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Home Canning for Beginners

Quick Links:
Quick Tips for Beginners | Steps to Waterbath Canning | Steps to Pressure Canning | Canning Recipes

Welcome to Home Canning for KINDLE_CAMERA_1430831990000_picmonkeyedbeginners! At Mecklenburg Cooperative ExtensionService, we frequently receive questions about home food preservation. From canning to dehydrating, we want to help you find research-based answers and solutions to your questions. Below you will find quick tips, resources and recipes to help you can food safely. Canning is only one method of home food preservation. Other forms include dehydrating, freezing, fermenting and curing. While this page focuses on canning, we will share additional resources to guide you through other forms of preserving.

If you have specific questions, beyond the information listed below, please contact Kristin Davis, Family & Consumer Sciences Extension Agent, at

Quick Facts for Beginners- What you NEED to know about canning:

  1. Why can? The process of canning and cooking are not the same process. Canning preserves food by stop[ing spoilage and controlling the following:

    – growth of undesirable microorganisms-bacteria, molds, and yeasts, the activity of
    food enzymes, reactions with oxygen, moisture loss.

  2. Reputable Recipes: When canning, it is important to use reputable and tested recipes. Recommended sources included:
  3. Pressure Canning: The pressure canning process must be used to can all
    low acid food (pH greater than 4.6) which includes vegetables, meats, poultry, seafood, soups and other mixtures of both acid and low acid ingredients. An example of such a mixture would be spaghetti sauce with tomatoes, meat and vegetables.
  4. Waterbath Canning: The water bath process is used to can all high acidfoods (pH less than or equal to 4.6) which includes most all fruits. However, tomatoes,safety   of the recommended process. This process is used to can pickles, relishes, fruit spreads and salsa with acid added.
  5.  Clostridium Botulinum/ Botulism Poisoning: The bacterium Clostridium Botulinum is destroyed in low-acid foods when they are processed at the correct time and pressure in pressure canners. Using boiling water canners for these foods poses a real risk of botulism poisoning. If Clostridium botulinum bacteria survive and grow inside a sealed jar of food, they can pro­duce a poisonous toxin. Even a taste of food containing this toxin can be fatal.
  6. Equipment: Proper equipment is essential to preserving a safe product. When canning the following are brief recommendations:
    – Always use canning jars and lids when perserving canned products. Reusing
    glass commercial product jars such as used spaghetti sauce, jelly or pickle jars
    are not recommended. Such jars can burst under pressure, as they are not
    designed for home canning.
    – Use a dial gauge or weighted gauge canner for pressure canning low acid foods.
    – Use a waterbath canner for canning high acid foods.

Steps to Waterbath Canning

Step by Step Instructions for Waterbath Canning: Click here

Steps to Pressure Canning

Step-by-Step Instructions for Pressure Canning: Click here

making Saurkraut:

Canning Recipes

Click the links below for access to reputable canning recipes

Fruit Products  |  Jams, Jellies and Fruit Spreads  |  Pickles  |  Vegetables
Poultry, Meats and Seafood  | Tomatoes and Salsas