Barb and Frank Wloka, owners of Wloka Farms Fruit Stand. (Submitted)

Barb and Frank Wloka, owners of Wloka Farms Fruit Stand. (Submitted)

Wloka Farms: Canning 101

How many pounds of veggies do you need to fill a jar? Barb Wloka answers this question.

One of the most common questions about canning is “How many pounds do I need to do X number of jars?” Although the product being canned and how well the product is packed can make a difference, there are a couple of basic rules that the experiences of customers have shown to run true.

For a standard quart (litre) jar, one to two pounds of product is needed. That huge range is dependant on how the product is prepared before going into the jars.

For example, take peaches. If the plan is to do full halves, a pound per quart jar will be all that is needed. By cutting the peaches into quarters, approximately 1.2 pounds will be required. When the peaches are cut into slices, that quantity will up to about 1.5 pounds per jar. If a person is willing to chunk the peaches then 1.8 to two pounds can be used to fill the jars (not the most beautiful look, but certainly makes a jar go a lot further and, in the end, all the peach pieces will be chunked anyway). Reaching two pounds, however, does take a very good packer to push those chunks in the jar.

Much the same for a product like tomatoes – canning whole tomatoes will require about a pound per jar, slicing the tomatoes increases the poundage, and chunking or saucing the tomatoes will require up to two pounds per jar. The trick here, though, is that if a person is adding anything extra (onions or peppers for example) the quantities change – sometimes drastically.

The one exception that seems to exist is dill cucumbers. Even with a nice blend of baby dills, it is near impossible to pack a full two pounds into a quart jar. Over the years of listening to customers’ experiences, a pound to 1.5 pounds of product is the usual range for dill cukes. Bread and butter pickles are still in the 1.5 pounds of cukes per jar range simply because of all the other items added.

Although it would seem logical that a pint (or half litre) jar would then just be half the amount, that is not true. Because of the head space required, the weight of produce needed is more like 3/8 that of the larger jar.

Best idea – determine the method for canning, figure out how many pounds may be needed and then add a bit more. As there is nothing worse than not having enough product when canning, best to have extra. Anything left over may be frozen for later, enjoyed fresh, or cooked up into a dish to be enjoyed right away.

Barb Wloka is owner/operator of Wloka Farms Fruit Stand in Creston, B.C. She and her husband, Frank, have farmed for over 40 years and have learned a lot through trial and error. To grow their knowledge base, both continually research and collaborate with others. They also pick up tidbits of information from staff and customers. Learning to farm is a life-long educational experience!

READ MORE: Wloka Farms: The tricky practice of irrigation

Creston Valley

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