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Basic Canning Equipment and Processing 

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Here are the basic tools, techniques and tables for approximate yields for commonly canned fruits and vegetables.

Basic Canning Equipment

Approximate Yields

Processing Methods

Processing Time 

Care of Canned Food

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Basic Canning Equipment


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  • PRESSURE CANNER - for non-acidic vegetable and meats
  • QUART OR PINT JARS, wide mouth is easiest to pack
  • FLATS (LIDS) and BANDS - to fit jars
  • LARGE STOCK POT OR WATER BATH CANNER - for processing fruits, tomatoes, jams and jellies 


Approximate Yields for Commonly Canned Fruits and Vegetables


All are for approximately 1 Bushel unless otherwise noted.  All fruits may be canned without sugar, and vegetables may be canned without salt.


Approximate Canned Yields per Bushel

Apples - 16-20 Quarts
Apricots - 20-24 Quarts
Peaches - 18-24 Quarts
Pears - 20-25 Quarts
Plums - 24-30 Quarts
Tomatoes - 15-20 Quarts
All Berries - 12-20 Quarts
Asparagus - 11 Quarts
Beans, lima - in pods - 6-8 Quarts
Beans, snap - 15-20 Quarts
Beets, without tops - 17-20 Quarts
Brussels sprouts, 1 pound - 1 Pint
Carrots, without tops - 16-20 Quarts
Corn, in husks - 8-9 Quarts
Okra  - 17 Quarts
Peas - 12-15 Quarts
Spinach - 16-20 Quarts
Approximate Pounds per Bushel
Apples 1 bu.= 48 lbs
Apricots 1 bu.=50 lbs
Cherries 1 bu.=56 lbs
Peaches 1 bu.=48 lbs
Pears 1 bu.=50 lbs
Plums 1 bu.=56 lbs
Tomatoes 1 bu.=53 lbs
Asparagus 1 bu.=45 lbs
lima beans 1 bu.=32 lbs
snap beans 1 bu.=30 lbs
Beets, without tops 1 bu.=52 lbs
Carrots, without tops 1 bu.=50 lbs
Corn, in husks 1 bu.=35 lbs
Okrs 1 bu.=26 lbs
peas, green, in pod 1 bu.=30 lbs
pumpkin 1 bu.=50 lbs
spinach 1 bu.=18 lbs
summer squash 1 bu.=40 lbs
Sweet potatoes 1 bu.=55 lbs


Processing Methods

The term "Processing" means heating filled and sealed jars for a specific length of time at a specific temperature necessary to destroy all bacteria. Tomatoes and most fruits do not need pressure processing, nor do pickled vegetables and sauerkraut. As a matter of fact, fruits and juicy vegetables that contain acid retain better color, flavor, and texture if they are processed or sterilized at or near 212 degrees F, or the boiling of water at sea level. Remember the boiling point of water falls 1 degree F for each 500 feet of elevation, so it IS necessary to process even fruits and tomatoes at a pressure of around 5 pounds at altitudes of 1500 feet or more.

IN EITHER METHOD DO NOT RETIGHTEN BANDS ON THE JARS.  When jars are cool and before storing bands maybe removed.

ALWAYS TEST THE SEAL TO BE SURE JARS ARE SEALED PROPERLY.  Press the center of the lid, if it is down and does not move, jar is sealed. Any unsealed jars can and should be reprocessed using a fresh, new flat. 

ALL JARS MUST BE FREE OF NICKS AND CLEAN. ALL MUST BE STERILIZED WITH EXTREMELY HOT WATER.  Leave jars in hot water until removed and filled one at a time.  All lids (flats) should be placed in a small pan of boiling water.

Water Bath Canning

When canning tomatoes and pickled vegetable at low altitudes, the water-bath canner is your friend in the kitchen. Any large, deep kettle with a tight fitting lid can be used. A rack or false bottom on which to stand the jars should be placed in the bottom to raise the jars above the bottom to permit the circulation of boiling water.

Fill the kettle with water deep enough to cover the jars completely, and heat the water almost to the boiling point. With a jar lifter, carefully lower the hot, filled jar into the hot water, placing them so they don't touch each other. If you are processing "cold pack" fruits, the water in the kettle should be hot - not boiling. Add more water if necessary to bring the water at least an inch over the tops of the jars. Cover the kettle and bring to a rolling boil. Turn down the heat and boil gently but steadily for the amount of processing time given in the specific directions for each product you are canning. 


