Looking for a Forum on Canning

northerner_on(Z5A ONCanada)September 24, 2011

I am trying to find a forum on Canning, Freezing, and Preserves and cannot find one on GW. Am I missing it somehow? I feel there must be one. Any ideas, or any canners here? My question: I made some salsa on Thursday, packed it in sterilized jars and was called away. I was planning to process them in a hot water bath to use as gifts for Christmas. Will the salsa be properly preserved if I do it now, or do I just have to refrigerate and use?


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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

There is a licensed Food Safety person (Linda Lou) and several knowledgeable canners contributing here:

Here is a link that might be useful: GW Harvest

    Bookmark   September 24, 2011 at 6:44AM
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You may get a better answer on the recommended forum, but I saw where they just do a hot pack and seal, no bath. Even though it has low acid peppers and other stuff in it, the vinegar and acid in the tomatoes should make it safe.

The one thing though is once you open it, you don't heat to destroy any traces of ptomaine or whatever else. I don't worry too much. If it were mine, I'd let it come to room temp and stick it in a hot water bath.

If you can any low acid veggies in bulk and not part of chutney, etc., they have to be pressure ccanned for safety.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2011 at 11:35AM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

aliska, hot packing into jars and letting a seal form with no processing (neither BBW or pressure and is called 'open kettle canning') isn't recommended for anything anymore, not even jams or jellies that we used to seal with wax. Guidelines change - A tomato product unprocessed would be out of the question now.

There are mega canning instructions, recipes, videos online, unfortunately many of them unapproved and untested, outdated. Harvest Forum, and National Center for Home Food Preservation site are always safe. Drop into the Harvest forum with any questions, you'll find friendly helpful people who won't hesitate to correct any safety issues -

    Bookmark   September 24, 2011 at 1:03PM
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I guess not. I do it anyway. It's mostly for me and to go into cooking, not for gifts. If it will make you feel better, I'll not take it to a potluck, etc. Thanks for telling me the correct name of the method.

I usually at least do a hot water bath but with tomatoes, I open kettle can because it's so fast. With low acid veggies, a pressure cooker of course which I don't have.

I think I watched someone doing salsa in a video and was kind of surprised they did open kettle. I watched a video of someone canning pints of milk in a double decker pressure cooker.

During the war my mom got 1/2 a beef and worked practically round the clock canning that, probably when she got her pressure cooker.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2011 at 3:08PM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

Aliska, there were years (when she was young, poor, and raising 5 kids) that my neighbor would brown, season, and pressure can an entire elk when her freezer was full! It gave her a quick dinner to heat and serve her family over noodles or rice when she got home from work herself - her work at both the cranberry and seafood cannery. She's 84 now, alone, and still does just a little canning but has taken the time to teach me over the years.

She doesn't have a computer, but still has updated all her methods of processing through our county extension agency. She knew before I did that 10 minutes had been added to the processing we'd always used for pressure canning tuna.

Sometimes change is hard, but the thought of making someone ill isn't any easier. My open kettle dill pickles were just about the best you could ever want (snappy crunchy), but when Linda Lou on Harvest forum explained to me my pass-down recipe originated when vinegar was more than 5% acidity and it wasn't safe with todays vinegar, I stopped making them...and miss them.

More info than you need of course ;), but I'm taking a break from pruning and sitting down with a cold drink for a minute - Back the the elderly neighbor - she has described to me being made to stand all day (as a child) stoking an outside fire under a copper kettle while her mother water-bathed crab for hours and hours, it was put up any way they could or go hungry in winter. She would not consider eating or processing crab that way now though, there just was a time when people didn't have a choice if they wanted to eat.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2011 at 5:27PM
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kqcrna(z6 SW Oh)

Here's one from a website I belong to. I don't know anything about canning, so I can't recommend it, I just happened to know it's there. (I follow gardening forums on the site). Hopefully it will get thru GW, they often screen out any site that they see as possible competition.


    Bookmark   September 24, 2011 at 5:57PM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

"but with tomatoes, I open kettle can because it's so fast"

You are important too, not just those at your potlucks. Open kettle canning of tomatoes could conceivably allow organisms to grow that would then lower the acidity and allow the production of botulism...which is particularly nasty, often fatal, making those minutes you save pretty meaningless.

