With the end of summer quickly approaching and the fall season sneaking in on the breeze it is the perfect time to prepare yourself for some fall canning.  You have labored and toiled in your garden, resulting in a bountiful and fruitful harvest, and the time tested methods of canning are the perfect way to enjoy that harvest all throughout the coming year.  

Here are just a few tips and tricks that will get you started on the right foot this canning season. 

First, consider what you would like to preserve.  Canning, while a great way to preserve food, does take a fair amount of effort and time so make sure that you are investing that time in things that your family will thoroughly enjoy using throughout the coming years.  
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Second, make sure that you have enough supplies for what you intend to can.  If you plan on doing a large amount of canning this fall then be on the lookout for good quality jars and yard and estate sales, as this is often the largest upfront cost to new canners.  

There can be a fair amount of costs involved in getting together all of your supplies if you are new to this process, but rest assured that most of the investment will be used year after year.  Also, depending on what types of food you intend to can you may consider investing in a good quality pressure canner.  
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Next, it is very important to keep in mind that the quality of what goes in the jar will be the same thing that comes out!  Using overripe or underripe fruits and vegetables will only preserve them in that state, so only can with fresh and ripe produce.
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Fourth, many home canners use the water bath method to preserve many of the garden’s harvest.  When using this method, you need to keep in mind your altitude.

 At higher altitudes water will boil at lower temperatures so an increase in the processing time will be required to ensure the food reaches the appropriate temperature according to food safety guidelines.

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Fifth, after putting in all the effort to prep the produce and to can it, it can be very disappointing if you do not get a sufficient seal on the can.  Don’t despair!  Anything jars that fail to seal can be reprocessed in a clean jar with a new lid.

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Finally, when all the canning is complete make sure to store your jars WITHOUT the screw bands still attached.  If you leave them on there is a possibility that they can rust right to the lid and ruin all of your hard work!

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