How to Eat Healthier & Save Money by Preserving Locally-Grown Natural Foods

Preserving food is an exciting and useful skill. This article presents the most up-to-date and scientific information for safely preserving your foods in jars, often called “canning” even though no cans are involved.

Equally as useful is information near the back of the book on home gardening, farmer’s markets, small organic farms, and how to find and harvest fresh, local food.

We will give you all the information you need to get started, including:

  • how to store the food,
  • how to decorate the jars,
  • the possibilities for growing and harvesting your own crops from your own backyard.

With this book, you will be able to step into the fun and healthy world of preserving fresh food.

WHAT IS CANNING?

What is Canning? Jarring? Preserving? People all over the United States and world are excited about healthy food and having control over their food. Growing our own food and storing it gives us more control and better quality, healthier food than what we can buy in the modern stores, when you consider all the additives that modern grocery-store foods have.

Buying food at farmer’s markets or local community farms gives us control over our food. And preserving that food for later use is comforting because we know where the food came from.

Canning is the word used by many people to describe the act of preserving food in jars. It is also called “jarring” in some parts of the world. In Australia they call it “bottling.”

Whatever you want to call it, preserving food is exciting, and there is a safe way to do it which we will teach in this book. Whatever you want to call it, we are going to be following the strict rules for preserving food in jars. In the United States it is still common to call this “canning.”

HISTORY OF CANNING

A quick history and then we will learn how to preserve our own food: In 1810, the French Emporer Napoléon had offered a reward for anyone who could help the army find a way to preserve food for their travels. A French chef showed them how to use ceramic jars and heat to seal and store their food for longer periods of time than what they had previously known how to do.

Soon the U.S. had adopted a method using flat tin lids and wax. Then in 1858, John L. Mason created “mason jars” when he discovered that threads on the top of the jar caused the lid to screw on tightly. It would be over 50 years before another company would add the rubber seal that we now associate with “mason jars.”

MASON JARS

Most of the preserving that is done in the world today uses “mason jars” — which is the approach that has been tested in laboratories and scientifically verified as safe for the canning process. That is the approach we are going to teach in this book.

WHICH MASON JAR?

The company names Ball, Kerr and Bernardin all belong to the same company. In this book we will use Ball brand mason jars. These mason jars are a safe way to preserve food

SIZES OF BALL MASON JARS

Here is a summary of the jars you can use for preserving food according to the methods in this book. The two types you will use most are:

Regular-mouth Ball jars come in the quart, pint and half-pint sizes.

Wide-mouth Ball jars come in half-gallon, quart and pint. Half-gallon jars are great for storing juices and sauces. The large wide-mouth jars are great for whole-food fruits and large items like pickles.

Two other styles from Ball can also be used for decorative purposes and are nice, but a little harder to find. These are safe for canning:

Quilted jars are taller and thinner, and have a crosshatch pattern on them making them a little more decorative. They are popular for jams and come in the 4-ounce, 8-ounce (half-pint) and 12-ounce sizes. In addition, the 12-ounce size is better for tall veggies like asparagus. These small-sized jars are great for sauces, condiments, jellies, salsas and pie fillings.

Collection Elite jars from Ball are short, fat and cute, and come in the pint and half-pint sizes. They have no special use except to be different and nice when giving jams as a gift, especially if you decorate the jar (see the chapter later in this book called Decorating Your Jars).

FREEZER STORAGE VERSUS DRY STORAGE

This book teaches how to preserve food using Pressure Canners and Hot Water Canners, and the food can then be put in cool, dry storage for up to one year. If you intend to freeze food in a jar, then the glass jars must have straight sides, which includes Ball wide-mouth pints, Ball regular-mouth jars, and crystal-cut jars.

This book does not cover instructions for freezing food in jars.

The methods in this book are designed to seal and sterilize the foods using completely natural techniques, making it possible to store in a cool, dry place such as a basement, away from heat sources like hot pipes or heating vents.

