Canning?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by tambo, May 25, 2004.

  1. tambo

    tambo Well-Known Member

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    I just tried canning again after about 15 yrs.I never did alot anyway but my mother was here then to help with questions.After it was all said and done and I had time to think about it,I made it alot harder than it should have been.

    My question is how do you organize your lids,jars, pans and canner to make it go easier?

    I read on here how people can their leftovers right after supper.It would take me half the day to get ready.

    I used the water bath method.

    Tambo
     
  2. OD

    OD Well-Known Member

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    I put my clean jars in the oven at (about 175 degrees) to keep them hot. Rings & lids go in a pan of hot water on a back burner, canner & food to be canned go on the front burners. Jars come out one at a time to be filled and put in the canner.
    I replaced my water-bath canner with a steam canner & it sure does make canning go a lot faster. You don't have to wait for all that water to start boiling.
     

  3. fin29

    fin29 Well-Known Member

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    That's a great idea about keeping the jars hot.

    Steam canners are not recommended for processing food for long term storage. At the very least you should be adding a substantial amount of processing time to your recipes if you really have to use one.
     
  4. goatlady

    goatlady Well-Known Member Supporter

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    My sink, counter, stove make a real nice "L" shape so I keep the jars in the sink filled with boiling hot water, put the pan full oh hot water and lids on the counter, have the hot food pot on my right and the canner furthr to the right. I just pour the hot water from the jar into the sink, set the jar on the towel on the counter, fill the jar, put the lid/ring on and 1 step to the right into the canner it goes. Basically all within arms reach. I use pressure canners only. Really quicker and safer.
     
  5. OD

    OD Well-Known Member

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    I use a pressure canner for low acid stuff, but the steam
    canner is great for tomatoes, relishes, jellies, etc. They say you don't have to process that kind of stuff-but I do anyway.
     
  6. fin29

    fin29 Well-Known Member

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    Who says that? That would make my life easier if it were the case! :haha:
     
  7. shepmom

    shepmom Well-Known Member

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    If you pressure can or water bath process for at least 10 minutes, it's unnecessary to boil the jars and lids.

    (According to the USDA book, _Complete Guide to Home Canning and Preserving_ 2nd edition)

    I recently water bathed( I boiled the jars and lids and after I finished, I read I didn't need to do that... :p ) some jelly and it's storage length was stated to be safe for a year. (apple, grape, raspberry juice)

    Diana
     
  8. Burbsteader

    Burbsteader Well-Known Member

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    There is no way I'd not process anything! Not worth the risk, no matter who 'they' are! :haha:
    I have had to tell a friend to dump an entire day's work because she followed some 'old timer' who said things like "well, I survived just fine". :no: The recipe she gave made my skin crawl. Made me shudder again just thinking of it.

    If anyone lurking, particularly a 'newbie' to canning, and reading this is in doubt, always refer to the Ball Blue Book for guidelines. It's only $5-6 NEW.

    As for organizing, I often just run my dishwasher full of jars while I'm getting my supplies together and heating the water. Then they're still hot when I need them. My kitchen is so small that they take up too much space any other way. That's if I'm doing large batches. If I'm doing just a small batch, then I leave them in a kettle of hot, hot water on the counter.

    I find it easiest to keep all my supplies like tongs, lid lifter, funnel, etc all in my smallest kettle tucked into my other kettles. They all sit with the canners on a shelf, so all I have to do is go to one area to find whatever I need. I often raided it to get the funnel for other things, so I finally bought an extra one so I wouldn't have to hunt it down every time. I keep my canning books with my other cookbooks so they're easy to find.

    As far as leftovers, most likely you would need a pressure canner. Water bathing that type of food isn't a good idea, no matter how many people say "but I turned out just fine"! :rolleyes:
     
  9. fin29

    fin29 Well-Known Member

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    You and I are on the same wavelength on that, Burb. It constantly blows my mind that people won't can things properly-not only are you risking the health of your family for a little convenience, you're risking wasting an enormous amount of food that might come in handy when. I get shivers when I hear, "That's how my grandma did it and no one died," as though that's some kind of justification for taking shortcuts. That's like people saying "I breastfed my child in the front seat of a car in the '70s and no one got hurt," or "I worked skyscraper construction with no safety harness in the '50s and I didn't die." Doesn't mean it isn't stupid given what we know about safety these days.

    Water bath canners are only sufficient for a small number of foods, pressure CANNERS are needed for the rest. Canning takes a lot of effort, and it's foolish and unsafe to waste your time by not doing it right. Point is, though, there are smart shortcuts you can take to make the process go smoother.

    There. Rant done and on to canning fiddleheads and finishing my puff pastry (why I started making that again is beyond me...).
     
  10. Jan Doling

    Jan Doling Well-Known Member

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    I read somewhere about using a turkey fryer outdoors to can. This would be best here in Fla so as not to heat up the house or overtax the air conditioning. Would that only be for the items that can be water bath canned? Anyone have how-to suggestions for this or another outdoor method?
     
