Home Canning Techniques and Tips

Dr. Mark Povroznik, Chief Quality Officer at United Hospital Center, grew up canning foods and he understands the benefits and risks associated with food preservation.

“This annual tradition is a fun time to have the family together,” said Dr. Povroznik. “Telling stories and ending up with a product that we can savor all year long is well worth the time.”

Canning holds many merits, but if someone is not vigilant, an unwanted outcome may develop. Dr. Povroznik said that Botulism may contaminate your food, but precautions can help prevent this.

Dr. Povroznik recommends that a novice read from a number of reputable websites or publications before starting. He also advocates that investing in the correct equipment is essential to proper canning.

“Be highly aware of low-acidic foods that are at the highest risk for spoilage and Botulism. Some of these foods include green beans, beets, potatoes, essentially all meats, and certain tomatoes,” said Dr. Povroznik. “The proper way to process these foods is by a pressure canner.”


  1. Sterilize canning jars and lids in boiling water for at least 5 minutes before filling.
  2. Pack salsa into hot, sterilized jars, filling to within 1/4 inch of the top.
  3. Run a knife or thin spatula around the insides of the jars after they have been filled to remove any air bubbles.
  4. Wipe the rims of the jars with a moist paper towel to remove any splatter from filling.
  5. Top with lids and screw on rings “finger tight”. If you put the lids too tight, air cannot escape properly.
  6. Place a rack in the bottom of a large stockpot and fill halfway with water.
  7. Bring to a boil then gently lower jars into the boiling water using a holder.
  8. Pour in more boiling water if necessary to bring the water level to at least 1 inch above the tops of the jars.
  9. Bring the water to a rolling boil, cover the pot, and boil for 35 minutes.
  10. Remove the jars from the stockpot and place onto a towel a few inches apart, until completely cool.
  11. Once completely cool, press the top of each lid with a finger, ensuring that the seal is tight (lid does not move up or down at all). Store in a cool, dark area. For jars that did not seal, place in the refrigerator to enjoy first.
  12. Finally, remove the rings once the jars have cooled and are sealed for storage.

Dr. P’s Salsa Recipe

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