DO NOT USE WIRE BAIL OR GLASS CAP JARS

According to the USDA and U.S. Department Of Agriculture, as well as academic authorities on canning, jars with wire bails and glass caps are not recommended for preserving food as they have a higher rate of seal failure. It is also not possible to test them using the sealing tests in this book.

These jars can look good for non-perishable dry items like flour, sugar, cookies, but should never be used for canning.

JAR DECORATIONS

Once you get your food in jars and sealed, we have an entire chapter in this book (chapter 12) on how to decorate your mason jars if you want to give them as gifts or just make them look good. This is especially fun with jams and marmalades because the high-acid fruit jams will not spoil, especially when sealed in the mason jars, and when you decorate them they make a beautiful and yummy gift for all occasions.

CONTROL YOUR OWN FOOD FOR HEALTH AND HAPPINESS

When you learn “canology” and canning, you will be bypassing the food industry and you will know where your food has come from, and that it is free from the many additives that are out there in the modern food industry. Fresh, local food can be safely preserved and stored in your home for up to one year using the methods taught in this book.

Preserving your own food is AWESOME!! And it is easier than it looks.

It’s healthier than commercial grocery stores, because you control where you get your food from. You can stock up on fresh, healthy, local produce. You can even grow your own gardens. Home canning is a definite way to avoid the trash and toxins found in commercial food, such as harmful oils, preservatives, fertilizers, sugars, additives and high levels of sodium.

Canning saves you from genetically altered foods. When you buy local produce and fruit and store it in jars using the canology process, you will always be getting “real” food that has not been altered by commercial “food industry” schemes to increase profits, such as genetic tinkering with the DNA of the plant, what is commonly called “GMO”. You can avoid all that commercialized food manipulation and just get some good ol’ local, fresh produce, even from your own back yard!!

Canning saves the environment. Canning saves energy. Think about this: store-bought groceries travel about 2,000 miles on average to reach the grocery store, transported on the highways, by trucks that burn gasoline and emit carbon into the atmosphere. Beyond that, 80% of the energy consumed by the “commercial food industry” is used to preserve and package foods. Canning bypasses all that.

Preserving food this way saves money, because you can buy healthy local produce in the high season when it is low cost, then can it. A jar of healthy, pure spaghetti sauce costs about $1 to jar at home. A quart of squash soup can be as low as 75 cents, and other produce can be bought at farmer’s markets in the harvest season when food is abundant and low cost.

As you will see later in this book, it can also be fun, especially when you are able to give your jams, jellies and sauces away as gifts in decorated jars.

STEPS OF THE PROCESS

A QUICK SUMMARY OF THE ENTIRE PRESERVING PROCESS

First let’s look at a quick summary of the whole process, so it will make more sense when we get into the details. Preserving food is done with a series of nine steps in this order:1. Select your canning supplies

2. Choose your foods

3. Sanitize your tools, supplies and work table

4. Prepare your workspace

5. Fill your jars

6. Seal the food in jars using a Hot Water Canner or a Pressure Canner

7. Test the seals

8. Label the jars9. Store the jars in a cool, dry place

9. Store the jars in a cool, dry place.

In addition, you may want to decorate your jars, and there are ideas at the end of this book for decorating and gifts

CHOOSING YOUR FOODS

Before you start preserving foods, you should decide what will most benefit you and your family. Here are some things to consider that will help you decide where to start. Think about these issues while you read this chapter.

What produce or fruits do you already grow?

What produce or fruits can you buy at farmer’s markets or direct from local growers, preferably local, healthy and organic?

What foods do you and your family like to eat?

What sounds fun?

If you are just starting out, what is easy? We recommend high-acid foods to start, like some fruits, organic applesauce, fruit recipes, jams, jellies, tomato sauces with lemon juice added, and salsa.

Do you want to give some of these as gifts? Such as jams and jellies?

