Pickles, Pickles, Pickles

This weekend I added to my preserved collection by making pickles. This was my first time making pickles and it ended up being a lot of fun! I found a recipe through a friend that she swore by and decided to use it. It called for fresh dill, garlic, pickling cucumbers, water, pickling salt and vinegar, couldn't have been simpler. I bought the large canning jars to make sure I could fit in as many cucumbers as possible. Then I bought my pickling cucumbers at the downtown farmers' market. There really isn't much to making pickles; you need your ingredients, to scrub and soak the cucumbers in cold water over night, to sanitize your jars and then you basically add the ingredients together and into a jar. I did have a few problems with some of my jars not sealing so I had to re-heat the liquid and add it back into the jar but I think I just wasn't carful enough and let some of the liquid drop onto the rim of the jar. You need to be very carful when sealing I learned, it doesn't take much to stop a jar from sealing. All in all, I made 12 jars of pickles which should be ready in about 4-6 weeks and I can't wait to taste the fruits of my labour!

More map locations

Hello everyone,

If you are still looking for a copy of the map, here's a list of places maps have just been delivered:

The Keeping Room, Dundas;

Picone's, Dundas;

Horn of Plenty, Dundas;

Mickey McGuires Cheese Shop, Dundas;

My Dog Joe, Westdale;

African Lion Safari;

Royal Botanical Gardens;

Wesley Early Years Centre;

Lindley's Farm & Market, Ancaster;

Fletcher Fruit Farm, Ottawa Street Farmers' Market;

Shearlea Acres, Ottawa Street Farmers' Market

Preserving my Peas and Strawberries

This year I have decided to preserve a bit of food as my own little experiment. My plan is to freeze peas, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and can pickles. On the weekend I went to Lindley’s farm to pick my strawberries. I picked two baskets then cleaned them, hulled them, and put them into my Ziploc bags and into my freezer. I ended up with 6 large bags of strawberries in my freezer! I’m hoping that will last for the winter. For peas, I bought a large basket at the Ottawa Street farmers market and then hulled them, blanched them for 90 seconds and then put them in a Ziploc bag and into my freezer. I think I will do one more bag of peas this week. Freezing the berries and peas was very easy. It did not take much effort or skill at all. The strawberries took a long time to clean and hull I will admit but it’s definitely worth it. I’m really looking forward to having some fresh peas and strawberries as a treat this winter, how about you? Next up for me is picking raspberries and blueberries once they come in season.

At Tigchelaar Berry Farm, it’s all in the family

Jeff Tigchelaar, one of the farmers at Tigchelaar Berry Farm said his farm’s appeal is simple, “People love to see a family farm in action.” Started in the late 1960s by Jeff’s parents, the farm was one of the first in the region to offer pick your own fruit to local consumers. The farm is now run by Jeff, his brother and both of their families. As Jeff puts it, he is “a second generation farmer from a family of five kids running the farm with my own five kids.” The pick-your-own is as popular as ever and Jeff and his family also sell pre-picked and custom order berries. Strawberries aren’t the end of the line for the Tigchelaar family - they find a way to keep busy from June to November with peas, tomatoes, assorted peppers (including hot chillis), pickling cucumbers, romano beans, eggplant, apples, pears and more. With a great crew and a friendly atmosphere, picking strawberries at the Tigchelaar Berry Farm is a great way to spend the afternoon. Melissa Tigchelaar explained that what she loves about the farm is that she gets to work with the entire family, side by side, all year long. She loves having her family around and the satisfaction of growing great food their customers appreciate makes the hard work
worthwhile. When asked about the challenges facing Ontario Farm families today, Melissa acknowledged that it can be very difficult to compete with imports from California or China. The rising price of fuel and, consequently, other resources paired with unpredictable weather only makes farming harder. She remains optimistic, however, and is certain that the imports are unable to compete with the quality of locally produced food like theirs. And so, the Tigchelaar family will continue producing delicious fruit and quality vegetables for another season. To pay
them a visit, swing by the farm at 1280 Henderschot Road, Hannon. 905 692 4556.

