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Step-By-Step Canning (Applesauce)

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I have been canning for about nine years now. I am by no means an expert. But I usually manage to stock our pantry with plenty of good stuff to last the winter.
Recently I’ve had a lot of people asking me about canning. Although it may sound hard, it is actually quite simple. Making the food to can is the hard part. The canning is the easy part.
But I know when I was just learning it was a very daunting task. And it does take a little practice to feel comfortable doing it. So for any beginner canner or simply someone that needs a refresher, here is a step-by step guide to canning.
This is how I can. I’m sure other people have their own methods/steps for things. But this has always worked for me. I think in my nine years of canning I’ve only ever had one or two jars that didn’t seal. Not too bad.
This tutorial is for water bath canning. Only certain foods can be canned with this method. Some foods require a pressure canner. I’ve only ever done that twice. And it still scares me. But maybe some day I’ll get better at it and post a tutorial on that as well. Canning season just ended for me. So it won’t be this year.

Read through the steps, get all of your supplies, take it slowly…and enjoy the canning process. And enjoy all of your home canned goods that will fill your shelves.
Step 1. Prepare the food you want to can. It should be warm when you are ready to can. So reheat the food if you prepared it in advance.

Step 2. Fill the canner with water about 2/3 full.

Step 3. Place the canner on the stove and the rack in the canner. Put clean jars in the rack. The jars should be submerged in the water/have water inside them.

Step 4. Put the lid on the canner and turn on the heat. The jars will need to sit in hot water for at least 5 minutes before they are ready to use.

Step 5. Place the lids in a small pan with water. They should be submerged. About 10 minutes before the jars are ready heat the pan until you can see tiny bubbles. You don’t want to boil the lids. Just get them warm enough so the glue is ready to stick to the jars.

Step 6. Make sure your food is ready and warm.

Step 7. Remove the lid from the canner. You can see there are little bubbles all around the jars. This tells you the jars are hot enough.

Step 8. Lift the rack from the canner so you can access the jars.

Step 9. Using tongs or a jar lifter carefully remove the jars from the hot water, emptying the water from the jars back into the canner. Wipe the outsides of the jars and set them on a counter to be filled. The canner should still be on the stove with the heat on.

Step 10. Use a canning funnel and fill the hot jars with the prepared food. Most recipes suggest to fill the jars with one inch of space left. But check the recipe to be sure. I leave a little extra room when doing applesauce so it doesn’t overflow in the canner.

Step 11. Wipe the rims of the jars with a clean towel.

Step 12. Remove the lids from the small pan of water. Wipe them dry with a clean towel. Place a lid on each jar. Tighten a ring around each lid.

Step 13. Place the filled and capped jars back in the canner rack.

Step 14. Move the rack to the bottom of the canner/submerge the jars. The tops of the jars should be under the water. If they are not add extra water to the canner.

Step 15. Put the lid on the canner. When the water returns to a boil set a timer for the time specified in the recipe.

Step 16. When the time is up turn off the heat and remove the lid from the canner. Set the timer for 5 minutes.

Step 17. When the 5 minutes is over pull the rack up. Carefully remove the jars from the canner and place them on a clean towel on the counter.

Step 18. Allow the jars to set, undisturbed for at least 8 hours. Often you will hear the lids popping shortly after taking the jars out of the canner. This is a good indicator that the jars have sealed. But if you don’t hear the pop it does not mean they didn’t seal.

Step 19. When the jars are completely cool remove the bands. Make sure the lids are sealed. Label the jars and put in storage.

Step 20. Enjoy your pantry fulled of home canned goods all winter long!

Are you ready to try canning? Here are some recipes I’ve made:

Spaghetti Sauce
Chili Sauce
Vegetable Soup Stock
Apple Butter
Blueberry Syrup
Cherry Jam
Dill Pickles


  1. Beth Ann says:

    I have been told it can lead to a false seal if the bands are left on – if it didn’t seal in the initial canning the lid can pop up even briefly and then reseal itself but the “bad germs” have gotten the chance to get in. Also, the bands can rust if they get left on the jars after canning.

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