What “trusted recipes” do you have already? Later in this chapter, I will give you some websites where you can find “trusted recipes”.

WHERE TO GET YOUR HEALTHY FOOD FOR PRESERVING

There are many places you can get fresh, local food for canning:

  • Your own garden – there is a revival going on where people are planting their own gardens and orchards. The food can be canned, and food like beans, peas and nuts can be shelled using table-top shellers that reduce the time from days to minutes to do simple harvesting jobs at home. Even corn and nuts can be husked and cracked instantly these days using small table-top machines . See the chapters later in this book on resources to grow your own gardens.
  • Farmer’s markets, where local farmers sell their produce.            
  • “Pick your own” farms, where you can pay a small price and pick anything from blueberries to regular produce like tomatoes.
  • CSAs are “Community Supported Agriculture” groups that deliver fresh food direct to your door.
  • Local organic delivery services – if you search online (in a search engine like Google or Bing)

for the phrase “organic food delivery mycity” and replace “mycity” with your own city, there are often services that will deliver fresh, local produce every week to your porch, even in recyclable ice packs. It is a convenient and efficient way to get locally-grown produce on a regular basis, and in the harvest season, you can get bulk orders and put in jars using the methods in this blog .

WHAT FOODS DOES YOUR FAMILY LIKE TO EAT?

You should choose to preserve foods that will benefit your life and overall food plan. In other words, what do you like to eat?

HIGH ACID FOODS

High acid foods popular for canning: jams, jellies, pickles, applesauce, apple butter, berries including blackberries and blueberries, peaches, peach butter, pears, pear butter, spaghetti sauce without meat, tomatoes and ketchup, lemons, apricots, cherries, cranberries, fruit juices, grapes, mangos, nectarines, oranges, papaya, pickled beets, pineapple, plums, strawberries and rhubarb.

LOW ACID FOODS

Low-acid foods popular for canning: Asparagus, Beans, Beets, Carrots, Corn, Garlic, Green Peanuts, Hominy, Meats, Onions, Sauces with meat (like spaghetti sauce), Soups (especially with meat), Mushrooms, Okra, Peas, Potatoes, Seafood, Spinach, and Winter Squash (it is not recommended to preserve summer squash).

FOODS TO NEVER PRESERVE USING THE CANNING PROCESS

For safety reasons, here are the foods you should NEVER store with canning: Dairy, Grains & Starches, Oils, Cornstarch, Flour & Thickeners, Pumpkin and Pureed Winter Squash.

Also, these foods don’t do well with canning, and will become discolored, mushy and unpleasantly fla

vored: Broccoli, Cauliflower, Summer squash, Zucchini, Cabbage and Eggplant.

TYPES OF FOODS AND RECIPES

One big consideration when you decide what foods to preserve will be if you have canning recipes specifically for preserving food in jars. Your recipes should be newer than 1990 and “tested” in a laboratory, because if you get a recipe that has wrong information then you could end up with canned food that has botulism and is poisonous.

There are instructions on preparing almost any kind of food you can think of. This website is mostly good for basic recipes. You should still read this entire book for the full introduction into canning your food.

VEGGIES

Vegetables are great to preserve in cans because the flavor is good and especially if you are canning local produce, you can have healthy veggies during the winter months. In addition, preserving your own food will lower your food cost and allow you to bypass the commercial food industry.

FRUITS

Fruits are great for canning because they are high-acid usually, and so many tasty recipes can be made using fruits.

NOTE: Some fruits like freestone peaches will allow the pits to come out easily and are superior for canning. Compare that to “cling” peaches – where the peach pit (seed) clings and does not come out easily, making it difficult to use for preserving foods.

JAMS AND MARMALADES

One of the most popular uses for preserving is to create jams, jellies, marmalades and “preserves” as my grandmother used to call them. This process is different from other foods because you will use syrup to fill in between the foods. Each recipe will give exact instructions on how to create the specific jam, jelly, or marmalade.