Eat Well

Summer is the perfect time of year to boost your intake of vegetables and fruit. Eating the recommended 7 to 10 servings a day will protect you from a long list of diseases including cancer, heart disease and stroke. Here are six simple ways to include more vegetables and fruit every day!
1 - Add fresh berries to your morning bowl of cereal or yogurt.
2 - Dress up your sandwich with raw or cooked vegetables such as lettuce, cucumbers, green onions, radishes or grilled zucchini.
3 - Serve assorted low-fat dips to add pizzazz to raw vegetables and fruit.
4 - Stir diced fresh fruit or grated vegetables into muffin, quick bread or cookie batter.
5 - Make extra cooked vegetables for dinner so you can enjoy them in lunchtime salads or sandwiches.
6 - Add chopped broccoli, spinach or Swiss chard to your favourite tomato-based pasta sauce. Submitted by Vicki Edwards, Registered Dietitian with Hamilton Public Health Services

Chilled Strawberry Soup

  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves

Combine in a saucepan and bring to boil over medium heat. Remove from heat; cool.

  • 3 cup strawberries, washed and cut
  • 1/4 up water

Puree until smooth in blender. Pour into large bowl.

  • 2 cups plain yogurt
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Add to pureed strawberries with apple juice mixture. Cover and refigerate until well chilled. Garnish with additional strawberry halves. This soup freezes well.

Strawberries signal the arrival of summer!

Strawberry season is finally here and after a slow start to the season, it’s definitely been worth the wait. Originally named "strewberries" because of their appearance of being strewn amongst the plant leaves, strawberries got their final name after farmers began bringing the berries to market on a bed of straw. Hamiltonians are lucky to be surrounded by plenty of strawberry farms offering pick-your-own and pre-picked fruit. Visiting a pick-your-own farm on a sunny summer morning with friends and family is a great way to get outside, have some fun and learn about food and farming. Don’t worry, you’ll be suprised at how quickly you can fill a basket. Picking your own strawberries will guar-antee that you have the freshest, best tasting strawberries available anywhere. Here are some tips to ensure you find the freshest, tastiest, best looking strawberries in Ontario, provided by the Ontario Berry Growers’ Association:
Look for plump, firm, deep coloured strawberries with bright green caps and no signs of mold or soft spots. Store the fruit in the refrigerator for one or two days, unwashed. Wash and hull the berries just before using them. A 12-oz basket of strawberries provides about 3 1/3 cups of whole strawberries or 2 1/4 cups sliced. Strawberries have higher levels of Vitamin C, fiber, folate and potassium than most other fruits, including bananas, apples and even oranges. Check out the map or our online local food directory to find the strawberry farm closest to you and get picking! (We recommend that you call ahead to check the status of the crop and picking conditions.) www.environmenthamilton.org

"Canned: Trouble in the Fruit Belt"

The Hamilton Spectator has been featuring an in-depth look at the closure of the Can-Gro canning plant and how it's affecting the region's fruit farmers as well as consumers. Follow the story of fruit production and consumption in Ontario by visiting:

Cherries for a Cause

The E.D. Smith Cherry Farm has teamed up with Hamilton Food Share to provide Hamiltonians with fresh, local cherries. Pickers who visit the pick-your-own site can choose to pick an extra pail of cherries that will be delivered to Hamilton Food Share and its clients. The fundraiser began on July 4th and will run for three weeks. Why not pick a pail for Hamilton Food Share?!
You can find the E.D. Smith Cherry Farm at 980 Highway 8 in Winona or call (905) 643-0411.

Still looking for a map?

