The best quality of aluminum is the ideal material for the preserving kettle; but granite, porcelain or earthenware may be used.
Thorough sterilization of the jars or cans is one of the most important parts of fruit canning. I always wash and sterilize mine when I empty them.
After washing the covers of Mason jars, bake them in a moderate oven for 2 or 3 hours; scrape them on the inside if necessary but do not wet them, and screw them on to the jars, which should have been well washed, scalded, wiped with a clean towel and thoroughly dried by standing right side up in a warm place.
The rubbers should be put on when the covers are, so that the jars will be all ready for use.
When old rubbers are in good condition they are just as good as new ones. Sometimes two thin ones may be used together.
There is a certain black rubber that should not be used with delicate flavored fruits as it injures their flavor. It does not improve the flavor of any fruit.
New rubbers should be washed and rubbed well in soapsuds and rinsed before using.
Keep the jars in a dry place and when you come to use them turn them over once in a pan of boiling water, scalding the covers the same.
Do not waste time, strength, jars or sugar on imperfect, decayed or unripe fruit. The probabilities are that it will not keep; and if it does the appearance and flavor will be inferior.
Put the fruit into the jars boiling hot and seal immediately. Do not try to remove the froth or air bubbles (pure air will do no harm in cans, and it will be pure when the fruit is at boiling heat all around it and will remain so if the can is well sealed), because while you are trying to let the air out the fruit is cooling on top and the germs from the outside air are settling upon it.
If the fruit gets below the boiling point while filling the jars, return it to the fire and reheat it. Fill the jars to overflowing. Fasten the covers on perfectly tight, press the edges down all around into the rubber of Mason jars, if inclined to leak. Do not tighten the covers after the fruit is cold.
With Lightning jars it is sometimes necessary to slip little splinters of wood (bits of berry boxes) under the wires to make the covers tight enough.
When the covers are perfectly adjusted, invert the jars and leave them until cool. This not only shows whether any are leaking or not but fills any spaces there may be.
Keep canned fruit in a dark place. The light will cause it to lose its flavor as well as color. Wrap jars in paper if necessary.
The simplest way to fill jars is to set them in a row on a towel wrung out of cold water and folded so that it is thick. The jars must be cold also. Or, the towel may be wrung out of hot water and the jars rinsed in hot water before filling. In either case have the covers warm.
Bear in mind that "sugar, when largely used, is more injurious than meat,"
Gooseberries canned without water or sugar make delightful, fresh tasting pies in winter.
Never fail to secure black currants if possible for pies.
Always label fruit before putting it away, giving the year in which it was put up.
Canned fruits and vegetables should be opened two hours or more before serving, to give the fresh taste which comes with the restoration of oxygen.
There is much work at the best connected with fruit canning, so I have tried to simplify it as much as possible. The methods given here are those which I have used for years with good results.