  11. mistletoad

    mistletoad Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Jan, I bought a turkey cooker for exactly that reason. I haven't actually tried it for canning yet, but plan to use the burner with my water bath and pressure canners.
     
  12. OD

    OD Well-Known Member

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    About not having to process some things:
    I have a book called "Stocking Up" from Rodale Press (printed in 1977) that has some jelly and jam recipes & some ketchup recipes that just say "pour in hot jars & seal".The ketchup recipe even says not to process.
    I would be afraid not to though--it's too much work to take a chance on it ruining!
     
  13. fin29

    fin29 Well-Known Member

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    :haha: Key word there being "1977!" Glad to hear you're processing that stuff. A few years back I tried the method where you pour hot jam into hot jars, swrewed the lids on, and turned them upside down onto the lids without processing. It worked like a charm, and within 20 minutes, all the seals were down and tight. I thought better of it and put the batch in the freezer, but I can see how people would be tempted to cheat.
    Have a good canning season.
     
  14. Ann-NWIowa

    Ann-NWIowa Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The Extension Service revised canning rules around 1989. They did extensive research to come up with the safest way to process all types of foods. The rules for meat did not change. Open kettle was deemed unsafe. Tomatoes were moved from water bath to pressure canning. Mixed recipes were tested and are considered safe when followed exactly. There is a cookbook available from the extension service in one of the Southern states that has alot of great recipes. The Ball Book is up to date. Or you can get bulletins from the extension service. The Utah (and I think Indiana--not sure on that) extension service have bulletins available on their Web sites that can be printed if you can't afford to buy the book. I've been canning since I got married in 1960 and I keep up to date. When I go to the extension service to have the gauge on my pressure canner checked I ask if there have been any changes. When I have an old recipe that I want to can, I take it to the extension service and ask if it will work. Hey, we pay these people with our tax dollars, we should make sure they earn them. By the way, they are closing extension offices in a lot of counties or at least cutting staffing way back. I think our local extension lady is now covering at least 4 counties so I would suggest you call ahead and not just drop by as I assume this would be the same everywhere.
     
  15. OD

    OD Well-Known Member

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    My mom used to do the upside-down jelly thing & she never
    had a problem with it, but I tried it one time & it was a mess! Some of it leaked out & most didn't seal. I never tried it again.
    My grandmother used to pour melted parafin on top of her's & it kept good. I wonder if anybody still does that?
     
  16. Ann-NWIowa

    You said that tomatoes where moved from water bath to pressure. My wife got the blue bell book 2/3 years ago and it still had tomatoes in water bath. Fresh salsa from home canned tomatoes :) This year she plans to do tomatoe sauce and juice as well.

    robert_jax
    Still not able to post as myself yet...
     
  17. fin29

    fin29 Well-Known Member

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    You're right, Robert. The USDA canning guide still allows for water bath canning tomatoes, but you must add citric acid, lemon juice, or vinegar to them before processing. This is because modern tomatoes have significantly lower acid content than the older varieties--you need a pH below 4.6 to safely can with a water bath. Pressure canning is what's recommended by the USDA, but only because it yields a fresher tasting and more nutritious product.

    http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/publications/publications_usda.html

    As far as the parrafin goes, that's out, too. It's a shame because it really is pretty, but it's a no-no.
     
  18. bethlaf

    bethlaf Homegrown Family

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    thank you everyone for mentioning the usda guidelines, i have had great luck talking to extension agents for canning

    what im really getting at is the turkey cooker thing for canning,
    these work great !!!
    when i can pickles or tomatoes( i grow heirlooms only, so no worry about the lower acid types) i usually do the water bath outside , it works well , and doesnt heat the house up , however, i do have one caveat, make sure the jars have cooled before bringing them inside, i had some crack when canned outside, and then brought into the AC cool house !

    good luck , and safe canning, the Ball book is cheap , and has great recipes !
    , they keep you current with all safety practices,

    i have jack o lantern jelly recipe which is from an old book , that i use every year, i brought it to the extension agent, and she says its still fine, it makes a great marmalade out of punkins and concentrate oj, so the acid is still high , i would post it, but then i would have to go and find the book .... dunno where it is right now ....
     
  19. Leay

    Leay Well-Known Member

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    I'm so glad to find this thread on canning. I have a question that nobody seems to have a answer to. I have been canning for about 5 years and have never had a problem. Last year while canning (hot water bath) tomatoes, I would have approx. one jar out of 5 break while in the bath. The jar would break around the bottom, not shatter. It usually happened about 5 minutes after the water started boiling. I made sure the jars were hot when I packed the tomatoes in them. What a mess! Does anyone have any suggestions on why this started happening all of a sudden? I didn't have any problem with food that I canned with the pressure cooker......
    Leay
     
  20. goatlady

    goatlady Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Leay, sounds like you may have a 'Hot spot" on the botton of your canner. The bottoms do wear through in spots, so the heat is much higher right at that spot and will break the jar. Eventually the canner will develop a leak at that spot. Maybe time for a new one?