We've been working hard to distribute maps throughout the city. Here's a list of where we've recently left copies:

Global Village Market, Westdale

Curves, Dundas

Dutch Mill, Flamborough

Bryan Prince Bookstore, Westdale

North Hamilton Community Health Centre

Horn of Plenty, Dundas

Goodness Me!, Locke St.

Terryberry branch, Public Library

If you are unable to find a copy please email me at echandler.eatlocal@gmail.com or call the Environment Hamilton office: (905) 549-0900

Preserve your Food by Drying


What is Drying

Drying food is one of the oldest ways to preserve food. People in warm, dry climates can preserve their food by simply spacing their produce out and letting the air take the moisture out of the food. However for most us of that live in cooler, more humid climates a bit more assistance is needed. Drying food takes the water from the produce. This is an important step because micro-organisms need moisture to survive and to consume or spoil food. Properly dried fruits and vegetables will have 80-90 percent of their water removed. Since drying doesn’t violently heat food, it doesn’t destroy as many of the nutrients that canning or cooking can. Dried foods can be reconstituted by adding water or are often simply eaten dry. Common dried foods we eat are raisins, plums and beef jerky. Dehydration is used to make coffee, tea, packaged soups and most spices. There are many ways to dry foods such as dehydrating, sun drying, smoking, oven drying and air drying.

What Do I Need

To dehydrate food you will need to purchase a dehydrator. They have become inexpensive, easy to find and efficient in recent years. When buying a dehydrator remember to purchase one with sufficient capacity, trays that are lightweight and sturdy and that elaborate controls are not absolutely necessary. To smoke food you will need two thermometers and a commercial smoker. To oven dry food you will need an oven, cooking sheets and possibly cheese cloth, old window/picture frame and cotton sheeting if making your own drying trays. To air dry food you will need cotton thread and needles.

How Do I Dehydrate

The most important step for dehydrating is to ensure that the food is properly prepared (usually by blanching) and that the food is properly spaced. Leave at least 1/8 to 1/4 inch between each item to ensure proper drying. Do not stack food items. For best results, use fruits, vegetables, and meats that are of high quality. Ripe fruits are best but not too ripe or over-ripe. When cutting fruits and vegetables, try to cut uniform in size so that food will dry at a uniform rate. All dehydrators dry at different speeds so check your manual for drying times.

How Do I Smoke

Smoking meats is a great way to preserve food and add flavour. When handling meat always be careful to not spread food-borne illnesses. To prevent the possible tainting of food wash hands and surfaces often, keep different animals separate, cook to proper temperatures to kill germs, then refrigerate promptly after smoking is complete. Be sure to completely thaw out any meat before smoking, as smoking uses low temperatures it, can allow any unthawed meat to produce harmful bacteria. Marinades should be done in the refrigerator as meats at room temperature spoil quickly. Do not re-use marinade. You can make your own smoker but commercial smokers are safer when directions are followed. Generally, smokers comprise of a metal unit within which charcoal or wood chips are slowly burned to produce smoke. The smoke then heats the meat and infuses it with a smoky flavour. To safely smoke meat you should use two thermometers. One used to monitor the air temperature in the smoker where the temperature should stay between 225˚F and 300˚F. The second thermometer is used to determine the temperature of the meat, so be sure to use an oven safe thermometer. There are many factors that determine the time it takes to cook the meat including its shape, size and the distance the meat is from the source of the heat. It can take from 4 to 8 hours to properly smoke meat. In generally poultry breasts are done at 170˚F; whole poultry is done at 180˚F; veal, beef, lamb roasts are done at 145˚F to 170˚F; and pork is done at 160˚F to 170˚F. If applying a sauce, do so at the last half-hour of smoking. Refrigerate meat after smoking and for best results use smoked meat within 4 days or freeze for later use.

