Canning with kids isn’t as scary as it sounds – especially when the result is the best peach salsa you’ve tasted. ~ by Serena Ball, MS, RD
Last week I did some old fashioned canning with my kids.
Now before you assume I have gotten too enthusiastic about kids in the kitchen and have gone whacko by letting my kids get near a boiling water bath, let me explain…
This is the first year I’ve let my girls, 9 and 6 years old, into the kitchen while canning. (The 4 year old and baby were not allowed in.)
My kids have learned a healthy respect for hot things, but never to fear them. We are crazy cautious about using oven mitts, turning pot handles to the back of the stove, checking tap water before plunging hands in, etc. To be fearful of hot things causes excited, scared reactions – not slow careful movements. Not to mention that being scared of the stove would mean the 9 year old would not have the satisfaction of making her own sunny-side up egg breakfast.
My girls LOVED canning with me. They loved feeling grown up enough to do it and enjoyed being in the kitchen doing an assembly line of work all together.
And the bonus: the extra helping hands cut my work time almost in half while canning batches of tomato salsa, tomato sauce and Peach Salsa Chili Sauce.
TIPS FOR CANNING WITH KIDS:
Equipment for kids:
• The smallest rubber gloves you can find + stool to reach counter
• Hair pulled back, long-sleeved shirt, long apron tied tightly, shoes (not sandals or just socks.)
- Use jar lifter tongs, to pick up any cup/glass plus different sized canning jars filled with water to practice lifting jars.
- Stick lid lifter magnet to everything metal around the kitchen
Canning tasks for kids:
• Wash the jars, lids and bands in soapy water; dry
• Wash and scrub all fruits and veggies
• Roughly chop fruits and veggies like bell peppers, peaches, pears and tomatoes – because they don’t need to be uniformly sized
• Slip the skins off tomatoes and peaches after they blanch in hot water to help the skins slip off easily.
• Stir a large pot of salsa (or jelly or pickle liquid)
• Carefully (using rubber gloves) pour hot salsa through funnel into jars.
• Run bubble remover spatula around edge of jar (hold hot jar with rubber gloves)
• Using the lid lifter magnet, fish the lids out of warm water and align on jars
• Screw on bands while holding hot jar with oven mits
• Use jar clamps to carefully lift jars and place into jar basket for processing
Tasks for parents (what I didn’t feel comfortable with my daughters doing yet):
• Fish tomatoes and peaches out of boiling blanching water
• Wipe tops of jars to remove spills before adding lid – this is a critical step – and without a clean top, the jars may not seal properly
• Remove hot jars from boiling hot water bath after processing
And then, it was all over and we all sat back and soaked up the satisfaction of pretty finished jars of this recipe for Peach Salsa Chili Sauce which is TO DIE FOR! The girls and I polished off a whole jar in celebration of our canning success.
Now what do you think, am I’m totally crazy for canning with my kids? Have you ever attempted a surprising feat with your kids in the kitchen?