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Canning?

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Re: Canning?

Post  Jeff Buffington on 3/27/2010, 12:03 am

@SirTravers wrote:I've got the big steel pots for sterilizing the jars, but I haven't found one of the big giant pressure cookers anywhere locally. Anybody have a good, affordable source for those?

Wal-Mart... if you get it at the right time of the year. Funny thing about them, they don't always carry the canning stuff. Just like the Easter and Christmas stuff.. it's a "seasonal" thing.

I picked up one of the pressure cookers, for a reasonable price, and a flat of large and small canning jars with lids. Price was a big concern for me, so the size I got will "pressure" can the small jars, and will water-bath the large ones. It included a tray to keep the jars off direct heat.

From what I understand, it's really a matter of what you are canning that determines which method you need to use (under pressure vs. water bath.)

BTW, I think the links to the 'official' cannings sites should be stickied... they are very informative (sometimes overly so.. ) Smile

OH! I also want more canning recipies! I'm still trying to perfect my (truly) sweet banana peppers.. Wink I want to recapture the taste I recall as a child.. so I'm glad vinegar and sugar aren't in short supply... rock on

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Re: Canning?

Post  camprn on 3/27/2010, 9:20 am

@boffer wrote:So there we were in the kitchen with leather welding aprons on, gloves, and full face shield protection. (dang we got hot) No horror story to tell about it but.....somebody finally said to me 'you know, there's less pressure in that cooker than there is in your car's radiator'. Well phooey, I'm not scared of radiators (although I respect them when hot) why I am scared of a pressure cooker? That's the day we really started enjoying canning.
Ha! Great story! Laughing

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Re: Canning?

Post  herblover on 3/27/2010, 10:00 pm

Check out www.freshpreserving.com; which is Ball's website. The Ball Blue Book is the "Bible" of home canning. I would definitely encourage you to try; if you can boil water you can water bath can. Pressure canning can be a little trickier and is definitely a little scary at first, but certainly not too hard. The simplest things to start might be jams/jellies, tomatoes, or pickles.

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Re: Canning?

Post  jjphoto on 3/27/2010, 10:31 pm

That's a great story Boffer! My friend has a story about using a pressure cooker to cook some beans when he lived way up in the mountains and it blew through his roof.

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Re: Canning?

Post  chocolatepop on 3/28/2010, 1:03 am

Here is another link
http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/publications/publications_usda.html

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Re: Freezing, AR Gardener

Post  ander217 on 3/28/2010, 9:18 am

AR Gardener, when I freeze fruits and veggies I follow the recommendations in the Blue Book. Most veggies need to be blanched first, and the Blue Book or similar publications will give you the time for each veggie. It takes very little time in the boiling water - usually two to five minutes, just long enough to halt the enzyme action.

Peppers don't have to be blanched because if I understand it correctly, they do not contain the enzymes that change the nature of the food during its frozen state. My 4-H leader used to say that the food, "Kept on growing," unless it was blanched to stop those enzymes. Fruit doesn't have to be blanched, either, and I've never blanched tomatoes - I guess they are a fruit, too.

To freeze tomatoes, I dunk them in boiling water for a minute, peel them, and then either crush them and bag them juice and all, or I dice them and add to a freezer bag with the juice. When thawed, they will be watery and not good for fresh uses such as salads, but they are great in soups and chili, - anything in which you would use canned tomatoes.

For peppers, I either wash, dry, and bag them whole, removing seeds later, or I wash them, remove seeds, and dice them first. Again, they are best used for cooking. They will keep for several months. (It won't make you sick to eat frozen foods past their prime, but they begin to lose their flavor, texture, and vitamins with prolonged time in the frozen state.)

For things like peas and whole green beans, I blanch them the proper time, dry them, and them spread them on a cookie sheet and freeze them individually before bagging them so that I can remove a small amount at a time from the large bags I use for freezing them. I often get only small batches at a time from my garden, and by using a large bag in this manner, I can keep adding to the bag until it is full. Remove as much air as possible from the bags before sealing as it is exposure to air which causes quality decline in the freezer.