MAKING APPLESAUCE

If you have access to locally grown or organic apples, here are a few fantastic secrets for making great applesauce and preserving it in jars.

CORING AND SLICING THE APPLES

To start, you will need to core and slice your apples. There are many simple tools that can be used instead of a knife, and are recommended for speed and safety.

You will need to be quick about preparing the apples for cooking, because the pulp of sliced apples

oxidizes quickly and turns a brown color when it touches the air. You will want to keep oxidization from happening by doing smaller batches of apples quickly (like a full pot), cook them, then throw them into the Victorio Food Strainer (if you don’t have the strainer then you have to remove the peels and crush the apples yourself, which takes forever).

NOTE: You will be rushing to get the apples cooked before they oxidize and turn brown, so you don’t want to cut your hands, and there is no reason to use a knife in this process!! Use a safe tool which is actually quicker!!

COOK THE APPLES

Use a stainless steel pot to cook the apples (not aluminum which will react with the apples). We recommend you remove the core of the apples before cooking them in the pot, since apple seeds do have a small amount of cyanide in them (a highly poisonous substance).

After cooking the pieces in a pot, you put them into the Victorio Food Strainer.

Of course, the old fashioned way (before the Victorio Food Strainer) was to have to peel every apple, and then smash all the apples by hand, which is a lot of work!! The Victorio Food Strainer does all that quickly and smoothly.

OTHER APPLE-BASED FOODS

In addition to applesauce, some other apple foods you can preserve with the canning process are:

tasty, robust apple butter,

pear-apple jam,

old-fashioned, pretty crabapple jelly

cinnamon-flavored spiced apple rings

spicy gift quality apple chutney

SAUCES

Sauces are great for future cooking, as well as gifts to others. Again, the Victorio Food Strainer is the awesome tool that will make it possible to make sauces easily and quickly. Of course, the old fashioned way involved many more hours of hand work, and the Victorio Food Strainer takes the work out of it. In case you are wondering, I don’t work for Victorio; I just am amazed at how cool and easy this tool is!!

SALSA

Salsa is prepared like a sauce, but has larger chunks of tomato. Once again, you will save hours of time if you use the Victorio Food Strainer to prepare your salsa before canning it. You will need an accessory called the “Victorio Salsa Screen Accessory” which allows the bigger pieces of the salsa through.

You won’t believe how fast and cool the Victorio Food Strainer is when used to make salsa, and really, I would never go back to the old ways!!

CHILIS & SOUPS

To have a quick meal in a jar, free from commercial preservatives, free from the food industry, made of all-natural local ingredients, is an amazing concept.

Home-canned chilis and soups are healthier than store-bought cans and jars of soup, because of the additives that store-bought soups have. The store-

Home-canned chilis and soups are healthier than store-bought cans and jars of soup, because of the additives that store-bought soups have. The store-bought foods are also more commercially processed, and usually not organic.

NOTE: Because chilis and soups are low-acid and can spoil, it is important that you have some practice and experience before you attempt chilis and soups. It is perfectly safe to jar chilis and soups using the Pressure Canner if you know what you are doing. Families are using this method to save thousands of dollars on their annual food bill and have overall healthier food, so don’t be afraid to learn about this method.

CANNED MEATS

Meats that can be preserved in jars using the Pressure Canner are: chili con carne, mincemeat pie filling, fish, tuna, clams, king crab, Dungeness crab, oysters, meat-based soups, chicken & turkey, stew beef, loose ground beef, meatballs (in broth & in tomato sauce), sausage links, stew pork, pork hock meat in pork broth, goat and rabbit.

Just as mentioned above, if you follow your recipe to the exact detail and know what you are doing, it is perfectly safe to preserve meats and meat dishes in jars and store for up to one year. Families are saving thousands of dollars on their food bill by doing this.

