Canning is a little like painting a room. You’re initially excited about the process and you may even start with gusto, but at some point you realize there’s a bit of monotony involved. But at the end you stand back and admire your work and decide it was all worth it. And then you plan your next project. Such was my second go of canning pineapple today!
A few things about canning, if you’re new to the process:
- Make sure to thoroughly acquaint yourself with the steps involved. Today’s post is a quick and dirty “how to” tutorial, but if you’re brand new to canning, get thee a book such as Ball Book of Canning and Preserving (currently ~$15 on Amazon) and read through everything carefully first.
- Gather all your supplies ahead of time. Before you start, make sure you have everything handy from the ingredients, tools, canning supplies, and jars. I recommend you read and re-read your recipe twice. You don’t want to be halfway through and realize you need something vital.
- Start this project when you have a solid chunk of time. If you have to pick up your kid in an hour, don’t start a canning project. I try to give myself at least three hours’ time for even the simplest of canning projects.
I’m canning pineapple today mostly because they were on sale at Fred Meyer for $1 last week and I bought 8 of ’em.
I started by prepping my jars. I decided to go with 8 pint-sized jars. To start, I washed each of the jars and rims in hot, soapy water. I did the same with the lids, and left them in a bowl of hot water. After this, I filled up the jars about 2/3 of the way with hot water and set them in the bottom of my boiling water canner, also filled with hot water. One of the keys to canning successfully is keeping all your elements hot!
Just keep the jars hot – you do not need to boil them or the lids. At this point, I turned my attention to the pineapple.
Start by decapitating your pineapple. To do this, just twist of the top. It’s really easy.
Next, make a thin slice on each end of the remaining fruit. This will allow it to stand upright on a cutting board.
From here, I strip down the pineapple scales until its nekked.
I slice the pineapple in half, and then half again. (So basically, quarters). With each quarter, I slice out the core, then chop it in half yet again and cut 1/2″ size tidbits.
It took me about a half an hour to process 7 pineapples and the result filled a rather large pot! Now the recipe I’m using – which comes from the Ball Home Preserving Cookbook (~$15 on Amazon) says to use 12 lbs of pineapple and that will result in about 8 pint-sized jars. Well, I don’t know about weight, but I will say roughly 6 of them filled 8 pint-sized jars – so yes, I had lots of pineapple leftover! (Hang tight, I’ll show you what I did with the leftovers!)
Make a simple syrup solution to pack in your pineapple. I sprung for an extra light syrup because pineapple is naturally very sweet! To do this, I mixed 1 1/4 cup sugar with 5 1/2 cups water and brought to a boil. I then quickly brought the temperature to simmer at medium low. You don’t want the syrup to reduce.
Now you’re going to heat the pineapple up in single layers in the syrup. You don’t need to cook it, just warm it. My recipe says this should take about 1 minute per layer.
At this point, remove the jars one at a time from the boiling-water canner and empty them. As they are going to be filled with hot liquids, there is no need to dry them. Using a slotted spoon, pack in the hot pineapple leaving 1/2″ headspace. I find using this ball funnel very handy and highly recommend it!
Next, ladle in the hot syrup so you have 1/2″ headspace. Make sure to remove the air bubbles! This tool came with the funnel in the Ball Canning accessory kit I picked up last year. Very handy.
Here’s what 1/2″ headspace looks like, incidentally.
Add the lid and screw on the band until just tight (but not too tight). The magnetic lid grabber pictured above also comes in that accessory kit. (I hate to convince you to buy stuff for the sake of it – but seriously, get yourself that accessory kit. I promise you’ll use all four items in there on every canning project you do!)
Now you are ready to process the jars! Close the lid and wait for a rolling boil. Note that the processing time starts from when a rolling boil is achieved! For pint-sized jars, this will be 15 minutes. After this point, turn off the heat and remove the lid. Wait for five minutes. Then using tongs, gently remove the jars.
I like to set my jars on a wire rack to allow air flow all around the jars. Make sure they are not touching one another. Please take care as they will be extremely hot! Let them sit, undisturbed for 24 hours. You might hear “popping” sounds as the jars begin to cool off. This is normal – it’s good even! It means that the lids are sealing properly.
The next morning, press on the top of each lid. If it does not pop back up at you, it means that the lid has sealed properly and is ready to store! You can remove the bands at this point and store in a cool, dark location for up to 12 months. That’s it!
As for my leftovers?
Supplies mentioned today (that I own and recommend!):
- The All New Ball Book Of Canning and Preserving (currently $14.62 on Amazon)
- Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving (currently $15.04 on Amazon – I prefer this one’s style, pictures, and recipes; however the Blue Book seems to have better getting started information)
- Ball Utensil Kit: includes tongs, funnel, magnetic lid lifter and bubble remover (currently $8 on Amazon)
- Granite Ware Boiling Water Canner with Rack (currently $16.27 on Amazon): this is the one I own and is featured above in my post
- Nesco Food Dehydrator (currently $73.93 on Amazon) – perfect for drying fruits, veggies, herbs, and for making your own fruit rolls and jerkys
Want to read more posts I’ve written on canning? Here you go!
- Canning Applesauce
- Canning Garden Tomatoes
- 5 Misconceptions I Had About Canning
- Saving on Canning Supplies and Jars
Disclaimer: Canning isn’t difficult, but it does require some basic food safety know how and best practices. While I hope my post today has inspired you to get out there and can, I do want you to make sure you’re doing so safely! Please take the time to read through a book like the Blue Book of Canning or read the step-by-step instructions on FreshPreserving.com (Ball’s website). Then, make sure to stick to approved recipes and follow them exactly. Happy canning!