IMO, corn is the most difficult thing to freeze, but probably the most rewarding, flavorwise. Corn must be blanched and then quickly cooled or it can sour. After blanching a large pot of corn, I place it in the sink which is half-filled with ice water, and I stir the corn frequently, replenishing the ice as needed until most of the heat is gone. I put it in quart-size freezer containers, label the date and contents, and freeze it when completely cooled. Allow about an inch headspace in the containers for expansion during freezing.

Do not salt or season vegetables to be frozen. That should be done during the final cooking process.

When frozen properly, I think frozen veggies are the closest thing to fresh we can get in the off-season.

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Freezing aromatics

Post  LaFee on 3/28/2010, 10:10 am

You can also freeze bell peppers in a "ready to use" state -- dice them, spread them out on a cookie sheet and freeze, then store in plastic bag. This also works well for onions. They're then easy to take out a spoonful or a cupful at a time to suit whatever recipe you're working on.

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Re: Canning?

Post  boffer on 3/28/2010, 10:21 am

@ander217 wrote:
IMO, corn is the most difficult thing to freeze, but probably the most rewarding, flavorwise.

I agree, but I want to emphasize that it's important that your corn be at it's peak and as fresh as possible ie. put on your pot of water to boil, then go pick the corn. If you do, there will be a minimal loss of flavor.

If you don't, it will taste like the frozen corn from the grocery store. There's no reason for your corn to taste that bad!

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Re: Canning?

Post  jjphoto on 3/28/2010, 11:16 am

@jjphoto wrote:When they say to "boil the food before tasting" does that mean you put the sealed jar back in boiling water for the allotted time?

Can someone shed some light on this?

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Re: Canning?

Post  Kabaju42 on 3/28/2010, 12:01 pm

@ander217 wrote:... I've never blanched tomatoes - I guess they are a fruit, too.

To freeze tomatoes, I dunk them in boiling water for a minute, peel them, and then either crush them and bag them juice and all, or I dice them and add to a freezer bag with the juice.

Sorry but Isn't dunking the tomatoes in water for a minute blanching them?

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Freezing Tomatoes

Post  nidiyao on 3/28/2010, 12:02 pm

My neighbor freezes lots of tomatoes and told me you don't need to skin, the skins slip right off when you use them. She must thaw before using, I might just throw them in whole and then fish out the skins. I guess it depends what you are making.

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Re: Canning?

Post  Kabaju42 on 3/28/2010, 12:12 pm

I think it just depends on preference if you peel your tomatoes before, after, or at all. When we make a tomato based sauce out of fresh tomatoes we just leave the skin on. Call us crazy, but we like it like that.

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Re: Canning?

Post  Kabaju42 on 3/28/2010, 12:14 pm

@jjphoto wrote:
@jjphoto wrote:When they say to "boil the food before tasting" does that mean you put the sealed jar back in boiling water for the allotted time?

Can someone shed some light on this?

Sorry I was late to this thread jjphoto so I'm not sure. Could you tell me what the context of that is.

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Re: Canning?

Post  herblover on 3/28/2010, 1:58 pm

The Ball website has lots of additional recipes beyond what is in the book. Another book I would recommend is "The Practical Produce Cookbook" by Ray and Elsie Hoover. It is arranged alphabetically by vegetable and includes info from how to grow and preserve each type of veggie and lots of recipes for each, including preservation recipes.
I also diced up and froze my jalapeno and bell peppers last year and noted what quantity equals a whole pepper (ex 1T of jalapeno= 1 fresh pepper diced) to use in recipes.

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Re: Canning?

Post  jjphoto on 3/28/2010, 6:03 pm

@Kabaju42 wrote:
@jjphoto wrote:
@jjphoto wrote:When they say to "boil the food before tasting" does that mean you put the sealed jar back in boiling water for the allotted time?