SALSA

Salsa is prepared like a sauce but has larger chunks of tomato. Once again, you will save hours of time if you use the Victorio Food Strainer to prepare your salsa before canning it. You will need an accessory called the “Victorio Salsa Screen Accessory” which allows the bigger pieces of the salsa through.

You won’t believe how fast and cool the Victorio Food Strainer is when used to make salsa, and really, I would never go back to the old ways!!

CHILIS & SOUPS

To have a quick meal in a jar, free from commercial preservatives, free from the food industry, made of all-natural local ingredients, is an amazing concept.

Home-canned chilis and soups are healthier than store-bought cans and jars of soup, because of the additives that store-bought soups have. The store-bought foods are also more commercially processed, and usually not organic.

N  OTE: Because chilis and soups are low-acid and can spoil, it is important that you have some practice and experience before you attempt chilis and soups. It is perfectly safe to jar chilis and soups using the Pressure Canner if you know what you are doing. Families are using this method to save thousands of dollars on their annual food bill and have overall healthier food, so don’t be afraid to learn about this method.

CANNED MEATS

Meats that can be preserved in jars using the Pressure Canner are: chili con carne, mincemeat pie filling, fish, tuna, clams, king crab, Dungeness crab, oysters, meat-based soups, chicken & turkey, stew beef, loose ground beef, meatballs (in broth & in tomato sauce), sausage links, stew pork, pork hock meat in pork broth, goat and rabbit.

Just as mentioned above, if you follow your recipe to the exact detail and know what you are doing, it is perfectly safe to preserve meats and meat dishes in jars and store for up to one year. Families are saving thousands of dollars on their food bill by doing this.

NOTE: You MUST have some prior experience before you attempt canning meats, because meats are more susceptible to harmful bacteria. Do not attempt meats as your first canning experience. And as always, follow the recipe to the exact detail.

USDA FOOD PRESERVATION TRUSTED RECIPE

Some of the best recipes and explanations of specific food groups and how to preserve them are available for free download from the USDA. These are trusted guides that will answer questions beyond the scope of this book, including hundreds of specific recipes.

Here are the quicklinks:

YOUR EQUIPMENT AND TOOLS

The easiest way to get all the supplies you need is to buy a kit from www.canology.com. Here is a quick summary of all the equipment you will end up with:

  • Either a Hot Water Canner or a Pressure Canner, depending on your recipe
  • Funnel (used to fill the jars)
  • Jar lifter (tongs)
  • Thin rubber spatula or chopsticks (to remove air bubbles from jars when filling)
  • Candy thermometer

You will also need the supplies listed below:

  • Jars – These jars are specifically for jarring, and usually come from Mason or Ball. They range in size from four ounces to a quart, with both regular and wide-mouth tops. It is ok to recycle these and use them again, but of course they should be washed with hot, soapy water and rinsed well before being reused.
  • Lids – these are the two-part lids used for canning. They have a rubber-sealed lid top and outer screw ring. You should always use new rubber-sealed tops but you can reuse the outer screw ring.
  • Labels. You can also use any labels such as office supply labels. Do not tape your labels on; use sticky labels, because the label will list the date, and you have to know when your food “expires” and must be used. If you lose the label because it falls off (due to using tape) then you risk using old food that has spoiled.

In addition, you will need to have these items from your own house:

  • Clean towels
  • Potholders
  • Close-toed shoes (so you don’t spill hot liquids on your feet
  • An apron
  • Sauce or stock pans
  • Large dishes to hold the food prior to putting into jars

SAFETY FIRST

Anytime you deal with food, there are safety considerations. This is particularly true when it comes to canning. This chapter covers all the safety concerns, so read this chapter carefully. You will be glad you took the precautions to keep your food pure and your family safe.

WASH YOUR WORK AREA, TOOLS AND CUTLERY

Wash your work tables completely. Wash your pots and dishes that will be used to hold the food. Wash knives and tools that will penetrate the skins of fruits and vegetables. Consider using safe tools to replace knives.