How Do I Oven Dry

An inexpensive way to preserve food is by simply using kitchen tools and appliances to oven dry. To do this, you place food on cooking sheets and then place in the oven at 120-145˚F for around 4-12 hours, depending on the food item. Cooking sheets can create uneven drying so for best results larger items can be dried right on the oven racks or on specialty prepared trays. Specialty prepared trays can be made by using old picture or window frames. Make sure you clean the frames before stretching the screen (don’t use galvanized screens as they can leave a strange flavour on the food) then put cotton sheeting or cheesecloth over them. The material can be secured with staples or tacs.

How Do I Air Dry

Air drying is very easy and works well for green beans and leafy spices such as dill or basil. To do this, hang your produce in a dry breezy place such as under the porch or in the garage rafters. String beans or mushrooms can be strung on cotton thread with a needle. Spices can be gathered in bunches and tied together at the stems. Very humid conditions will hinder the drying process and create mold and spoilage. Do not leave produce exposed to night air as morning dew will collect on it. Generally, air drying is complete in two or three days depending on the conditions. Leafy spices will by crackly and dry and green beans will be leathery and most other vegetables will be leathery or brittle. Air drying is not recommended for tomatoes, small vegetables or fruits.

Where Can I Learn More

There are numerous books and websites available to help you dehydrate your food including www.preservefood.com.

Preserve your Food by Vacuum Sealing

Vacuum Sealing:

What is Vacuum Sealing

Vacuum sealing is a fast way to prolong the life and freshness of your food. Vacuum sealing takes away the oxygen that microbes need in order to break down food. A vacuum sealer is a small appliance that sucks the air out of a bag or container and then seals it, then for bags a heated strip melts the plastic sides together. One of the great things about vacuum sealing is that it can be used in conjunction with other forms of preservation such as freezing and drying.

What Do I Need

You will need a vacuum sealer and the required bags that work with your vacuum sealer. Many attachments can also be purchased with a vacuum sealer including jar sealers, lids, canisters, bottle stoppers and bags.

How To Use a Vacuum Sealer

This is a general overview for vacuum sealers, refer to your specific machine for instructions. The bags that go with vac sealers usually come in rolls that are one long continuous bag. Cut the bag 3 inches or so longer than the item to be sealed. Place one end in the sealer and press the button. Run the sealer through the entire cycle. The first part of the cycle will run the vacuum and the second part seals. When the one side of the bag is sealed, fill it with the food to be stored. Place the open end into the sealer. Press the button again. The excess air will be removed and the bag will become flat and rigid. Then the bag will be sealed. When sealing the bag make sure the bag is placed evenly with the sealer so that the seal is continuous and complete.

Vacuum Sealing Liquids

For liquids it is best to freeze them first and then put them in the bag. This will prevent the liquid from being sucked out by the vacuum and it will make it easier to stack.

Vacuum Sealing Powdery Foods

Powdery foods should be put into another plastic bag to prevent powder form being sucked out and from interfering with the sealer.

Vacuum Sealing Sharp Edges

Food with sharp edges should be wrapped in a paper towel to keep them from puncturing the bag.

Vacuum Sealing Vegetables

Vegetables should be blanched (blanch by placing them in boiling water or in the microwave until they are cooked but still crisp. Immerse in cold water to stop the cooking process then dry on a towel). After blanching they may also be tray frozen so that they can be frozen together and then later separated into serving size quantities. Most vacuum sealed bags can be heated in the microwave or boiled to prepare the food for eating. Freeze the bags and vegetables should be good for 2-3 years. Fruits can also be tray frozen.

Vacuum Sealing Meat

You can place meat directly into the bag to vacuum seal. They can also be tray frozen to ensure juices stay. Also, if you don’t want to pre-freeze then you can vacuum seal with meat with a paper towel (to absorb extra juices). Store vacuum sealed meats in the freezer and most meats will be good for 2-3 years.

Vacuum Sealing Prepared Dishes and Baked Goods

Prepared dishes and baked goods should be pre-frozen and may be kept for over a year.

Where Can I Learn More

There are numerous books and websites available to help you vacuum seal your goods including www.preservefood.com.

