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Canning thread

Post in 'The Inglenook' started by Adios Pantalones, Jul 4, 2013.

  1. Hearth Mistress

    Hearth Mistress Minister of Fire

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    I looked into fermented foods as my husband was recovering from a rare form of genetic lung cancer. His immune system was so fragile that we were trying anything and everything - fermented foods are known to have all sorts of health benefits so we gave it a try and just never stopped.

    Anyone that wants to learn about fermentation, get the book Wild Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz - he is the god of fermentation and has a bazillion videos on you tube too. You can just ferment cucumbers to make pickels but I usually ferment my cucumber THEN pickle and can them. There is a difference in taste and texture but takes a bit longer...well worth it you ask me. If you like the sweet varieties, fermentation isnt for you but if you get excited over the sour-ish one, try it. Instead of using vinegar, you use a salt brine, just like kraut. You can add garlic, dill, fennel and all sorts of things. Once they get "tangy" enough for you, put them in the fridge and the fermentation stops. I ferment diced carrots, turnips and cloves of garlic, yum! Baby carrots and hot peppers make great little spicey snacks too.

    To answer the other question, I only can what I will use in about 12-18 months. Granted, I think I still have some bread and butter pickles that are just over that now but 18 months is the max time to shoot for. I know my granny and mother both would have stuff canned 2+ years and the food was rarely spoiled, the rings would rust from the moisture in the basement but that would be about it. To give you the "official" word - The National Center for Home Food Preservation recommends a storing in a cool, dry place for up to a year for optimal use.
    jeff_t and mattjm1017 like this.

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  2. firebroad

    firebroad Minister of Fire

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    So far 12 qts. and 8 pts. of green beans, 4 qts. and 15 pts. pickles (mostly sweet, some sour dill), and 5 jars of beets. All my 'maters are still green, with the exception of 4--and two of those were paste types. That'll be a big job when they all start to ripen at once!
    All in all, this has been the healthiest garden I've had in a few years, bug and disease-wise.
    I'd have taken pictures, but I am just too lazy to line them up in their Sunday clothes for the snapshot.
  3. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    Properly canned food will last decades. Seems that the general rule is that it loses flavor after a couple of years, five years being an outside sort of timeframe for most things. They found some recently after a century, seemed to be fine.

    Here's the bottom of my pickle jar, and spices for my pickles. I also just had a meal with my first batch of kraut- it was excellent!

    image.jpg image.jpg
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  4. Hearth Mistress

    Hearth Mistress Minister of Fire

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    I don't disagree with you but I offered up what is "accepted" by published standards. I have tomatoes going on 3 years, i just rotate the jars so oldest are used first ;)
    Adios Pantalones likes this.
  5. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    My understanding is that USDA standards are more based on having unspoiled flavor rather than safety, but you are correct. I do only use accepted/tested recipes and never the "we always did it like this" anecdotes. You only need one bad canned peach... :)
    becasunshine likes this.
  6. Hearth Mistress

    Hearth Mistress Minister of Fire

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    Hah! That "one bad can of peaches" turned me off the ANYTHING peach for decades. Popping a jar as a kid and getting hit in the face with putrid peach smell scars you for life!
    firebroad likes this.
  7. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    14 pints of bread and butter pickles and 5 quarts of tomato juice a couple nights ago. Doing juice again tonight.

    Creeping up on 200lbs of tomatoes now in jars or in the freezer. I could not be more sick of tomatoes right now....and there are a bunch still on the vines.
  8. firebroad

    firebroad Minister of Fire

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    Though home canned food does indeed last for years, I am under the impression that the quality decreases over time, i.e. the nutritional value. Canned food on the shelves at the supermarket can be several years old, but I bet the greenbeans I put up last year have more nutrients in 'em. Of course, nothing beats fresh off the vine and cooked for this evening.;)
    I have been finishing the pickles up that I did two years ago (I only grow cukes every other year), and they are not as crisp as they were when I canned them, but they sure taste better than anything I can buy!!
    Jeni, I think I am going to do more fermenting. I have always been a bit daunted by it, but I understand it can be done even with small quantities. I think the salt always put me off, as well.
  9. Hearth Mistress

    Hearth Mistress Minister of Fire

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    Start with a few carrots or a cucumber cut up in a pint jar, no need to go crazy, the fun is to experiment with flavors, herbs and spices. If you find what you made is too salty, just rinse it and fill the jar back up with water, pop it in the fridge and keep draining and rinsing until you like it. If it sucks, put it in the compost pile and try again.

    I have a lot of tomatoes but none of them are turning red yet, I WISH I had tomatoes to can ;)
  10. firebroad

    firebroad Minister of Fire

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    I got my first ripe one today!!
  11. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    We're getting cherry tomatoes but none of the bigger ones are ripe yet. Should be soon.
  12. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    I have so many green tomatoes that its insane, but no ripe ones. Hopefully all at once for canning purposes
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  13. firebroad

    firebroad Minister of Fire

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    I thought maybe it was just because I had to replant after a late frost; looks like a lot of us in the mid-atlantic are having a late harvest for tomatoes. Funny, I have been getting tons of green beans, peppers, cukes and other vegetables.
  14. jeff_t

    jeff_t Minister of Fire

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    Tomatoes were growing so fast in June they weren't climbing the cages, they were lifting them out of the ground. Tons of green ones, but only a couple dozen ripe so far.

    I'm ready. My 'new' pressure canner arrived yesterday.

    CAM00023.jpg
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  15. firebroad

    firebroad Minister of Fire

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    Ooohh, that one will last you a few lifetimes. Congrats!
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  16. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    If mine would have hit all at once there is no way I could have got them all put up. Mine are starting to taper off.
  17. jeff_t

    jeff_t Minister of Fire

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    Ha. It's already one lifetime old. National has been out of business for a long time. I was a little nervous, as it is an ebay purchase, but it is almost perfect.
  18. mattjm1017

    mattjm1017 Feeling the Heat

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    What are the pros and cons and differences of pressure canning vs the water bath? Ive only ever seen the water bath done and haven't actually heard of pressure canning until now.
  19. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    You can't reliably can non-acidic foods in a water bath. Pressure canner allows you to safely do meat, any veggie, etc
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  20. Hearth Mistress

    Hearth Mistress Minister of Fire

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    And because pressure cookers process at a higher temp, it takes less time for most things too
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  21. jeff_t

    jeff_t Minister of Fire

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    Recipes with lots of salt or sugar are usually okay in a water bath, too. 'Water activity' or something like that. Part of the reason honey lasts forever.

    Botulism spores aren't killed in a boiling water bath. The higher temperatures of a pressure canner, or a pH<4.6, are necessary for safe preservation.
  22. firebroad

    firebroad Minister of Fire

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    Which doesn't heat your whole house up and uses less water.
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  23. brian89gp

    brian89gp Feeling the Heat

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    There a safe way to half the vinegar in this recipe? I like it but others find the vinegar taste too strong, but I don't want to get into problems with it not being acidic enough to be safe.
  24. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    We don't use any vinegar in our salsas. Instead we used fresh squeezed lime juice.
  25. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    Adding some sugar will offset the acid taste of the vinegar. The recipe I use has about the same ratios but I add about 1/4 cup sugar.

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