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Canning safely

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    Posted: 14 July 2010 at 05:41
Home canning can be one of the most satisfying and fulfilling experiences a home cook can have. It can also be one of the most dangerous...improperly carried out it leaves the possibilities of botulism and many other nasty types of an early demise.

We at FOTW are nothing if not safety conscious, and we recommend using tried and tested federal guidelines when preparing foods for long term storage.

Please go here to the National Center for Home Food Preservation for the answers to any questions you may have about getting started. We monitor the posts on this forum very closely, and try to avoid or correct any errors in procedure that may be deemed a hazard, but The "FEDS" are given precedence in all matters of food safety.

You may PM me, or any member of the Admin staff ( TasunkaWitko) with any question and we'll try to help, but when in doubt please use the above link.

Have fun canning, but be safe Big smile
Go ahead...play with your food!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Boilermaker Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 July 2010 at 13:41
Another source of botulism is putting things like garlic into an anaerobic environment such as in olive oil where the c. botulinum can multiply and produce its toxin.  It must be destroyed by heat.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hoser Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 July 2010 at 05:03
A good point Andy....that's why you MUST pressure - cook when you can low acid foods.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Feather Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 December 2012 at 10:53
A good idea is to always used tested recipes from a tested source, like a county or state extension office, whether water bath canning or pressure canning. (At best: search for 'extension office canning xxxxx') Aim to find state, county, university extension recipes.)

Garlic can be preserved in many ways, boilermaker, good point, garlic can be dehydrated, chopped and frozen, kept fresh, but never put in oil and refrigerated for a long time or worse left at room temperature.

Read the whole paragragh: [Remember, you CAN do canning and preservation, like your grandma used to do, and it MAY work. (using parafin to seal jars, turning jars upside down after oven treatment, sealing meats in fats) The problem is that those that do take a chance on dying in the process. Of all those people that have made that mistake, some have died and they aren't here share information to help you preserve food safely.]

Salts, acids, and sugars are some ingredients used in canning, for pickles and jams, used in water bath canning. Pressure canning is good for low acid preservation. If you aren't sure, look it up or ask, please. ~Feather
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 December 2012 at 14:27
Safe canning consists of a little bit of knowledge and a whole bunch of common sense. The reason people run into problems is because most home canners do not understand the purpose of the various processes and procedures. If you learn the why as well as the what you should never run into problems.
 
Safe canning consists of destroying pathogens with heat and/or acid, and creating an environment that is not conducive to their growth. It should be obvious from this that cleanliness isn't next to Godliness; it supercedes it.
 
Most old-fashioned methods fall into a category called "open kettle canning." They are considered unsafe because they do not, necessarily, achieve the two prime requirements.
 
Using wax seals is an exception in that, when done properly, it accomplishes the two goals. But, because most people do not do it properly, improper seals result, and the food can spoil. Fortunately, wax sealing is used for sweet preserves, and the spoilage mechanism is mold. So if the food is bad there is a visible sign.
 
This is not true with bacterial spoilage. Very often the toxins are invisible, odorless, and tasteless.
 
Wax sealing, btw, is also a royal pita. It's time consuming, and can be dangerous. Plus there is an incredible percentage of bad seals, even when done correctly. And, of course, you cannot stack jars in storage unless you invest is special friction lids.
 
All of which is why most authorities recommend boiling water baths instead. Using a bwb and two-piece lids is faster, safer, and assures a proper seal.
 
There are three primary sources of safe canning information:
 
The USDA (United States Dept. of Agriculture), which disemenates via the Extension Service.
The Ball Blue Book.
The National Center for Home Food Preservation, a service of the food science department of the University of Georgia. While NCHFP has a close working relationship with USDA, it is not, itself, a federal agency.
 
Any of them is considered generally safe. But if, while searching a recipe or technique, you come across conflicts, the order of credibility is:
 
1. National Center for Home Food Preservation.
2. Ball Blue Book.
3. USDA.
 
Personally, I have never found a conflict between NCHFP and BBB. They usually agree, even when differing with USDA.
 
If you should be developing recipes of your own, the minimum acid dilution is 2.5%. That is, you can  make a safe pickling brine by combining white household vinegar (5%) with up to an equal volume of water. Diluting more than that is considered unsafe.
 
Pressure canning is a separate art form. One safety issue often overlooked is that all time/temperature figures are based on using a pressure canner, not a pressure cooker. That's because the figures include allowances for the volume of the canner. Heating to pressure, and cooling down time, are part of the process. Pressure cookers come to pressure and cool down much more quickly, which skews the figures.
 
When pressure canning mixed ingredients, the time/pressure used is based on the ingredient with the longest need. For instance, if you are canning chicken soup, the time/pressure used should be that which is safe for the chicken, not the broth or vegetables. Thus, you can safely can pints of chicken stock at 10psi for 20 minutes. Pints of chicken soup, on the other hand, are processed at 10 psi for 75 minutes.
 
Note, too, that all figures are based on sea level. You have to make adjustments (there are charts available) for every thousand foot change in elevation.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 December 2012 at 14:34
And, to add a note of levity:
 
A canner exceedingly canny
One evening remarked to his granny
A canner can can anything that he can
But a canner can't can a can, can he?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hoser Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 December 2012 at 02:16
LOL Geez Brook...I had trouble reading that, let alone repeating it aloud.
Go ahead...play with your food!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 December 2012 at 07:58
Well, Dave, you know how to get to Carnegie Hall?
 
Practice, practice, practice! Approve
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