Preserve your Food by Freezing


What is Freezing

Freezing is one of the best ways to preserve the freshness of your food as fresh frozen foods taste almost as good as if they were picked from the garden that day. Freezing stops most biological and chemical processes that slowly break down food once it’s picked. Nearly any food from vegetable to meats to prepared soups and stews can be frozen. Some foods need special preparation before freezing such as cooking or blanching. As well, some foods should not be frozen such as lettuce and potatoes.

What Do I Need

Most people freeze their food in plastic “Ziploc bags”. You can also vacuum seal your food and then freeze it for extra long life and freshness (refer to Vacuum Sealing section to follow). Remember to label and date your packages. If blanching or cooking food before freezing then the appropriate cookware will be needed. Ascorbic acid and/or sugar can be used for some fruits if desired.

Foods that Should Not be Frozen

There are many foods that you don’t want to freeze such as eggs in the shell, salad greens, creamed cottage cheese, sour cream, heavy or whipping cream, stuffed poultry, potatoes, fluffy frosting, custard, cream filling in layer cakes and pies, fried foods and mayonnaise salads.

Freezing Fruit




Rinse and pit. May be cut in half or left whole. May peel or blanch by dipping in boiling water for 30 seconds. May sweeten with 1/2 cup sugar per quart.


Rinse berries and drain well. Spread berries on tray and freeze until solid. Then pour into plastic freezer bag or a freezing container. May also pack in sugar (1/4 to 1/2 cup per quart).


Rinse, de-stem and pit. If sweetening is desired use 2/3 cups sugar. May use 1/2 teaspoon ascorbic acid per quart. May also tray-freeze, then put into bags (see berries).


Rinse ripe fruit. Be sure to remove stems and then pack in freezer bags.


De-stem, wash and place in freezer bags or containers.


Rinse and peel. Cut fruit into pieces. Be sure to avoid the flesh near the pit. Mix slices with 1/4 teaspoon of ascorbic acid and 1/2 cup sugar. Make sure sugar dissolves. Pack in freezer bags or containers.


Cut the melons in half and remove seeds. Cut again into quarters and eighths, then peel and cut into cubes. Pack in freezer bags or containers.


Peel peaches by dipping in boiling water for 1 minute, then placing under cold water. The skins should slip off easily. May leave on the skins of nectarines. May mix with 1/4 teaspoon ascorbic acid and 1/2 cup sugar per quart.


Peel, halve and core. Heat in boiling sweetened water (syrup) for about 1 1/2 minutes. Stir in 3/4 cup ascorbic acid to each quart of syrup.


Peel and remove eyes and cores. Cut into wedges, slices, etc. Dry-pack in freezer bags or containers.


Rinse and dry. May slice or pit. Dry-pack or sugar-pack with 1/2 cup sugar per quart.


Rinse and remove leaves (leaves are poisonous). Cut stems in 1/2 to 1 inch pieces. Dry pack or add sugar (up to 1 cup sugar per quart).

Freezing Vegetables




Cut off tough ends, if any. Blanch for 2-4 minutes.

Green Beans

Snap off ends and cut beans into two-inch lengths. Blanch for 3 minutes.


Beets must be frozen fully cooked. Generally, use smaller beets or cut them up. Cook 30-45 minutes.


Trim ends and rinse. Cut into small pieces (about 2 inches, heads no more than 1 1/2 inches across. Blanch for three minutes.


Peel and cut to desired size, but generally no bigger than three or four inches in length. Blanch 2 to 5 minutes depending on size.


For corn on the cob, cook 7 - 11 minutes. For whole-kernel place whole cob in boiling water for 4 minutes, cut off corn with knife. Additionally scrape out pulp for cream-style corn.


Trim dried stem ends. Slice to desired size. Sauté mushrooms. Let cool, then pack fully cooked.


Peel and chop. No cooking or blanching is necessary.


