Believe it or not, canning isn’t only for Grandma. It’s a cost-effective hobby that just might save you a bundle. And there are many easy canning recipes that you can use to get started.
With a little practice, you will be well on your way to a full pantry that you stocked yourself. That’s probably one of the most rewarding aspects of this particular hobby. You can feed your family straight from your own garden, year-round!
But before you jump into this new hobby, you’re going to need to learn the basics.
We gathered some easy canning recipes for beginners that will give you the perfect place to start, without getting too ambitious.
The Basics of Canning
Before we get to our easy canning recipes, we want to make sure you understand the general rules of canning first.
For starters, you can use two methods of canning, depending on what you are trying to preserve. If you are dealing with high-acid food, you can use a water bath canner, and low-acid foods will require a pressure canner.
The most important rule of all is to make sure that everything is properly sterilized. That involves boiling your jars and lids beforehand.
The next rule is to make sure you have the right amount of headspace in your jar. The headspace is the space between the lid and the food. It will depend on the recipe, so make sure you check the recipe for instructions.
Last of all, you should never experiment with canning recipes. Follow the directions or find a recipe that fits your needs. If you don’t follow the directions to a tee, you are also gambling with the safety of the recipe.
If you want to experiment with recipes you should probably stick with freezing food instead.
Recommended Read: Want the Healthiest Vegetables? Use These Tips for your Garden Plans
Water bath canning
When using easy canning recipes for beginners that involve fruit, you should use a water bath canner. This method involves “bathing” the jars in hot water for a set time.
For instance, if you plan to preserve jams, fruit, or pie fillings, you will use this method. The reason you can use the water bath canning method with most fruits has to do with their high acidity.
Here is a great video talking about the basics of water bath canning:
If you plan to can most vegetables, meat, or other low-acid foods, you will need to use a pressure canner. This method ensures that low-acid foods are safely preserved and will eliminate harmful bacteria, especially botulism.
Pressure canning gets the jars much hotter than water bath canning and relies on steam to ensure the jars are sealed and cooked properly.
You even need to take your elevation into account in this process as well. Higher altitudes have lower boiling points, which can affect what temperature you should be using.
Here is a video that talks about the basics of pressure canning:
Easy Canning Recipes for Beginners
Using a water bath canner is the best place to start for a beginner. It gives you a chance to get used to the whole process before adding a pressure canner into the mix.
With each of these easy canning recipes, make sure to double-check the seal before storing them away. If they don’t seal properly put them in the refrigerator rather than the pantry.
Also make sure to sterilize all the jars and lids before you get started, and keep them hot until you fill them. That will help you avoid cracking cold jars.
Before starting any of these recipes, prepare your water bath canner ahead of time. It will take some time to get the water up to temperature.
Easy Strawberry Jam
Strawberry jam is the perfect recipe to start with. It’s simple and straightforward and your family will love using it for their PB&J’s!
This recipe makes (8) 1/2 pints.
- 2 quarts of crushed strawberries
- 1 pack of pectin (1 3/4 ounces)
- 1/4 cup of lemon juice
- Zest of one lemon (finely grated)
- 7 cups of sugar
- Start by sterilizing all your jars and lids. And put a spoon in the freezer to check consistency later.
- Now, wash and core your strawberries removing any bad or bruised sections.
- Place them in a large pot and crush them with a potato masher until the juices begin to flow. Add the pectin, lemon, and lemon zest to the crushed strawberries.
- Bring to a boil before adding the sugar, one cup at a time. Stir constantly to dissolve the sugar and prevent sticking.
- Bring the mixture back to a rolling boil. Once it reaches a rolling boil, you should continue stirring constantly for one to two minutes.
- Now it’s time to test the consistency. Use the cold spoon and scoop up some jam. It will quickly cool on the spoon. Tilt the spoon and if the mixture is thick when it drops off the spoon, it’s ready.
- If it’s still runny, continue to stir and cook it. Once it reaches the correct consistency, remove the pot from the burner and skim the foam off the top.
- Next, fill the hot jars with the jam leaving 1/4 inch of headspace, and process for 10 minutes.
- Allow the jars to cool on the countertop making sure the lids are sealed before storing them. (When a lid seals, you will hear it pop and it will lay flat. If the lid pops when you press on it, it is not properly sealed.)
Grandma’s Dill Pickles
If you want some crunch to your canned dill pickles, the secret is to only use fresh pickling cucumbers. The fresher the cucumbers are, the more crunch you’ll get.
This recipe makes 9 quarts.
- 12 pounds of pickling cucumbers, quartered lengthwise
- 11 cups of water
- 5 cups white vinegar
- 1 cup canning salt
- 9 dill sprigs or heads
- 18 garlic cloves
- 18 dried hot chilies
- Sterilize your jars and lids. Wash and dry the cucumbers and cut them lengthwise.