Can someone shed some light on this?

Sorry I was late to this thread jjphoto so I'm not sure. Could you tell me what the context of that is.

It just said that when you're ready to eat your canned food to boil the food before tasting. Does that mean you put the whole can in a waterbath again before you open it? I'm confused.

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boiling canned food before tasting

Post  ander217 on 3/28/2010, 7:15 pm

JJPhoto, when the instructions say to boil the food before tasting, it means to open the jar, pour the contents into a pan, and boil it at a rolling boil. Microwaving won't work, since it may not cook evenly.

Someone asked what kind of containers I use for freezing fruits and veggies. I used to save cottage cheese containers or similar used containers, but after the scare about reusing plastics, I play it safe and buy freezer bags or firm plastic containers made for freezing. I usually make freezer jam in glass pint jars, and I occasionally use jars for other items, but I mainly use freezer bags for fruit and veggies, which stack flatly on the shelves. Sometimes I buy pint or quart freezer containers in a square shape which fit better than rounded ones.

I've found that lids sometimes pop off of the hard plastic containers if I accidentally bump them while looking for something in the freezer, which is why I prefer using freezer bags.
It's really just a matter of personal preference.

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Re: Canning?

Post  Kabaju42 on 3/28/2010, 7:18 pm

That's odd; I never heard of that before. I haven't done canning personally yet, but I know others that do and they never told me about that. My wife and I eat canned peaches and jam that my Mother-in-law makes and we've never worried about that. We just open the can and start eating. I know if the food looks bad then don't eat it because that's how you can tell if it has botulism (but then common sense would tell you that anyway; if it goes bad, it goes really bad).

Still, based on what you said boiling the unopened bottle before opening it is the only thing that would make sense to me. I don't see how else you could boil it.

JJPhoto,
when the instructions say to boil the food before tasting, it means to
open the jar, pour the contents into a pan, and boil it at a rolling
boil. Microwaving won't work, since it may not cook evenly.

Is that usually for a specific kind of food?

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boiling canned food before tasting

Post  ander217 on 3/28/2010, 7:39 pm

You don't have to boil jams, jellies, or fruit before tasting because they are high-acid foods and botulism won't grow in an acid environment. That precaution is only for low-acid foods such as green beans, potatoes, corn, etc., and mixes of food that contain low-acid foods such as salsa or soup mixes. (Onions and peppers are low-acid.)

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Re: Canning?

Post  jjphoto on 3/28/2010, 8:24 pm

I'd never boiled canned food before either. I'm assuming this would include tomatoes? That's probably where a lot of our canning will come in to play this year. Hoping to can a lot of fresh tomatoes for use later.

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Beginner Canning

Post  PB on 3/30/2010, 4:31 pm

Ball Blue Book for sure!!!

Your local extension office too.

Be careful of old books. Many things have changed over the years for food safety.
Have fun!! Just like SFG start small. The Blue Book also covers freezing.

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Mold and botulism are not the same thing

Post  ander217 on 3/31/2010, 1:51 pm

I'd like to clarify one point in this thread:

Mold and botulism are not the same thing. Molds will grow on high-acid foods, including fruits, pickles, jams, and jellies. They are even recommending that jams and jellies now be waterbathed for five minutes.

Botulism cannot be seen, tasted or smelled. It's a toxin, not a mold. It grows in low-acid environments.

Beware of old pickle recipes, because some of them called for watering down the vinegar to the point it became low-acid.

I've changed my pickled beet recipe which called for covering cooked beets with a pickling mixture of equal parts vinegar and water, and sugar to taste. The new recommendations say on dense veggies like beets, to use pure vinegar with the sugar, and no water. Since I don't like my beets that vinegary, I can them by the new recommendations, but after I open them I pour out part of the pickling juice and replace it with water. After a few days in the 'fridge, they taste almost like my old recipe.

