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. 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.

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.


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
  • Salsas
  • Tomatoes
  • Pickles and relishes
  • Chutneys, sauces, pie fillings
  • Vinegars
  • Condiments


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 food-borne bacteria and create a vacuum seal necessary to prevent spoilage. This process is required to preserve foods and recipes like:

  • Meats
  • Poultry
  • Salsas
  • Vegetables
  • Chili
  • Seafood

What's 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!