How to read a canning processing time table

How to read a canning processing time table

 

This post will show you exactly how to read the processing time tables found in my canning recipes.

You MUST follow the processing times set out in the processing time table to ensure safe canning, so it is very important to understand how to correctly read them.

 

Jar size and processing times

 

If you are using a jar that is SMALLER than the jar sizes specified in the processing time table then simply use the time stated for the smallest jar given.

EXAMPLE

Recommended process time for Applesauce in a boiling-water canner
Process Time at Altitudes of:
Style of PackJar Size0-1000 ft1001-3000 ft3001-6000 ftAbove 6000 ft
HotPints15 minutes20 minutes20 minutes25 minutes
HotQuarts20 minutes25 minutes30 minutes35 minutes

 

In this table above for processing apple sauce, the smallest jar size specified is a pint jar. If you were using a 1/2 pint jar size then you would simply use the processing times specified for the closest jar size available, in this example that is the pint size. So you would process your jars for 15 minutes at an altitude of 0-1000 feet.

 

You cannot use a jar that is LARGER than that specified in the processing time table.

EXAMPLE

Recommended process time for Applesauce in a boiling-water canner
Process Time at Altitudes of:
Style of PackJar Size0-1000 ft1001-3000 ft3001-6000 ftAbove 6000 ft
HotPints15 minutes20 minutes20 minutes25 minutes
HotQuarts20 minutes25 minutes30 minutes35 minutes

 

In this table the largest jar available is a quart jar. That means that you can not make apple sauce in a jar larger than a quart.

 

Altitudes

 

The first thing you need to find out is what altitude you are at. In other words, what altitude is the house you are canning your food at. For example if you are canning your food at sea level then you would use the 0-1000 feet column of the processing time table.

 

Using the process time for canning food at sea level may result in spoilage if you live at altitudes of 1000 feet or more. Water boils at lower temperatures as altitude increases. Lower boiling temperatures are less effective for killing bacteria. Increasing the process time or canner pressure compensates for lower boiling temperatures.

 

EXAMPLE

Recommended process time for Applesauce in a boiling-water canner
Process Time at Altitudes of:
Style of PackJar Size0-1000 ft1001-3000 ft3001-6000 ftAbove 6000 ft
HotPints15 minutes20 minutes20 minutes25 minutes
HotQuarts20 minutes25 minutes30 minutes35 minutes

 

In this example, if you live at 0-1000 feet altitude you would process pints for 15 minutes and quarts for 20 minutes. If you live at 1001 – 3000 feet then you would process pints for 20 minutes and quarts for 25 minutes and so on.

 

Style of Pack

The ‘style of pack’ section relates to how you pack your food into the jars. There are two main methods, a cold pack and a hot pack.

They’re pretty self-explanatory, a cold pack is when you fill the jars with cold food and a hot pack is when you fill the jars with hot food.

Hot-packing is the practice of heating freshly prepared food to boiling, simmering it for 2-5 minutes and promptly filling cars loosely with the boiled food. Hot packing is the best way to remove air and is the preferred pack style for foods processed in a boiling-water canner. At first, the colour of hot-packed foods may appear no better than that of cold-packed foods, but within a short storage period, both colour and flavour of hot packed foods will be superior. It is important to follow the ‘style of pack’ listed in the processing time table.

 

So that should cover everything you need to know about reading processing time tables!