NDSU Extension - Benson County


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Prepare to Preserve

By Kimberly Fox, Extension Agent Family Nutrition Program/Family and Consumer Science

Before you begin preserving your produce, there is a fair amount of preparation involved.  Following the proper preparation guidelines is a great way to ensure the food you will later be consuming is safe. 

First, be sure to wash the jars, lids, and bands in hot, soapy water.  Even if they are new this should be done to ensure all of the unwanted bacteria is gone.  Then, be sure to rinse everything off well.

The jars should be kept warm until you are ready to can.  This is done to ensure that the jars will not break, especially when they are filled with hot foods.  The temperature difference can easily break glass, which is the last thing anyone needs when preserving their produce.  Jars can be heated in a pot of simmering water or in a heated dishwasher. 

Once your canner is prepared for either water bath (used for fruits, pickles, sauerkraut, jams, jellies, marmalades, fruit butters/spreads, and tomatoes if lemon juice or citric is added) or pressure canning (poultry, meat, soup, seafood, and all fresh vegetables with the exception of tomatoes) the jars can be filled.  Follow your canning recipe for guidelines as to how high to fill your jar.  There needs to be some space between the rims to allow for food expansion during the canning process. 

Next, be sure to remove the air bubbles from the jar by using a spatula to press around the sides of the jars.  Finally, wipe the edges of the jars clean, and twist them on so that they are finger tight.  It is important not to over tighten them, as some air needs to escape during the canning process.  From here, you will need to follow the specific instructions based on water bath or pressure canning.  Once your food has been preserved for the recommended amount of time, turn off the heat, and let the jars stand in the water for about 5 minutes.  The jars should then be removed from the water and set on a towel or wire rack for the next 12 hours to cool. 

Here is a recipe for a breakfast burrito with salsa.  The perfect way to use some of the salsa that you canned.  Enjoy!


  • 4 eggs
  • 1/8 cup frozen corn
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 2 tablespoons diced green pepper
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 1/16 cup tomatoes, fresh (1 Tablespoon, diced)
  • 1 teaspoon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic
  • hot pepper sauce (optional)
  • 4 flour tortillas, 8 inches
  • 1/4 cup salsa (canned)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large mixing bowl, blend the eggs, corn, milk, green peppers, onions, tomatoes, mustard, garlic, hot pepper sauce, and salt for 1 minute until eggs are smooth.  Pour egg mixture into a lightly oiled 9x9x2 inch baking dish and cover with foil.  Bake for 20-25 minutes until eggs are set and thoroughly cooked.  Wrap tortillas in plastic and microwave for 20 seconds until warm. Be careful when unwrapping the tortillas. The steam can be hot.  Cut baked egg mixture into 4 equal pieces and roll 1 piece of cooked egg in each tortilla.  Serve each burrito topped with 2 Tablespoons of salsa.

Makes 4 servings.  Each serving contains 247 calories, 9 grams of fat, 506 mg sodium, and 30 grams carbohydrates.


  • Ball: Let’s Start Preserving, 2011
  • SDA, Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), Food Family Fun
  • Questions and Answers About Using a Boiling Water-bath Canner, NDSU Extension, 2015
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