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How to Can Fruits

Make the most of summer's bounty by learning how to preserve it for winter.


  • Step 1: Wash your canning jars, along with their lids and screw bands, in very hot, soapy water. Rinse well and let them air dry. Check for cracks and chips before using.
  • TIP: Only use jars made specifically for canning.
  • Step 2: Sterilize the jars and lids according to your boiling-water canner instructions. Leave them submerged in the hot water until they're ready to be filled.
  • Step 3: Prepare the fruit. Different fruits require different kinds of preparation for canning, so consult The National Center for Home Food Preservation web site for specifics.
  • Step 4: Fill the jars with fruit, leaving a quarter-inch at the top. Eliminate air bubbles by poking through the contents with a chopstick or wooden skewer. Wipe the rims clean with a damp cloth.
  • Step 5: Place the lids onto the jars' rim and twist on the screw bands until tight.
  • Step 6: Put the jars into the canner, taking care to keep them upright. Add enough water to cover them by an inch or two, and bring to a boil. Boiling times will depend on what you're canning. When they're done, turn off the heat and remove the canner lid. Wait five minutes.
  • TIP: If the water level hits the top of the jars during boiling, add more boiling water.
  • Step 7: Remove jars carefully with a jar lifter or stainless-steel tongs, so the contents don't shift, and let them cool on a towel for 24 hours. Don't attempt to retighten the jars. When cool, make sure they're correctly sealed by looking for a slight indentation in the lid. Refrigerate any that are not sealed properly and eat within two weeks.
  • : Look for signs of spoilage, which include a bulging lid, leakage, a hissing sound when the lid is opened, mold, bubbles, a bad smell, or fruit that looks discolored, slimy, or mushy. If you see any of these signs, toss it.
  • Step 8: Enjoy the fruits of your labor all winter ¬– literally! When properly sealed, canned fruit will last in a cool, dark place up to a year.
  • FACT: In the summer of 1917, President Woodrow Wilson urged women to can more fruits and vegetables to help the war effort.

You Will Need

  • Canning jars
  • lids
  • and screw bands
  • A boiling-water canner
  • Fruit
  • A chopstick or wooden skewer
  • A clean
  • damp cloth
  • A jar lifter or stainless-steel tongs
  • Extra boiling water
  • A towel

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