Shell and blanch for 1.5 minutes then freeze on a tray. When peas are frozen collect in bags.


Cut squash into 1/2 inch thick slices and blanch for 3 minutes.


Scald in boiling water to loosen skin. Peel and cut off stems. Cut to desired size and heat through. Cool, then pack.

Freezing Meat

Freshly slaughtered meat should be chilled for about 24 hours before it is frozen. Beef may be aged (chilled between 33-40 degrees F) for up to seven days. Meat should be used after it has been initially thawed. Meat should be wrapped in freezer paper, foil or plastic wrap. Frozen ground meat should be used within 3 months. Pork has a short holding time of 6 to 9 months. Beef, lamb, veal and venison lasts 8 to 12 months. Poultry and other birds last about 12 months. It is also recommended that you thaw frozen meats and poultry in the refrigerator, not at room temperature to prevent spoilage.

Where Can I Learn More

There are numerous books and websites available to help you freeze your meat and produce including www.preservefood.com.

Preserve your Food by Canning

What Is Canning

Canning is a very popular, traditional method of preserving food, particularly garden produce. Scientists have learned that micro-organisms that spoil food and so the heat used in the canning process kills the micro-organisms. Improperly canned food can result in botulism and so the following “Canning Safety” section should be read before you start canning. Canning fresh produce will allow you to preserve important vitamins found in your produce. As well, it will allow you to prepare your food to your taste and health requirements which is particularly good for those that have a low salt diet or other dietary restrictions. Canned goods can last for several years though they’re best if eaten within one year since over time, canned goods do lose some of their nutritional value and crispness.

What Do I Need

Canning is a fairly simple procedure that requires a couple of inexpensive pieces of caning equipment, an extensive procedure and a few hours of time. The equipment needed depends upon the produce you are canning, refer to the “Canning Safety” section. A pressure canner is best for low acid foods, as this piece of equipment will have a pressure relief valve to ensure that the pot doesn’t explode under pressure. As well, it has a gauge to help control heat and pressure. A boiling water canner (or large deep pot with tight fitting lid) can be used for high acid foods. You will also need jars and lids which come in a variety of sizes and styles. Other pieces of equipment that are not necessary but help out with the process are: a blancher which is a basket that fits inside a large pot used to lower the food into the boiling water; a colander which is a strainer; a jar funnel which helps to pour food into the jars; a jar lifter which will make it easier and safer to remove jars from hot water; a long-handled slotted spoon; and a ladle. You will need a recipe for whichever produce you plan on canning.

Canning Safety

Canning food improperly can result in the growth of micro-organisms or botulism. Eating such foods can cause serious illness and possibly death. Therefore you must ensure cleanliness and follow canning procedures strictly. Molds, viruses, bacteria and botulism that may grow in canned foods can be easily controlled by properly heating the jars and food within them as well as properly sealing the jars.
High acid foods can be canned under less restrictive conditions using a boiling water canner (or a large deep pot with a tight-fitting lid) as botulism prefers a low acid environment. These foods have a pH of 4.5 or less and include: apples, berries, jams, jellies, apricots, pears, peaches (fruit, fruit spreads and fruit juices), tomatoes, pickles, relishes, chutneys, vinegars, condiments, sauerkraut and more.
Low acid, high pH fruits and vegetables require a special device called a pressure canner. The pressure canner can also be used for canning the high acid foods. Low acid foods include: beans, asparagus, carrots, beets, corn, peas, mushrooms, squash, spinach, pumpkin, potatoes, soups, stews, seafood, vegetable mixtures and most meat.
It’s pretty easy to tell when a canning job has gone bad as there are numerous signs. One sign that food is no good is when the lid of the jar pops up (or bulges) and if there’s seeping around the seal. Another sign is when there is mold growing on the food. Also, abnormal colours in the brine of the food, cloudiness in the brine and a white coloured film on the surface of the food are all signs of contamination.
Never eat contaminated food as it will cause harm. Reheating the food and/or boiling it will not make the contaminated food safe to eat. Traditional methods such as open kettle canning, paraffin wax sealing, oven and microwave canning are not recommended.
Finally, it is best to store canned foods at a relatively low temperature. This will help prevent any activity by micro-organisms that may have survived the eating process. Keep your cans in a cool, dark place to help preserve vitamins and taste as well.