RINSE YOUR PRODUCE

Rinse your produce with clean water. Use a clean produce-scrubbing brush. Do not use soap, as it has not been approved for cleaning produce.

WASH YOUR HANDS, JARS AND DISHES

You should wash your hands often while working with food, using a strong anti-bacterial soap.

It is sufficient to wash all your jars, dishes and tools with hot, soapy water. Make sure you use real soap and not some “alternative” that may not be killing bacteria. After washing, make sure you remember to rinse your jars, dishes and tools completely.

R  emember, bacteria will show no mercy in hurting you or your family if you allow it to get into the food supply, so wash your jars, dishes and tools with real soap. and hot water, and rinse thoroughly.

START SIMPLE

The first safety step is easy: start with a food that is easy to preserve, such as tomatoes. Find a food that you have an abundance of, or that you are interested in, and focus on one food the first time you try any of these methods.

WEAR AN APRON AND CLOSE-TOED SHOES

Because you will be around hot water and possibly splashing liquids and foods, you should wear an apron and always wear close-toed shoes like tennis shoes. If you ever accidentally spill hot water on your feet, you will be glad you wore close-toed shoes that protect your feet.

NEVER REUSE THE RUBBER SEALING RINGS

The lid of the jar will have two parts: a rubber seal and the rim. While you may use the jar and the rim again, you must NEVER use the rubber seal more than once. Make sure when you have emptied a jar of food, that you wash it, remove the rubber seal and throw it away, and then store the jar that way.

ONLY USE FRESH PRODUCE & FRUITS

If the produce is spoiled, don’t use it. If there are spots or blemishes, cut them out before storing.

AIR BUBBLES

Air bubbles in the jar can cause problems and contribute to food spoiling. You must remove any large air bubbles.

Use the spatula to remove air bubbles from the bottom of the jar before sealing.

WIPE RIM

MAKE SURE THERE IS “HEAD SPACE” IN THE TOP OF THE JAR

NEVER fill your jar all the way to the very top. There must always be a little space in the top of the jar, called “head space.” This is mentioned later in the book.

Head space is necessary so that a vacuum can be created in the jar. The head room actually has a little air prior to heating, which is forced out during the heating process. This creates a vacuum which helps keep out bacteria.

SEALING THE JAR

Make sure the rubber seal and the lid are tight before putting into the “Pressure Canner.”

USE PRESSURE CANNERS

There are two types of Canners: 1) the Hot Water Canner, and 2) The Pressure Canner. After the jars are filled and the lids put on with the proper head space (open space) at the top (we discuss head space later in the book in chapter 8 called “Filling The Jars”), you use the Hot Water Canner or the Pressure Canner to SEAL the food inside the jars. The Pressure Canner has another important use because it actually kills bacteria (whereas the Hot Water Canner does not kill bacteria).

Both types of Canners seal the jars, but only the Pressure Canner actually kills bacteria.

BOTULISM AND AIR

It is a common myth that bacteria need air to survive. In fact, just the opposite is true: Botulism grows and thrives when the air is removed. It needs no air to grow. Thus, even when all the air is removed from a jar, botulism spores and bacteria can grow if they exist in the jar. That is why we use heat and pressure to kill all bacteria inside before we seal the jar, air or no air!! The toxins from botulism are deadly, so we want to make sure to use the heat and pressure of the Pressure Canner mentioned later in the book, which kills bacteria. In addition, your supplies must be washed with soap and hot water before you begin. Your rubber seals must be new on the jars, and the sealing must be complete. Read on in this book for specific instructions on how to do these steps.

FOOD POISONING AND BOTULISM

The main danger of food spoiling is called “food poisoning” and “botulism” – both of which affect any food in the world.

