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Anna N

What Are You Preserving, and How Are You Doing It? (2016–)

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Yesterday we sourced green olives from Mr. Nash at the Alemany Farmer's Market.     DH started the; lye curing process.   He will allow them to leach, drain, rinse, leach in water, repeat, repeat until they are palatable.    Last year's were fabulous, and almost gone.

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The real scoop


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1 hour ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

@Smithy more information on the pot please.

 

 

The label on its glass lid says "Schulte-Ufer" and I assume that's the brand name.

 

20190908_173405.jpg

 

I found it at TJMaxx some 10 or 15 years ago, and paid under $20 for it. (I love those finds, but generally try to stay away from TJMaxx lest I find another irresistible bargain.)  It's cast iron, smooth inside so I never felt the need to treat it. I think it was listed as being pre-treated or whatever the term is that Lodge generally uses.

 

20190908_173307.jpg

 

Dimensions are 11" diameter x 4" to the top of the pot on the outside. The walls are nearly straight up and down, and they're thick. I think the pot weighs around 5 pounds, but it's difficult to tell at the moment.

 

Edited to add: that is indeed the brand name. They're still in business but don't seem to make the cast iron line any more. I don't know whether this link will survive the ages, but here's the pot in question at shopgoodwill.com


Edited by Smithy Followed up with information at the end (log)
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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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@Smithy your link goes to a google search but I found it interesting.  The reason I asked is I recently acquired a large pot from Berndes that reminded me of yours.  Mine is 13 inches and also comes with a glass lid.  But the Berndes is cast aluminum, not iron.  If it were iron I couldn't lift it!

 

Some may recall I have declaimed against aluminum as a cooking surface.  But I've read* Berndes uses a particularly thorough coating on their aluminum cookware.  And so decided to take the chance.

 

 

* https://forums.egullet.org/topic/25718-qa-understanding-stovetop-cookware/?do=findComment&comment=360973

 

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Sterilizing virgin wants to know:   (Now I did sterilize my babies' milk bottles but that was more than 54 years ago)

 

I've never made anything and sterilized it in a mason jar.  Last year I made grape jelly and put all of it in the freezer.  This year I have been gifted with many small mason jars and lids and more wild grapes than anyone could dream of (next we have to de-vine our land or be taken over by the wild grapes) and am determined to do the right thing by it and give much away.  (If you live near east central Ontario, pm me and feel free to come and collect.)

 

I've read about sterilizing jars and lids in water and in the oven.  Which is the easiest and safest for an old novice klutz to use?   Thanks for any advice. 


Darienne

learn, learn, learn...

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I have, in the past, canned tomatoes, peaches and pickles.  As far as I remember, jams and jellies i've made have always been the freezer type.  By far, for me, the easiest way to sterilize the jars was in the oven, lids in hot water.

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I put a rack in a large pot, fill with hot water and bring to a boil..    Using tongs, I arrange the jars on top of it.    When fruit or preserves are ready to jar, I remove and fill a jar, cover with lid that has also been heated in the boiling water.     Affix ring and replace in the boiling water.     Depending on product, I water bath for 15 to 25 minutes.     Remove jars and cool on another rack.    

 

Very clean, very simple.   Requirements: pot, 2 racks, tongs, jar lifter (see pic)

.1948703189_Screenshot2019-09-09at7_28_06AM.png.938386ca7dd3d7544769afeb963f7d04.png

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1 hour ago, Darienne said:

Sterilizing virgin wants to know:   (Now I did sterilize my babies' milk bottles but that was more than 54 years ago)

 

I've never made anything and sterilized it in a mason jar.  Last year I made grape jelly and put all of it in the freezer.  This year I have been gifted with many small mason jars and lids and more wild grapes than anyone could dream of (next we have to de-vine our land or be taken over by the wild grapes) and am determined to do the right thing by it and give much away.  (If you live near east central Ontario, pm me and feel free to come and collect.)

