Next in line, we consider vegetables: the largest group of can-ables you’ll ever work with in your kitchen. Given their variety, vegetables may look rather intimidating on the surface, but–truly, even in combination–they’re probably some of the easiest things you’ll ever put in a canning jar … especially when it comes to adjusting your canning pressure to better suit your elevation.
Just like with tomatoes, if you’re canning something simple and straightforward–a plain vegetable or something seasoned simply with just a little bit of salt, something like asparagus, beets, or cream corn–then congratulations! The NCHFP already has you and your canning project covered! Their list of vegetables–found here–is fairly extensive, and I would strongly suggest that–when you’re canning a plain veggie–you use the specific NCHFP recipe for that vegetable. There’s no sense in reinventing the wheel, and the recipes found on the NCHFP website have been scientifically proven, and they’re repeatable. Repeatable means that–if you follow the recipe precisely–you’ll end up with the exact same product they got in the lab at University of GA, back when they first perfected the recipe.
Out of twenty-three vegetables on the list, including two–Mixed Vegetables and Succotash–that are combination of more than one vegetable, and discounting the duplications (Pumpkins and Winter Squash/Winter Squash and Pumpkins), and setting the recipes for baked beans, beans with tomato or molasses sauce, and soup aside for right now (I’ll address those combinations separately) … all of the remaining vegetables (see the list below) are simply packed in water, maybe with a little salt … and that’s it. When you finish canning your jars of those vegetables, they’re just like the cans of solo vegetables you buy at the grocery store. The NCHFP and their university partners have researched and perfected repeatable recipes to can the following vegetables safely, so–again–there’s no need to reinvent the wheel in these cases. They’ve already done all the work for you.
I’ve listed each vegetable below, including their canning times–in minutes–for pints/quarts–unless otherwise notated–and included a link to the NCHFP’s directions in each case:
- Beans or Peas (Dried)–75/90
- Beans (Fresh Lima)–40/50
- Beans (Snap, Italian, Green, Wax)–20/25
- Corn (Cream)–85 **pints only
- Corn (Whole Kernel)–55/85
- Mixed Vegetables–75/90
- Mushrooms–45 **1/2 pints & pints
- Peas (Green or English)–40 **both pints & quarts
- Peppers–35 **1/2 pints & pints
- Potatoes (Sweet)–65/90
- Potatoes (White)–35/40
- Pumpkins and Winter Squash–55/90
- Spinach and Other Greens–70/90
NOTE: if you want to can a particular vegetable–but it’s not on that list I put together above–then there’s a chance your vegetable may be on the canning No-No List. Don’t just can it anyway. Do some research into why it’s not listed. It could save your life.
Look back for a moment at that spread of required times across the vegetable category. The times range from a low of 20/25 (snap/green beans) to a high of 75/90 (dry beans or mixed vegetables) or–possibly–cream corn at 85 minutes for pints. Some things make sense–like–it’s not surprising that fresh green beans need a whole lot less duration than dry beans. And then some things make no sense at all–like–why sweet potatoes take so much longer than white potatoes to pressure can. Sweet potatoes bake in 40-60 minutes … white potatoes take a hour to an hour and a half to get soft … yet, sweet potatoes take almost twice as long to can safely as white potatoes? Lima beans are fairly tiny when you compare them to asparagus spears, yet lima beans take a good bit longer to pressure can–even though they have more surface area and they’re surrounded with more water … which is one of the best conductors of heat around–than great big asparagus spears do? And then why does something as thin as spinach take twice as long to pressure can as pints of potato chunks?
Okay, I actually know the answer to that last one It’s because the spinach leaves lay on top of each other, shutting out any air or water between them … so they become more like a solid mass for the purposes of canning, not a bunch of leafy greens. If you get an entire jar of spinach leaves all pressing on each other … it makes a LOT thicker mass than chunks of potatoes surrounded by water, so the heat doesn’t penetrate it as well.
Aren’t you glad that the NCHFP has already done the scientific experimentation on these individual vegetables? That they’ve already given us tried and true, scientifically-repeatable canning recipes that we can use in our own kitchens … without having to worry about damaging our family’s health. Thank goodness that’s the case! If it were left up to you and me to figure the timing out by ourselves–without access to the equipment they use to take the temperature of jars, or their ability to detect canning cooties in canned food … without having to resort to eating spoonfuls of it, of course … it could be ugly
So we have all the timing and recipes we need for the vegetables on our list. All we have to do is follow the NCHFP’s recipes. And–like all other pressure-canned recipes–the time doesn’t change as the elevation goes up, not like it does with BWB canning. In pressure canning … the required pressure goes up as the elevation goes up, which–in turn–means the pot gets hotter, too. Luckily, the adjustments are fairly standard across the category as well … both for dial-gauge canners:
… and for weight-gauge canners:
Fairly simple, right?
With Beans (Baked, 65/75 minutes of timing) and Beans (dry, with Tomato or Molasses sauce, also 65/75 minutes of timing), the recipes are a little more involved. They require some additional ingredients and cooking … but the adjustments for elevation are exactly the same as shown on the charts above.
Finally, the recipe for Soups also adjusts in the same manner … and–if I were you–I’d commit Soups to memory! That’s the recipe where–pretty much, short of the real no-no foods–if you have a recipe that contains meat and vegetables … and you don’t have any canning instructions for it … would it perhaps qualify as soup? I mean, the instructions for soup say:
Vegetable, dried bean or pea, meat, poultry, or seafood soups can be canned. Caution: Do not add noodles or other pasta, rice, flour, cream, milk or other thickening agents to home canned soups. If dried beans or peas are used, they must be fully rehydrated first. … Select, wash, and prepare vegetables, meat and seafoods as described for the specific foods. Cover meat with water and cook until tender. Cool meat and remove bones. Cook vegetables. For each cup of dried beans or peas, add 3 cups of water, boil 2 minutes, remove from heat, soak 1 hour, and heat to boil; drain. Combine solid ingredients with meat broth, tomatoes, or water to cover. Boil 5 minutes. Caution: Do not thicken. Salt to taste, if desired. Fill jars halfway with solid mixture. Add remaining liquid, leaving 1-inch headspace.
How many recipes can YOU think of that you could fit into that category? I don’t know about you … but I can think of tons of them … and a lot of them aren’t traditionally thought of as soup. But–hey!–if I can work or rework the recipe around so that it doesn’t contain any banned foods! … and it fits the definition a mix of veggies and/or meat … half solids/half liquids in that standard soup recipe… and that means I’m able to can it? … then I don’t really care what they call it
When you’re canning “soup,” your timing is 60 minutes for pints/75 minutes for quarts … or 100 minutes for either size if they contain any sort of seafood. Adjust for elevation using the same “vegetable” charts above, based on whether you use a dial-gauge or a weight-gauge canner.