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Chris Young

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  1. Patrick Floyd said: It works fine to use a stock or consomme--my original recipe does exactly this, actually.
  2. Peter Putzer said: Hi Peter, The basic situation is this: spring valves are a problem not so much because you can't vent them (you can manually force them to vent), but rather because the spring fatigues over time and cannot accurately ensure that you are achieving the desired canning pressure. True canners have two key components (a) a gauge indicating the pressure ABOVE ambient pressure, so-called PSIG (see the lies your gauge will tell) and (b) they have a weight that you place over a vent valve to ensure that you achieve the correct pressure. I admit that these are more difficult to find in Europe, but it is not impossible. When I was in the UK I was able to easily purchase canners from this company using just a little google-foo: http://www.allamericancanner.com/allamericanpressurecanner.htm Although many people do can in a pressure cooker, we don't want to recommend it because it can go wrong.
  3. pear tart said: Okay, so yes­ter­day my hus­band and Ispent afruit­ful after­noon can­ning toma­toes and learn­ing the ropes (so to speak)of pres­sure can­ning. Now we‚’re won­der­ing, what did we do wrong, and did we just waste 20 lb. of plum tomatoes? How full were the jars? It's important to leave enough headspace in the jars for expansion to happen during the heat up phase. And, yes, 1.5 hours is extraordinarily long. Can you send me the page reference you got that from? I think 1.5 hours is for a 1 liter jar of conductive food. For a 1 liter jar with tomatoes, which are acidic, I would estimate 10 to 15 minutes once the pressure has come up. Here‚’s what we did: We packed raw toma­toes into one-litre jars, added the rec­om­mended amount of lemon juice, filled the jars with boil­ing water, sealed them, then processed them for 1.5hr. Ithink that‚’s an extra­or­di­nar­ily long pro­cess­ing time, but accord­ing to Modernist Cuisine, it‚’s afail-safe to ensure that every­thing reaches opti­mal tem­per­a­ture for killing any pos­si­ble tox­ins. The instruc­tion book that came with our pres­sure can­ner rec­om­mends 10min­utes at 10 lb. pressure. Here‚’s what we got: Bottles are only about 3/4 full, and there‚’s evi­dence of leak­age into the can­ner. After they came out of the pres­sure can­ner, the toma­toes were float­ing near the top of the jars, but have since set­tled to the bot­tom. The liq­uid and toma­toes fill only about 3/4 of the jars. They‚’ve also dis­coloured, indi­cat­ing, to me at least, that they‚’re seri­ously overcooked. A photo would help, but is sounds like air has remained (or leaked) in the jars and combined with the long, high temperature cooking you have degraded the lycopene (red pigment) of the tomato. I would guess the color is brick red to brown now, yes? This almost certainly occurred because the jars started out as much too full and overflowed during the heat up, preventing a good seal from forming during the cool down phase. Okay, so Iknow that we didn‚’t pack the toma­toes tightly enough. Ihave another case of toma­toes to can today, so will address that prob­lem. What Ineed to know is, are the ones we‚’ve already canned safe to eat? Or is the air space likely to har­bour any nas­ties, and should we just dis­cardthem? If you have refrigerated the failed jars then, yes, the tomatoes are fine for consumption. If not, the only ones I would use would be those that have a very firm seal when you open them, which indicates that you have a sterile seal. edit: formatting
  4. Chris Young

    Indoor smoking

    A stovetop smoker is a wonderful way for adding a light smoked flavor to food, but it will be a challenge to smoke large, thick foods for the long periods of time needed to fully develop an attractive smoked pellicle and deep smokey flavor. Here are my thoughts on how to produce flavorful pulled pork with your setup: (1) Your thought about maximizing the surface area to volume ratio is exactly right: After cooking the pork sous vide, shred the meat prior to smoking it in your Cameron smoker. (2) Use a relatively small amount of dry sawdust--do not wet the sawdust, it just makes the smoke very acrid tasting--and consider smoking multiple times. The reason is that the smoldering saw dust will increase the temperature and risks overcooking too much of the pork that you've carefully cooked at a low temperature. (3) Saying cooked food doesn't absorb smoke is a myth. That food above a certain temperature doesn't absorb smoke is also false. This is covered in the book at length in the Smoking section of Chapter 7 (pages 132-149 in volume 2). The secret to getting smoke to stick to food is to ensure the food is neither too wet nor too dry. If the surface is dripping wet, then the smoke sticks to this surface moisture and will drip off the food or evaporate with the juices before permeating the food. On the other hand, if your meat is overly dry, the smoke has difficulty diffusing into the meat efficiently. Also, too little moisture prevents molecules in the smoke from reacting with proteins and sugars in the meat, which is essential for creating a rich smoked flavor and attractive appearance. So when you're smoking your pork, you want the surface of the meet to be warm and slightly tacky feeling. This requires a bit of drying, so keep your stovetop smoker slightly cracked to allow some moisture to escape while you're doing the smoking. Hope this helps, Chris
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