If the water evaporates, add more boiling water, the jars must remain under water for the processing time. At the end of the processing time, remove the cover and turn off the fire. I usually wait for at least a half hour before I remove my jars from the canner, I find that if you remove them too soon the contents of the jars starts to boil and I have had some products leak out. Use the jar lifter to carefully remove the jars and place them on a towel on the counter out of drafts. I then cover the jars with another towel and let them cool down slowly. When thoroughly cool, check the seal, wash the jars if necessary and then store in a cool dark place.


tomato1.gif (100x67 -- 7124 bytes)Tomatoes are a little different:  Immerse tomatoes for 10 seconds into boiling hot water, remove and plunge into cold water. Peel, core, and remove any soft spots or green areas, quarter and pack into hot jars to within 1/2 inch of top. DO NOT ADD LIQUID. 1 teaspoon salt per quart of 1/2 teaspoon per pint maybe added. Using clean cloth wipe off sealing edge, place on flat, and screw band down firmly tight using ONLY YOUR HANDS,  Place in water bather, process pints 35 minutes and quarts 45 minutes.


Quick tomato juice canning method:  Two milk buckets/utility pails of tomatoes yield about 12 quarts of juice.

  • Wash tomatoes and peel as described above.

  • Cut in quarters, or smaller if large tomatoes - about 1 1/2 inch pieces at the widest.

  • Using blender, with center part removed from lid, blend on highest setting.

  • Keep hole covered with your hand to prevent splatters.

  • Strain through colander if you want the seeds removed.

  • Bring to boil, fill jars, and water bath for 15 minutes.

Pressure Canning

pressurecooker.jpg (125x109 -- 3466 bytes) If you have access to a pressure canner, you can process non-acid vegetables, meats, poultry, fish. Don't be tempted to use one of those small home pressure cookers meant for preparing meals - they are not reliable enough to guarantee the correct pressure. Follow the directions that came with your pressure canner, but these are the general rules. Put in enough boiling water to reach the rack. Place the filled, sealed jars on the rack so steam can flow around each jar. Secure the lid of the canner and place over the heat with the weight gage OFF. Do not put on the weight until a live jet of steam is coming from the vent for approx 5 minutes. This will insure that all the air has been driven from the canner. Then put on the weight and let the pressure rise to 10 pounds. When 10 pounds is reached, the weighted gage will rock and some steam will escape. Reduce the heat so that the weighted gage, rocks gently 2 to 3 times per minute. Start timing at this point. Fluctuation of pressure causes the liquid to boil out of the jars. 


At the end of the processing time turn off the heat and let the canner sit quietly until the pressure drops to zero.  This can take the better part of an hour so have patience! Never rush the cooling, a sudden drop in pressure will cause a great deal of breakage and a loss of liquid from the jars. When cool, slowly remove the weighted gage and open the cover and tilt away from your face. Remove the jars with a jar lifter and place on a towel out of drafts to completely cool. wash, check the seal, and label. If liquid has boiled out of the jars, DO NOT open the jar and add more liquid, use just as they are.

Processing Time for Pressure Canning

All vegetables are at 10 pound pressure unless otherwise noted.
beans green- wax2025
beans lima4050
brussels sprouts4555

bread and butter510
cross cut slices5
sweet gherkins5
dill, fermented whole15

dill, unfermented whole fresh pack


Apples, apricot, peaches, and pears should be processed in water bath 20 minutes for pints and 25 minutes for quarts.


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Care of Canned Food


When the jars are cool and you washed and labeled them and checked the seal, place them in a cool dark dry area. If the area is too warm, canned foods lose quality quickly. If the place is damp, the metal lids of glass jars will corrode, causing eventual leakage.

If all instructions are followed there should be no reason for food to spoil, but if it does happen it's usually do to carelessness on our part. Examine each jar carefully before opening; bubbling or foaming in a jar, or leaking around the lid is a signal to toss the jar out - don't even think about tasting it. Also if you notice unpleasant aroma or odor or a bulging lid - again toss it out. No point in spending time in the Emergency Room telling the Doctors..."yes I did know better"!

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