and store

Set jars aside to cool for 24 hours and check seal. Lids will make a popping sound during cooling and their centre will curve downwards. Label the jars with the recipe name and cooking and canning date. Store in a cool, dark place.

Keys to successful canning

  • Use reliable, recognized recipes and only the best ingredients.
  • Stick to the ingredients and quantities recommended in the recipe.
  • Do not double recipes. It is better to make a second batch.
  • Use glass canning jars with two-part metal lids (flat lid and screw-band). Never use recycled mustard or pickle jars. Never use recycled mustard or pickle jars.
  • Observe specified processing time and jar size.