I have done a lot of pressure canning over the past year. I have not done a lot of water bath canning but starting researching into the different methods different people use. The FDA and other alphabet agencies in the US will tell you that you MUST pressure can low acid foods. People all around the world have been water bathing low acid foods for a very long time without issue and still do in many places. Many countries don’t even have pressure canners. The Amish and Mennonites are very well known for doing this, so many people use their methods.
In the video below you will see that they use old lids and wash jars with vinegar before canning. Some people wash in hot soapy water, rinse, then sterilize the jars. Others say just wash well and rinse. Those that sterilize will boil on the stove for 10 minutes OR place in 275F oven for 10 minutes, or 225F oven for 30 minutes. If filling with hot contents fill each jar as you remove from the water.
Some people say that unless you are going to open kettle or process for less than 10 minutes, there is no need to sterilize. The canning process will take care of sterilizing. If it’s long enough to kill all the bacteria in your food, then it is long enough to kill any bacteria on a smooth, non-porous surface. That works for me!
If you are wondering what open kettle (or to the Amish hot pack) means that they will sterilize the jars and lids, making sure the jars are very hot, then put a sterilized hot lid on the jar and leave it. As it cools it will seal. No processing or boiling. That is something I don’t think I will attempt, unless I do it with butter, which many do.
This is a chart out of an older canning book (before the alphabet agencies started taking over) When the Amish say 3 hours for quart jars that means 3 hours for pints as well, especially with meats.
YouTube Water Bathing Videos:
Here is a YouTube video showing how to water bath meat the Amish way.
This video demonstrates how to water bathe meat as well.
FaceBook Water Bath Canning Groups
Here is a list of some of the FaceBook groups where you can learn about water bath canning. Some of the members have 40-50 or more years experience.
Old Time Canning Recipes
This group uses water bath and pressure canning and some other methods. Some of the members are against water bathing low acid foods like meat but many have been doing it for decades.
Only Water Bath Canning Group (The Original Group)
I have not been accepted to this group yet.
This is the American official website where many people go to find out canning times for different foods. You will not find any low acid water bathing information here but can still look up water bath canning info for higher acid foods like tomato sauce and jams.
Here’s an example of the information you can find in the nchfp website, this is for canning tomatoes which they recommend water bath canning for.
Selecting, Preparing and Canning Tomatoes
Standard Tomato Sauce
Quantity: For thin sauce – An average of 35 pounds is needed per canner load of 7 quarts; an average of 21 pounds is needed per canner load of 9 pints. A bushel weighs 53 pounds and yields 10 to 12 quarts of sauce-an average of 5 pounds per quart.
For thick sauce – An average of 46 pounds is needed per canner load of 7 quarts; an average of 28 pounds is needed per canner load of 9 pints. A bushel weighs 53 pounds and yields 7 to 9 quarts of sauce-an average of 6½ pounds per quart.
Procedure: Prepare and press as for making tomato juice. Simmer in large-diameter saucepan until sauce reaches desired consistency Boil until volume is reduced by about one-third for thin sauce, or by one-half for thick sauce. Add bottled lemon juice or citric acid to jars (See acidification directions). Add 1 teaspoon of salt per quart to the jars, if desired. Fill jars, leaving ¼-inch headspace. Adjust lids and process. Recommended process times are given in Table 1, Table 2, and Table 3. (Acidification is still required for the pressure canning options; follow all steps in the Procedures above for any of the processing options.)
|Table 1. Recommended process time for Standard Tomato Sauce in a boiling-water canner.
|Process Time at Altitudes of
|Style of Pack
|0 – 1,000 ft
|1,001 – 3,000 ft
|3,001 – 6,000 ft
|Above 6,000 ft
This document was adapted from the “Complete Guide to Home Canning,” Agriculture Information Bulletin No. 539, USDA, revised 2015.
There is a wealth of information online about canning. This page is meant to provide some examples of the information you can find on youtube and in Facebook groups. There are many books available on canning as well. For water bathing low acid foods you will have to find the older books and perhaps books from outside of North America. I do have a book in pdf format that I can’t attach here but will have it put in our library at www.thenaturalhealthlibrary.com.