 

I've read about sterilizing jars and lids in water and in the oven.  Which is the easiest and safest for an old novice klutz to use?   Thanks for any advice. 

 

My friend who "jams alot" swears by what her big time uni prof told her "honey just put em thru the dishwasher"  I have never preserved other than fridge or freezer...

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On 8/24/2019 at 9:10 AM, Shelby said:

Lots of this going on:

 

thumbnail_IMG_6693.jpg.a52839180ef8951a23c0e2dc257ea8d9.jpg

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thumbnail_IMG_6696.jpg.fb9ab91f082ef4cbbee70dd4d55a11c8.jpg

 

 

OK there are times when the girls need to get together - I really need to be in Kansas NOW! 

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1 hour ago, Darienne said:

Sterilizing virgin wants to know:   (Now I did sterilize my babies' milk bottles but that was more than 54 years ago)

 

I've never made anything and sterilized it in a mason jar.  Last year I made grape jelly and put all of it in the freezer.  This year I have been gifted with many small mason jars and lids and more wild grapes than anyone could dream of (next we have to de-vine our land or be taken over by the wild grapes) and am determined to do the right thing by it and give much away.  (If you live near east central Ontario, pm me and feel free to come and collect.)

 

I've read about sterilizing jars and lids in water and in the oven.  Which is the easiest and safest for an old novice klutz to use?   Thanks for any advice. 

I've done the pot method, but usually I just run them through the dishwasher and leave them in the rack until I'm ready to fill them. Jams, jellies and acidic stuff (tomatoes, pickles) can be water-bath canned and will be shelf-stable until opened. Highly recommend the Ball Big Book of Canning and Preserving for directions, etc., but quickly:

 

Run jars and rings through dishwasher cycle. Put flats in a small saucepan of water on the stove, bring to boil, and simmer 10 minutes or so. Fill clean jars with funnel; wipe rims with clean, damp towel, put flat on (there's a little magnet-on-a-stick tool that comes in a set with canning tongs, etc, that's ideal for this) add the ring, and finger tighten. Put on a rack in a water bath canner or big stock pot, fill with water to 1" above jar tops, and bring to a boil. Boil for at least 5 minutes, turn heat off and let cool. Remove jars from water with tongs, sit on  towel, and let cool. Lids will "pop" and that means they're sealed and shelf-stable. Press on the center of all the cooled lids to check; if any of them give and pop, stick that jar in the fridge and use it first.

 

You can also put the clean jars upside down on a cookie sheet covered with a wet towel and put it in the oven at about 200 for 15-20 minutes. Before filling, that is; I've never tried that with filled jars in lieu of water-bath canning.

 

Less acidic veggies and anything with meat needs pressure canning.

 


Edited by kayb (log)
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Don't ask. Eat it.

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12 minutes ago, kayb said:

I've done the pot method, but usually I just run them through the dishwasher and leave them in the rack until I'm ready to fill them. Jams, jellies and acidic stuff (tomatoes, pickles) can be water-bath canned and will be shelf-stable until opened. Highly recommend the Ball Big Book of Canning and Preserving for directions, etc., but quickly:

 

Run jars and rings through dishwasher cycle. Put flats in a small saucepan of water on the stove, bring to boil, and simmer 10 minutes or so. Fill clean jars with funnel; wipe rims with clean, damp towel, put flat on (there's a little magnet-on-a-stick tool that comes in a set with canning tongs, etc, that's ideal for this) add the ring, and finger tighten. Put on a rack in a water bath canner or big stock pot, fill with water to 1" above jar tops, and bring to a boil. Boil for at least 5 minutes, turn heat off and let cool. Remove jars from water with tongs, sit on  towel, and let cool. Lids will "pop" and that means they're sealed and shelf-stable. Press on the center of all the cooled lids to check; if any of them give and pop, stick that jar in the fridge and use it first.

 

You can also put the clean jars upside down on a cookie sheet covered with a wet towel and put it in the oven at about 200 for 15-20 minutes. Before filling, that is; I've never tried that with filled jars in lieu of water-bath canning.

