Only use ingredients that are very fresh, in perfect condition, andnottoo ripe.
Wash, wipe dry,and trim carefully.
Wash the jars with boiling water before adding the ingredients.
The jars must be perfectly clean and dry. Always use new seals or lids for each new batch.
Do not fill the jars to the brim—leave ⅓ to ⅔ in. (1 to 2 cm).
Remove any air bubbles by firmly pressing the contents down to the bottom of the jar.
If the contents leak in the upside-down position, wipe with a clean, damp cloth.
Label thejars with thedate of preparation and the contents and keep in a cool, dry place away from the light.
Wait at least 2 months before sampling your preserves; do not keep longer than 1 year (except salted anchovies).
Once opened, the jars must be kept cool and the contents consumed as soon as possible.
To sterilize thejars and vacuum-seal the contents, place in a pan and stabilize them with a cloth or piece of card.
Cover the jars with water to come about 1 to 2 in. (2 to 5 cm) above the lid and bring to a boil.
Allow 20 to 60 minutes cooking time, depending on the size of the jars (20 minutes for jars up to ½ lb. [250 g], 30 minutes for jars up to 1 lb. [500 g], 45 minutes for jars up to 2 lb. [1 kg], and 60 minutes for jars up to 3 lb. [1.5 kg]).
Let the jars cool in this water. If the sterilization process has happened correctly, the lid will be slightly depressed.
Remove the jars from the water and wipe them dry carefully before storing them.
Jellies and preserves in vinegar do not require sterilization.
For preserved vegetables it is always necessary to boil the vegetables in an acidulated solution. This is to avoid contamination from botulism. The solution must contain a ratio of at least ⅔ vinegar to water (or the juice of 3 lemons for 4 cups/1 liter water). Salt is also important for the preserving process. The cooking time will vary, depending on the size of the pieces of vegetables, but it is preferable to leave them al dente, because they will continue to “cook” during the preserving process. Vegetables prepared in this way can be kept in this same solution, or removed and dried well, before being covered with olive oil to preserve them.
When opening jars of preserves, discard any contents that do not seem to have vacuum-sealed successfully, appear to have deteriorated, or give off an unpleasant smell.
Add a few spoonfuls of soybean oil to your preserves in olive oil to prevent them from solidifying in the refrigerator.