You CAN Learn To Can

Canning collage

This weekend, Dale and I taught ourselves to can!  YAY! I have been dreading this moment for 2 summers now, and we just finally buckled down and figured it out.    I was so thankful he was willing to help!  Many hands does make light work!

  We were complete novices, so this book helped a lot:

Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving

  You know, it wasn’t nearly as awful as I thought it would be.  And, there is NOTHING more satisfying then the popping noise the can lid makes when it seals tight!

  Tips for first time canners: 

~ I was very glad I had purchased a large Canning Pot last summer, mine would’ve been too small to fit all those cans in for their water bath.Jumbo Water Bath Canner

~ Just run your jars through the dishwasher and pull them out as you need them, they stay sterilized and hot just like they need to. I can’t imagine having one more pot on my stove for warming jars, it was FULL already!

~ Put your lids, without the rings, into a saucepan and keep warm until you use them for proper sealing.

~ DO NOT forget to poke a bamboo skewer down the sides of your filled jar to get out the air bubbles.  We forgot several times and are fortunate that the jars sealed anyhow.

~ Carefully wipe down lip and top of jar with a warm dishcloth before placing lid so it creates a proper seal.

~ Have a big towel spread on your counter for the jars to cool and seal on.  Be prepared to not move them for 24 hours, as some recipes dictate.

~  The Canning jar basket or rack as well as some Canning Tongswould’ve been a good purchase for me. It was a trick to get those heavy jars out of the boiling water. I will be purchasing one of the two before next time.

Canning Rack, Stainless Steel BasketJar Lifter

~ Also, I should’ve purchased a Wide-Mouth Funnelto easily fill the jars mess free. This is also on my “to purchase” list.

Canning Funnel

First, we made a half batch of Cowboy Candy:

Cowboy Candy

from Tasty Kitchen



  • 3 pounds Firm, Fresh Jalapeno Peppers, Washed
  • 2 cups Cider Vinegar
  • 6 cups White Granulated Sugar
  • ½ teaspoons Turmeric
  • ½ teaspoons Celery Seed
  • 3 teaspoons Granulated Garlic
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Cayenne Pepper

Wearing gloves, remove the stems from all of the jalapeno peppers. The easiest way to do this is to slice a small disc off of the stem-end along with the stem. Discard the stems.

Slice the peppers into uniform 1/8-1/4 inch rounds. Set aside.

In a large pot, bring cider vinegar, white sugar, turmeric, celery seed, granulated garlic and cayenne pepper to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the pepper slices and simmer for exactly 4 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the peppers, loading into clean, sterile canning jars to within 1/4 inch of the upper rim of the jar. Turn heat up under the pot with the syrup and bring to a full rolling boil. Boil hard for 6 minutes.

Use a ladle to pour the boiling syrup into the jars over the jalapeno slices. Insert a cooking chopstick to the bottom of the jar two or three times to release any trapped pockets of air. Adjust the level of the syrup if necessary. Wipe the rims of the jars with a clean, damp paper towel and fix on new, two-piece lids to finger-tip tightness.

If you do not want to can these to the point of shelf stable, you can simply put the jars in your refrigerator and store them there. I prefer to keep the fridge space free so I can them. If you wish to can them, follow the instructions below.

Note: If you have leftover syrup, and it is likely that you will, you may can it in half-pint or pint jars, too. It’s wonderful brushed on meat on the grill or added to potato salad or, or, or … in short, don’t toss it out!

To can, place jars in a canner and cover with water by 2-inches. Bring the water to a full rolling boil. When it reaches a full rolling boil, set the timer for 10 minutes for half-pints or 15 minutes for pints. When timer goes off, use canning tongs to transfer the jars to a cooling rack. Leave them to cool, undisturbed, for 24 hours. When fully cooled, wipe them with a clean, damp dishcloth, then label.

Allow to mellow for at least two weeks, but preferably a month before eating. Or don’t. I won’t tell!

A half a batch made 12- 4 ounce jars.


  While we were at it, we did a full batch of these Pickled Jalapeno Peppers because Dale loves adding them to nachos and chili in the winter time.

Pickled Jalapeno Peppers



  • 2 quarts jalapeno peppers
  • 2 cups white wine vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon pickling salt, or kosher salt
  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled


  1. Slice peppers or leave them whole. (To prevent bursting, cut two small slits in whole peppers.).
  2. Pack peppers tightly into clean, hot, half pint jars.
  3. Combine vinegar and water; heat to a simmer.
  4. Do not boil.
  5. Pour hot vinegar over peppers, leaving 1/2 inch head space.
  6. Add 1/2 tsp. pickling salt and a clove of garlic to each jar then seal.
  7. We were able to fill 8 jars with this recipe.
  8. Process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes.  Water should cover jars by 2 inches.
  9. Cool on towel and wait for the POP, that is my favorite part!
  10. Store for several weeks before opening.  

  Next up, I want to try to make some jalapeno jelly! I LOOOOVE it poured over softened cream cheese.


  You can CAN!  I know it!




14 thoughts on “You CAN Learn To Can

  1. YEAH! I am so glad that you are learning how to can! It is such a GREAT feeling to hear your jars POP!
    Yes,the tongs to pull the jars out is a MUST! 🙂 It saves from burning yourself in hot water.
    Also,try and store your jars in a cool place. Not somewhere that might get a bit warm. The jars will unseal. I have heated floors and no basement so I have to store my jars at my inlaws in there basement. Just a heads up! Don’t want all your hard work to be for nothing!:)
    Hope you are having a GREAT day!

  2. I used to can a lot when I was young like you… is fun. I have a great chili sauce recipe that was my moms…..I should see if I can find it, we used it for goulash instead of tomato sauce. Does Pax love having you all to himself for awhile each day or does he miss the big kids?

  3. Looks very yummy and no doubt, your family will woof all those treats down quickly. I remember canning with my mom as a kid…and the joy of hearing those cans pop! Thanks for sharing your first time experience with us….you continue to inspire! =)

  4. Great post, Tonya 🙂 It was my first time canning this year, too. Isn’t it fun?? And yes, the popping sound of the sealed jars is the most beautiful sound in the world!!! *hehehe* I canned peaches & pears for the winter months (I took a taste & they are DELICIOUS and so much better than store bought!). I got this canning supplies set off of Amazon; it’s a great price & worked great!

  5. Way to go !!!
    I love canning and have been for years it really is a nice treat to have some home canned foods during those cold winter months!

  6. I canned for years…veggies and fruits. Your next step is a pressure canner so you can have veggie soup mix, or green beans. The folks out here ( I am working in western Kansas today) can a lot. The most interesting thing is BEEF. The local packing plant sells the ends of cuts. They trim them, add water, seasoning, then process. This is perfectly safe! Evidently the canned meat is yummy in beef and noodles, beef enchiladas in the winter. And already cooked! I haven’t tried that yet, but it sounds intriguing.

    You could also try all sorts of jellies and jams in you water bath canner! That is realatively easy.

  7. Pingback: You CAN Learn To Can « debsthoughtstoday

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  9. I have a question. On the pickled jalapenos I didn’t quite understand the directions. Do you add a 1/2 teaspoon pickling salt to each jar or 1/8 to each jar? I wasn’t sure since on the garlic you split it up between the jars and added 1 clove to each jar. I have wanted to try canning forever but always chickened out thinking it was harder than you make it sound. Following your directions I think I can do this. Thank you.

  10. Pingback: Canning Adventure: Bone Broth | 4 little Fergusons

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