Assorted shapes and sizes of Ball® Jars on a kitchen counter

Yes, You Can: Canning 101

There’s a reason you’re here…

Maybe the pickle spear on the side of your burger plate brought back thoughts of your Grandmother’s pickled cucumbers. On the other hand, maybe it was how the breakfast spread at the corner diner tasted a lot like your Aunt’s homemade version. You want those feelings (and tastes) back. Canning with Ball® jars can help you turn those thoughts into realities.

Three Ball® jars holding canned peaches on a counter

Just one step beyond cooking, canning involves processing food in closed glass Ball® canning jars at high temperatures. The heat interrupts natural spoilage by destroying food contaminants and, at the same time, removes air from the jars. As the jars cool, a vacuum seal forms – to prevent recontamination.

Getting Started: Explaining the Canning Methods

There are two home canning methods: water bath canning and pressure canning. Understanding the components and difference between the two processes will help you choose the method best for the foods you want to preserve.

A woman in her kitchen pouring jam into a Ball® jar using a ladle and a jar funnel.

Water Bath Canning

A lower temperature canning process, water bath canning is ideal for high acid foods and recipes that incorporate the correct measure of acid. The combination of time and temperature destroys mold, yeast and enzymes that cause spoilage while creating a vacuum seal. This process is recommended for produce and recipes including:

  • Fruits and fruit juices
  • Jams and jellies
  • Salsa
  • Tomatoes
  • Pickles and relishes
  • Chutneys, sauces, pie fillings
  • Vinegars
  • Condiments
A Ball® jar holding canned green beans on  picnic table.

Pressure Canning

Pressure canning is the only processing method that reaches the high temperature (240°F) needed to safely preserve low acid foods. It is the combination of time and temperature that will destroy foodborne bacteria and create a vacuum seal necessary to prevent spoilage. This process is required to preserve foods and recipes like:

  • Meats
  • Poultry
  • Salsa
  • Vegetables
  • Chili
  • Seafood

What next? Now that you have a better idea about techniques, it’s time to get canning! Check out step-by-step guides to water bath canning and pressure canning or visit our collection of recipes for ideas. Remember, some of our best memories are preserved in tradition – and in Ball® jars!