In the canning process, we take special precautions to kill all bacteria. The main method (after basic washing) is called the “Pressure Canner” – which is a big pot that the jars are put into, which heats the jars and also pressurizes the jars to the point that bacteria will definitely be killed.

Using the Pressure Canner is completely safe for the food, and thus the canning process (as we teach it in this book), and will give you healthy canned food that is safe to eat later and completely purified of any bacteria (the bacteria are all killed).

Every time you eat at a restaurant, you risk being exposed to spoiled food. When you can foods at your home, one of the main considerations is the cleanliness of your jars, your tools, and making sure you complete the process of sealing the jars so that all bacteria is killed. That is what we will discuss later in this book in the chapter on “Sealing The Jars.”

Everyone has to eat. If you are careful with your cleanliness and follow the warnings in this chapter, your food will be safe to eat.

USE A CANNING RECIPE FOR EACH FOOD TYPE

Each food has different requirements for how long it should be in the Pressure Canner, and there are also two head space (room at the top of the jar) variations for low acid or high acid foods.

WHY YOU CANNOT USE YOUR OWN RECIPE

Recipes for preserving foods should always be from a trusted source such as the University of Georgia’s Food Preservation program, where all recipes have been tested in a laboratory to make sure they are perfect and safe. You must not “play with fate” in regards to the food you eat; spoiled food can kill you and your family. If you use “trusted recipes” then you will be safe. Also make sure to read, reread and follow the safety tips in this chapter and you will never have a problem.

DO NOT USE OLD RECIPES

You should use recipes that were written after 1990, because older attitudes about bacteria were wrong and unscientific, and dangerous. Recipes after 1990 have been updated to include modern knowledge about food safety and bacteria.

ADJUST FOR ALTITUDE

The words “altitude” and “elevation” mean the exact same thing. Your recipe should give you settings for “high altitude” or “low altitude” and these should be followed exactly. The altitude adjustment will spe

cifically affect the length of time heating (for either Pressure Canners or Hot Water Canners) and the pressure (for Pressure Canners).

Thus, if you live high up in the mountains, you will be keeping the jars in the Hot Water Canner or Pressure Canner for a longer time than if you live at the beach.

HOW DO YOU KNOW YOUR ALTITUDE?

1) The easiest way to get your altitude is to go to the website www.earthtools.org and click the link “Find Elevation/Height Above Sea Level”.

2) Another website that gives altitude is www.veloroutes.org/elevation (type in your city name and country).

SPECIFIC ADJUSTMENT NUMBERS FOR ALTITUDE

Water boils at lower temperatures as altitude increases. Since the canning process is based on water boiling, you have to adjust the processing time the higher up you live.

HOT WATER CANNER ALTITUDE ADJUSTMENT:

At altitudes of 1,000 feet to 6,000 feet above sea level, add five minutes to the Hot Water Canner processing times your recipe specifies.

DIAL-GAUGE PRESSURE CANNER ALTITUDE ADJUSTMENT:

When using a dial-gauge Pressure Canner, at altitudes between 2,000 to 4,000 feet you should process foods at 12 pounds of pressure. If you are an altitude between 4,000 and 6,000 feet, use 13 pounds of pressure.

WEIGHT-GAUGE PRESSURE CANNER ALTITUDE ADJUSTMENT:

For altitudes between 2,000 and 6,000 feet, use 15 pounds of pressure (rather than the usual 10).

TEST THE JARS AFTER SEALING

When you have used the Hot Water Canner or the Pressure Canner to seal the jars, you let them cool for about 30 minutes, and then you can test them to see if they have sealed completely.

For more information on testing the seal, see the Chapter later in the book called “Testing The Seal.”

IF SEALING FAILS, REFRIGERATE IMMEDIATELY!!

If testing fails, then the jars are not sealed and you should immediately refrigerate and eat the contents within two weeks.

source : Canology: a Modern Guide: How to Eat Healthier & Save Money by Preserving Locally-Grown Natural Foods by Lieder, David