Also known as hot water canning, boiling water bath processing, thermal processing, pasteurisation or bottling (bottling is the most common term used in Australia). Water bath canning may also be shortened to HWB (hot water bath) or WB (water bath) in recipes. Water bath canning is the technique used to preserve high acid food (pH equal to or below 4.6) – like fruit, tomatoes and acidified vegetables. Once your preserving recipe has been prepared, they are placed into jars, sealed with lids, then immersed in water (this water pot is known as a water bath canner) to be processed (boiled) for a specific length of time (as per our recipes) before the jars of preserves are cooled overnight, labelled and stored. Water bath canners are either manual (cooktop) or electric (plug in to power to operate without a cooktop required).
Fowlers Vacola, an Australian preserving company, has a slow-boil water bath canning unit. Bottles of prepared fruit are placed into the Fowlers Vacola preserving unit, water is added into the unit then it switched on to process for 60 minutes. All you need is the raw fruit and preserving liquid of your choice (other types of high acid preserves are cooled to room temperature before processing in the unit).
Similar in appearance to a water bath, steam canners preserve high acid preserves via steam. All water bath recipes on our website can be processed via a steam canner (if the processing time is under 45 minutes for your altitude as per the recipe processing chart). Steam canners use less water than water bath canners, so it is quicker to heat too.
Pressure canning (steam pressure canner, or PC) is a preserving method where low acid food (pH above 4.6) is placed into jars and processed in a pressure canner before pantry storage. Examples include soup, stock, stews/meals, vegetables, meat, poultry and seafood. The high temperature and pressure cooks the food through to the centre (removing bacteria, mould, yeast and enzymes), and creates a very tight vacuum seal. This guide is looking at water bath canning (the three methods above). Learn more about pressure canning with our Introduction to Pressure Canning Guide
Author: Megan Radaich           
Image Credit: Megan Radaich            
Publication: www.foodpreserving.org

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