How Do I Do It

-High Acid Food

All High Acid Foods must be "heat processed" in a boiling water canner (or large deep pot with tight fitting lid). Use the best, top quality ingredients including produce at its peak of ripeness. As well, use only current, tested home canning recipes as older recipes may not incorporate our current knowledge of food safety.

1. Before you being, review your recipe and make sure you have all of your equipment and ingredients easily accessible.

2. Visually inspect all jars and lids for cracks, nicks, uneven rims, sharp edges or improperly fitting lids taht amy prevent sealing or cause breakage. Ensure SNAP Lids are scratch-free. Wash all jars and lids in hot, soapy water and rinse well.

3. Place the number of jars that will fit into the boiling water canner on a rack and place into the canner, cover with water and heat water to a simmer (180 degrees F/82 degrees C). Keep jars hot until ready to use.
4. Prepare your food as the recipe directs.

5. Set screw bands aside, heat SNAP Lids in hot NOT boiling water (180 degrees F/82 degrees C). Keep SNAP Lids hot until ready to use.

6. Ladle the prepared food into a hot jar leaving proper "heating space". This is the space at the top of the jar between the top of the food/liquid and the underside of the SNAP Lid. Under-filling or over-filling may result in the seal failing. Heat space is determined by the type of food.

  • Jam, jelly, 1/4 inch (0.5cm)
  • Fruit 1/2 inch (1cm)
  • Pickles, tomatoes 1/2 inch (1cm)
  • Relish, chutney, salsa 1/2 inch (1cm)

7. Remove air bubbles by sliding a non-metallic utensil such as a rubber spatula between jar and food. After this re-adjust heating space if need be.

8. Wipe jar to remove any stickiness. Centre SNAP Lid on jar.

9. Apply screw bands evenly and firmly until resistance is met (fingertip tight). Over tightening will prevent venting (air escaping during heating process) and can cause the seal to fail. The steam formed inside the jar during the heating process must be exhausted to allow for a strong seal to form.

10. Place jar onto elevated rack in boiling water canner. Repeat jar filing/closing steps #6-9. When all jars are filled or canner is full, lower rack into water and place lid on canner. Make sure water covers jar by at least 1inch (2.5cm), add boiling water if needed.

11. Once the water returns to a full rolling boil, begin counting "heat processing time" which is indicated in your recipe. When time has elapsed, turn off heat and remove canner lid. Allow boil to subside then lift jars without tilting and place them upright on a towel to cool. DO NOT re-tighten screw bands. Cool jars undisturbed for 24 hours.

12. After jars have cooled, check jar seals by pressing on centre on each lid. If the lid centre is pulled down and does not move, remove the screw band and lift the jar by the lid. Lids that do not flex and cannot be easily lifted off the jars have a good seal. Refigerate or reprocess any unsealed jars.

13.Wipe jars with a damp cloth. Label and store jars in a cool, dark place. For best quality result use home canned foods within one year.

-Low Acid Foods

All Low Acid Foods must be heat processed in a pressure canner. Use the best, top quality ingredients including produce at its peak of ripeness. As well, use only current, tested home canning recipes as older recipes may not incorporate our current knowledge of food safety.

1. Review the recipe and assemble all ingredients and equipment. Visually inspect all jars and lids for cracks, nicks, uneven rims, sharp edges or improperly fitting lids taht amy prevent sealing or cause breakage. Ensure SNAP Lids are scratch-free. Wash all jars and lids in hot, soapy water and rinse well.