 

Less acidic veggies and anything with meat needs pressure canning.

 

 

 

Oops yes! The prof said dishwasher for glass but boil the lids and rings

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23 minutes ago, heidih said:

 

Oops yes! The prof said dishwasher for glass but boil the lids and rings

I've heard contrary to the dishwasher sterilizing method...that it's just not hot enough for long enough.  And then you'd have to trust that your dishwasher was still in its prime.  


Darienne

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25 minutes ago, heidih said:

 

Oops yes! The prof said dishwasher for glass but boil the lids and rings

 

Note that Ball changed its guidelines a few years ago and no longer recommends pre-heating the lids.  Just wash and keep at room temp until ready to use. They allow that simmering (180°F) is OK, if you wish, but is not necessary and that heating to an actual boil (212°F) is not recommended as such overheating can cause the plastisol to thin out, resulting in a poor seal. 

 

They also say that pre-sterilizing jars that will be processed isn't necessary either.  They recommend heating jars to avoid the thermal shock of filling them with boiling contents but state that both jars and lids will be sterilized if processed in a boiling waterbath for 10 min or more. 

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There's long range preserving and canning and pickling and so on...and then there's short range preserving of one's sanity when one's husband, who is a dear and does the grocery shopping now so as I can survive with a calm demeanor and bearable amounts of energy, comes home with 10 pounds of cooking onions, and 10 pounds of parsnips and 10 pounds of carrots and a huge cauliflower and a huge bunch of broccoli and four gigantic colored peppers and 4 ears of corn whilst one is already immersed, nay mired, in making wild grape jelly and apple cider, sauce and leather....AND...all the time one is recovering from a not very good hand repair (so far.  We live in hope.).  

 

Ed is downstairs in his studio peeling and chopping and cutting and slicing  while I deal with what comes upstairs in a variety of fashions.  

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Darienne

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There is a lot of confusion about sterilization and pasteurization. Sterilization requires that everything inside the jar/can must reach a high temperature (in the zone of 250° F) for a required time. To do this at home you need a pressure canner.

If you sterilize the jar and the lid, but pour inside some non sterilized food then you don't sterilize the whole final jar. It has not much sense to start from a sterilized jar and lid then ending up with something that's not sterilized, it's a wasted effort.

Stuff like jams and jellies have a low pH, so there is no need to sterilize them to have long shelf life. Pasteurization is enough. You just need to start from clean jars and lids. Better to not boil the lids before canning, heat tends to toughen the rubber ring that's placed between the lid and the jar, if this gets too tough or breaks, then the jar will not be closed air tight.

The helping point in heating the jars before filling them is to make them hot when you are pouring the jam inside it. If you start from cold jars then the jar will absorb heat from the jam, lowering the temperature of the jam itself. If it goes below the temperature needed for pasteurization, then the jar will spoil. Jars are relatively heavy and with a sensible thermal mass, so this temperature drop can be a problem. If you start from hot jars then you solve this problem. To heat the jars the best way is putting them in a pan in the oven at around 220° F, leaving them there, then picking the pan out when you are ready to fill them with the hot jam (just out of the stove). Otherwise you can heat the jars in the microwave until they around 220° F, time and power depends on your microwave and on how many jars you put into it.

There's no need to heat the lids before closing the jars, their thermal mass is really low, so they won't create troubles.

So what you need to do is to clean perfectly the jars and the lids. Then start preparing the jam. Around 20 minutes before finishing the cooking, you put the jars in the oven and heat them to 220° F. When the jam is ready (cooked over 221° F to reach gelification point) you pick out the jars from the over, fill them (as near as you can to the brim), close them with the lids. After closing them you turn them upside-down and leave them to rest upside down  (on a kitchen towel is the best thing, so this means the lid will be in contact with the towel) for around 10 minutes. Then you turn them upside (lid up) and wait for them to cool to room temperature. Putting them upside down has the goal to put the lid in contact with the hot jam, so the lid reaches pasteurization temperature and remains in that temperature zone for enough time (pasteurization is a time and temperature matter). If you proceed this way you are sure to end up with pasteurized closed jars.

