Michigan State University Extension
Preserving Food Safely - 01600941
Begin with good-quality fresh foods suitable for canning. Quality varies among varieties of fruits and vegetables. Many county Extension offices can recommend varieties best suited for canning. Examine food carefully for freshness and wholesomeness. Discard diseased and moldy food. Trim small diseased lesions or spots from food.
Can fruits and vegetables picked from your garden or purchased from nearby producers when the products are at their peak of quality--within 6 to 12 hours after harvest for most vegetables. For best quality, apricots, nectarines, peaches, pears and plums should be ripened one or more days between harvest and canning. If you must delay the canning of other fresh produce, keep it in a shady, cool place.
Fresh home-slaughtered red meats and poultry should be chilled and canned without delay. Do not can meat from sickly or diseased animals. Ice fish and seafoods after harvest, eviscerate immediately, and can them within 2 days.