2. Inspect pressure canner. Check the lid and gasket to ensure an airtight seal can be achieved. Have dial gauge checked regularly.

3. Place rack in pressure canner and add 2 to 3 inches (5 to 8 cm) of water. Place jars in canner, heat water to a gentle boil. Keep jars in canner until ready to fill.

4. Prepare food according to recipe.

5. Set screw bands aside. Heat SNAP Lids in hot water, NOT boiling *180 degrees F/82 degrees C). Keep SNAP Lids hot until ready to use.

6. Place food into a hot jar leaving 1-1/4 inch (3cm) of heating space. his is the space at the top of the jar between the top of the food/liquid and the underside of the SNAP Lid. Under-filling or over-filling may result in the seal failing. Heat space is determined by the type of food. Heat space is determined by the type of food.

7. Remove air bubbles by sliding a non-metallic utensil such as a rubber spatula between jar and food. After this re-adjust head space if required.

8. Wipe jar removing any stickiness. Centre SNAP Lid on jar.

9. Apply screw bands until fingertip tight. Fingertip tight is as snug as the band can be applied with your fingers. Fingertip tight allows some 'give' between the SNAP Lid and jar to allow rising stream to escape during the heat processing. The "rising steam" is created inside the jar during heat processing and must be exhausted to allow the formation of a strong airtight seal.

10. Place jar on rack in canner. Repeat jar filling/closing steps #6-9. When all jars are filled or canner is full, check that the water level in the canner is about 3 inches (8cm) or that recommended in manufacturer's manual.

11. Lock canner lid in place, leaving vent open. Place canner over high heat. Allow steam to escape steadily for 10 minutes (venting canner). Close the vent, using the weight or method described for your canner. Gradually reduce the heat to achieve and maintain the recommended pressure. Regulate heat only with gradual changes to heat level.

12. At altitudes up to 1,000 ft (305m) HEAT PROCESS at 10b (68kPa) pressure in a weighted gauge canner or 11 lb (75kPa) pressure in a dial gauge canner for the specified time for food and jar size. (At altitudes higher than 1,000 ft (305m) increase lb (kPa) pressure to that recommended for your elevation.

13. When processing time is complete, remove canner from heat. Let canner stand undisturbed until pressure drops to zero.

14. When dial gauge reaches zero or when no steam escapes when weighted gauge canner's weight is budged, wait 2 minutes then remove cover, tilting it away from yourself.

15. Lift jars without tilting from canner and place them upright on a towel to cool in a draft-free place. DO NOT RE-TIGHTEN screw bands.

16. After jars have cooled, check jar seals by pressing on centre of each lid. If the lid centre is pulled down and does not move, remove the screw band and lift the jar by the lid. Lids that do not flex and cannot be easily lifted off the jars have good seals. Refrigerate or reprocess any unsealed jars.

17. Wipe jars with damp cloth. Label and store jars in a cool, dark place. For best quality results use home canned foods within one year.

Storage of Canned Food

It is best to store canned foods at relatively low temperatures as this helps prevent any activity by micro-organisms that may have survived the heating process. Keep cans in a dark, cool place to help preserve vitamins and taste.

Where Can I Learn More

There are numerous books and websites available to help you including www.homecanning.com. Also, the Royal Botanical Gardens is hosting two canning workshops this year.

Early Harvest - Thursday May 29, 7-9p.m. at RBG Centre.
Members $28; Non-members $32.
During this session, Janet concentrates on early harvest jams and jellies and other fruits and vegetables that start the season off. Registration deadline May 20.

Late Harvest - Tuesday August 12, 7-9p.m. at RBG Centre.
Members $28; Non-members $32.
At this time of season the garden is in full swing and Janet features tomatoes, pickles and many of the other late harvest fruits and vegetables. Maximum 20. Registration deadline August 4.

Environment Hamilton will also be hosting canning workshops this Fall, check out our website for more details at www.environmenthamilton.org