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ander

Post  boffer on 3/31/2010, 2:15 pm

My wife and I appreciate your contribution to this thread. What we know about canning is from book learnin'. We just haven't found anyone yet whose brain we could pick. Thank you for taking the time to share your knowledge and especially your experience.

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canning

Post  ander217 on 4/1/2010, 6:18 pm

I am happy to share what I can. (Pun intended.)

I'm 55 and I've been canning since I was a young girl helping my mother and grandmothers, but it seems they change the recommendations so often that it's hard for even experienced canners to keep up. So I often feel like a newbie, too.

I err on the side of caution when it comes to home food preservation, because botulism is scary stuff. It is anaerobic and if not killed, loves the environment of low-acid home canned foods for reproducing. (Low-acid means above 4.6 ph.) It MAY produce a gas that causes a lid to bulge, and it may eventually cause foods to have an off-odor but that's not a foolproof way to judge for it because it may have no taste or smell.

I just looked it up on the 'net, and it seems that the real problem with it, is that botulism itself is a bacteria that forms a spore, and that spore produces botulism toxin. The toxin can be killed by boiling food for twenty minutes, but the spore can only be killed by extremely high temperatures, such as those reached in a commercial pressure cooker. Home pressure cookers reach about 240 degrees, a little shy of the recommended 250 degree temperature, which is why there is the recommendation to boil all home-canned food for twenty minutes before tasting. Although boiling food for twenty minutes makes it safe to eat, if the cooked food is left unrefrigerated too long a living spore that may have survived can start reproducing toxin again in the food.

Not only home-canned foods are at risk. Baked potatoes wrapped in foil and left unrefrigerated have caused botulism outbreaks, as have unrefrigerated oils with fresh herbs or garlic added. And most people know that infants should not be fed raw honey because it can contain another strain of botulism toxin that affects infant digestive tracts.

Once again, don't be afraid to can at home, (about 25 cases of botulism poisoning a year from food sources are reported to the CDC) - just use caution and follow the directions in the book.

Oh, one more thing - they now say that pumpkin is too dense to safely can at home, and shouldn't be attempted.
I'm talking too much, so bye.

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Re: Canning?

Post  Jeff Buffington on 4/2/2010, 2:26 am

@LaFee wrote:You can also freeze bell peppers in a "ready to use" state -- dice them, spread them out on a cookie sheet and freeze, then store in plastic bag. This also works well for onions. They're then easy to take out a spoonful or a cupful at a time to suit whatever recipe you're working on.
Is there any particular reason for dicing before freezing?

In the past, I've often bought the prepackaged peppers in the bag which contained some of each (green, yellow and red) bell peppers, but rarely needed all of them for what I was cooking. So, not wanting to waste those goodies... have frozen whole bell, red or yellow peppers simply by placing them into the freezer after using what I wanted or needed. Likewise, if I only find myself needing half of a pepper, I will take the remainder and put it in a ziploc bag and throw it into the freezer.

When cooked, I can't really tell the difference. Obviously, they cannot be used as you would fresh peppers in salads and the like, because they would be mushy. I also find the frozen peppers to be relatively easy to cut/dice and especially easy to remove the seeds and pulp (tends to break right out of the pepper)... so long as they remain (mostly) frozen.

I know you can buy frozen peppers, onions and even potatoes O'Brien (with peppers and onions) at the grocery stores now.

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Re: Canning?

Post  MeyerLemon on 5/14/2010, 12:55 am

I canned a little last year - mostly tomato. I made roasted tomato sauce with tomato, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, and al little basil. I think that had to process in the boiling water bath for around 40 minutes.

The guidelines in the Ball books are excellent. We ate tomato sauce all winter, and just now ran out. So great to crack open a jar, boil pasta, and just pour it over! Fast and easy meals, and the best sauce I've ever had.

I use the Cook's Illustrated Recipe, and canned according to the Ball book guidelines. Good luck!! Very Happy

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Re: Canning?

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