- In a stockpot, bring the water, vinegar, and salt to a boil for 10 minutes.
- Pack the pickling cucumbers into nine hot quart jars, leaving 1/2-inch of space. Add one dill sprig, two garlic cloves, and two peppers in each jar.
- Carefully ladle the hot mixture into the jars, leaving half an inch of headspace, and remove any air bubbles.
- Wipe the rims, place the hot lids, and screw on the bands.
- Place the jars into the simmering water bath carefully, and bring to a boil for 15 minutes. Then remove the jars and allow them to cool on the counter.
- Allow them to sit in your pantry for four to six weeks for the best flavor.
Applesauce is one of the easiest things to make for a first-time canning recipe. If you’re canning for the first time ever, this is the perfect place to start.
This recipe makes nine pints.
- 14 pounds of apples
- Wash, peel, and core your apples before cutting them into cubes. (You may skip peeling and coring if you have a food mill.)
- Add the apples to the saucepan and enough water to prevent them from sticking. Cook over medium-low heat until they’re soft, stirring occasionally.
- Add your cinnamon to taste, or leave it out if you prefer plain applesauce. Make sure to start small with the cinnamon, adding a teaspoon at a time.
- Depending on how smooth you like your applesauce, you can mash it until it’s smooth or leave it chunky. If you want to run it through a food mill, you will need to let it cool completely. Make sure to bring it back up to temperature before adding it to the hot jars.
- Carefully ladle your applesauce into the hot jars, leaving half an inch of headspace. Wipe the rims and place the hot lids, screwing on the rings until they’re finger tight.
- Place the hot jars in the simmering water bath and bring to a boil for 20 minutes. Turn the heat off and let them sit in the water for another 10 minutes. Then pull them out and place them on a towel on your counter to cool completely.
Canning tomatoes is one of those canning recipes that require you to follow the directions exactly. Each recipe is formulated to fit a certain pH level.
This recipe yields six pints.
- 12 pounds ripe tomatoes
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup dried/dehydrated minced onion
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
- 1 tablespoon dark balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons sea salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried rosemary
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon crushed fennel seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon dried ground sage
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Citric acid or bottled lemon juice, if canning (per USDA guidelines as a requirement for safe canning)
- Blanch the tomatoes for a minute to loosen the skins. Next, remove the skins, discard the seeds, and chop the tomatoes.
- Place the chopped tomatoes in a pot with the remaining ingredients, except the citric acid. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to low and simmer for two hours, uncovered. Stir occasionally.
- Discard the bay leaves and adjust the salt and pepper to taste.
- Use an immersion blender, or transfer to a blender, to puree until you have reached your desired consistency.
- Once you’re finished you can either use, freeze, or can the final product.
- To can your sauce, place 1/4 a teaspoon of citric acid, or one tablespoon of lemon juice, in each sterilized pint-sized jar.
- Then carefully ladle the hot marinara sauce into the jars leaving 1/2-inch of headspace. Make sure to wipe the rims, place the hot lids, and screw on the rings until they’re finger tight.
- Place the jars in your water bath canner and process for 35 minutes. Then turn off the heat and let them sit for five minutes before taking them out. Let them cool for 24-hours before checking the seals and moving to storage.
Canning jalapenos can be tricky, but only because you need to be extremely careful when handling them. For this easy canning recipe, you definitely need to bust out the disposable rubber gloves and avoid touching your face at all costs!
This recipe makes two pints.
- 1 1/2 pounds jalapeños peppers
- 1 cup water
- 3 1/2 cups white vinegar (MUST be 5% acidity)
- 1 tablespoon pickling salt (optional)
- Ball® Pickle Crisp (optional)
- Wash peppers, cut off stems, and slice peppers into 1/4-inch rings.
- To prepare the brine, mix the vinegar, water, and salt. Bring it to a boil for five minutes.
- Pack your hot jars with the pepper rings and add 1/4 a teaspoon of pickle crisp, if desired. Leave 1/2 inch of headspace.
- Carefully ladle the brine over the peppers. Use a utensil to stir and remove bubbles and double-check the headspace.
- Now you can wipe the rims, add the heated lids, and screw on the rings.
- Lastly, you can place them in the water bath canner and bring them to a boil for 10 minutes. Leave them in the water for five more minutes before removing them to cool completely.
Recommended Read: Preserving Jalapeños
Easy Canning Recipes: We’re Really Cooking Now!
Did you find the easy canning recipes you were looking for? Water bath canning is the perfect method for beginners. If you try a few of these canning recipes for beginners and decide you enjoy this rewarding hobby, you can move on to pressure canning.
Either way, this is a great place to start before you invest anywhere in a pressure canner you might never use.
Do you have any easy canning recipes you would like to share? Please put them in the comments below!