Please accept the warning in the spirit it is given, I'm not trying to preach or sound critical, just make sure you are aware of the risks. I went back outside, kept thinking about you, decided I had taken the easy way out by not calling your attention to the tomatoes subject. Now I'll shut up ;)

    Bookmark   September 24, 2011 at 6:06PM
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You're fine. I'd eat your pickles but I'm glad you took the time to explain why. Also enjoyed your recollections about the old lady. Lots of people salted fish to preserve I think. You are right. You do it any way you can, and there are so many skills we have lost like how to smoke a ham.

It's not that big of deal to stick jars in a water bath so if it will make you feel better, if I get some nice tomatoes, I will do it but I can't promise the full 2 inches on the top.

There is no point in investing any more money if I'm not going to have cheap or free stuff to can, would love to have a safe pressure cooker because when chicken is on sale, stuff like that, I could can it and, like you say, a quick meal. Something about the pressure tenderizes and makes the flavors blend nicely.

I enjoyed your sharing really. I just did that one batch of tomatoes open kettle and one batch apricots. The apricots were ok but last 2 jars spoiled. Like the applesauce I canned, it needs to go in a water bath.

Well, I can be funny about stuff, too. I'm more picky about meat. I hadn't had any good meat for so long, I went to the butcher's. The round steak was turning brown and I said I didn't want it. He said he'd take 70 cents a pound off and that it would keep in my fridge until the next day. Well, it didn't smell fresh and I was leery about it but didn't want to waste it. So I cooked it and by the time it was done, it tasted ok. Same with a porterhouse steak I got. It looked fresh and that went straight in the freezer for no more than 2 weeks. It didn't smell right either but I had to cook it. It was ok. So I decided if I buy meat there again, I'll buy enough to make it worth their while and make them cut it fresh or I'll go to the other butcher across town. Aged beef is not my thing. But the supermarket meat is not as good as our local beef. Young people don't know or care. Hamburger that tastes like cardboard. Not worth cooking.

How on earth they kept our meat safe when I was a kid; mom would send me to the store, it was always good and fresh. But I explained to my daughter why we couldn't have much fish, then just frozen. Now we can't have a lot of it because it's too expensive. And it's best to buy it early in the day. It gets slimy, and I have to rinse and rinse until I'm satisfied that it's going to be ok. Couple times it wasn't.

Now maybe I'd better shut up. I finally finished up the last of my planting so that's a relief but I'm tired. The dirt is so dry, I practically could have used a pick ax. Should have wet the soil first but wanted it over and done with. So I'd be too tired to can anything tonight lol. But I'm sure hungry and nothing good to eat that doesn't need a lot of cooking.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2011 at 7:29PM
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Cooperative Extension offices across the country have up to date information on canning and freezing. We have two woman in our office who are certified "Master Canners" (like Master Gardeners). It is tricky stuff and the rules do change. Call your local Extension office or go to their web site - they are bound to have resources up on this topic this time of year.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2011 at 7:36PM
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I was interested in canning like canneries, in cans. But I guess that is a little more than I'll be able to take on. We're kind of into survivalism, I'm more what will be will be, but glass jars are not something you can grab and run.

Just trying to formulate any kind of plan in my head made me realize how absolutely inadequate and dependent on the amenities of civilized life I am. Sobering. I knew a long time ago I wouldn't have made a good farm wife because I can't take the heat to cook with no fans, etc., like our grandmothers did. And to keep up the pace of it. Wash on Monday, iron on Tuesday, work everything else in there, don't know how they did it.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2011 at 8:40PM
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northerner_on(Z5A ONCanada)

What a wealth of information!! Thank you all!! It's 1:45 and hubby and I just returned from a night out - dinner and a movie and are waiting to watch a re-cast of the news to 2:00 p.m. So I just decided to see if there were any responses and was I ever in luck. I always want to have the latest informtion and you have been very generous in that. I must say I never knew about the 'open-kettle' method, and although I have not canned any tomatoes recently, I have been warned about the introduced sweetness and reduction of acidity being a problem but this post clears that up. Certainly did not know of the reduced acid content of vinegar though. I have not opened my jars of salsa, so I think I will just add them to the water bath with my pepper sauces tomorrow. There is too much for us to consume. As usual, the Winter Sowing Forum rocks!!!!

    Bookmark   September 25, 2011 at 1:54AM
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