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People who like to grow their own vegetables may want to try canning peas. When doing so, it is important to use a pressure cooker rather than perform open kettle canning, as the former method kills food-borne bacteria that could cause illness. It is also very important to sanitize the jars or boil them in water for at least 10 minutes before preserving foods. A pinch of salt could add flavor to the peas, but people should not use vinegar, aspirin, or preservatives to stabilize the acid in these vegetables.
When canning peas, gardeners can achieve the best results when these vegetables have been freshly picked. Peas are ready for home canning when they are crisp and firm and fill most of the pod without bursting it open. It is a good idea to shell these peas as soon as they are picked, but if this is not possible, the pods should be stored in a cool place until an individual is ready to do so. Once the peas have been shelled, they should be canned as soon as possible because this will result in a fresher-tasting product.
Before canning peas, these vegetables should be thoroughly washed in cold water to remove dirt or insects. During this process, people can inspect the vegetables and remove any that are rotten or discolored. They should then be drained in a colander or by placing them on paper towels prior to putting them in a canning jar.
Preserving foods such as peas should be done by the raw packing method. This means that the peas do not need to be cooked before they are placed inside the jar. When canning peas, people should add enough boiling water to cover these vegetables, and this will cause the peas to cook once the canning jars have been sealed. Cooking the peas before placing them in the jar could result in a very mushy food that would be unappetizing.
Once the peas have been placed inside the jar, the next step in this home canning process is to pressure-cook them. This involves allowing the cooker to build to around 11 pounds (5 kg) of pressure, and then processing the jars for 25 to 30 minutes. People who have never used a pressure cooker to bottle foods should become familiar with how the equipment works so they do not cause injury to themselves or others while using this device.
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