 

Another common error is saying that the lid keeps a concave surface because there's vacuum inside the jar. There isn't vacuum inside a jar, there is still air inside it. The lid has a concave surface due to a depression. When you fill the jar you are pouring hot jam, hot jam occupies a bigger volume than cold jam. So when you close the lid you are not pulling a vacuum, you are leaving air inside the jar. What happens is that when the jam cools then it contracts (looses volume), so there is more space for air inside the closed jar. More space for the same amount of air means lower pressure. But atmospheric pressure outside the jar remains the same, so when the pressure inside the jar goes below a certain point then the lid will "pop", turning the flexible surface from convex to concave. That's the sign for correct closing, it means the jar is closed airtight, so the content will remain pasteurized.

 

There's no need to boil in water (at room pressure, so not in a pressure canner) jars that were prepared correctly (pasteurized and with the concave lid), it's just overkill. If it's pasteurized then you are ok, there's no sense to pasteurize again. Heating them again will lead to ruining their taste: the more time you cook a jam, the more flavour you loose. So when cooking jams your goal is to reach gelification temperature as soon as possible, then avoiding re-heating the closed pasteurized jars.

 

What I wrote is valid for jams and jellies, food with low pH and high sugar content that just needs pasteurization. Things are pretty different for foods that need sterilization for long shelf life.

 

 

 

Teo

 

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On 9/9/2019 at 8:03 PM, teonzo said:

There is a lot of confusion about sterilization and pasteurization. Sterilization requires that everything inside the jar/can must reach a high temperature (in the zone of 250° F) for a required time. To do this at home you need a pressure canner.

If you sterilize the jar and the lid, but pour inside some non sterilized food then you don't sterilize the whole final jar. It has not much sense to start from a sterilized jar and lid then ending up with something that's not sterilized, it's a wasted effort.

Stuff like jams and jellies have a low pH, so there is no need to sterilize them to have long shelf life. Pasteurization is enough. You just need to start from clean jars and lids. Better to not boil the lids before canning, heat tends to toughen the rubber ring that's placed between the lid and the jar, if this gets too tough or breaks, then the jar will not be closed air tight.

The helping point in heating the jars before filling them is to make them hot when you are pouring the jam inside it. If you start from cold jars then the jar will absorb heat from the jam, lowering the temperature of the jam itself. If it goes below the temperature needed for pasteurization, then the jar will spoil. Jars are relatively heavy and with a sensible thermal mass, so this temperature drop can be a problem. If you start from hot jars then you solve this problem. To heat the jars the best way is putting them in a pan in the oven at around 220° F, leaving them there, then picking the pan out when you are ready to fill them with the hot jam (just out of the stove). Otherwise you can heat the jars in the microwave until they around 220° F, time and power depends on your microwave and on how many jars you put into it.

There's no need to heat the lids before closing the jars, their thermal mass is really low, so they won't create troubles.

So what you need to do is to clean perfectly the jars and the lids. Then start preparing the jam. Around 20 minutes before finishing the cooking, you put the jars in the oven and heat them to 220° F. When the jam is ready (cooked over 221° F to reach gelification point) you pick out the jars from the over, fill them (as near as you can to the brim), close them with the lids. After closing them you turn them upside-down and leave them to rest upside down  (on a kitchen towel is the best thing, so this means the lid will be in contact with the towel) for around 10 minutes. Then you turn them upside (lid up) and wait for them to cool to room temperature. Putting them upside down has the goal to put the lid in contact with the hot jam, so the lid reaches pasteurization temperature and remains in that temperature zone for enough time (pasteurization is a time and temperature matter). If you proceed this way you are sure to end up with pasteurized closed jars.

 

Another common error is saying that the lid keeps a concave surface because there's vacuum inside the jar. There isn't vacuum inside a jar, there is still air inside it. The lid has a concave surface due to a depression. When you fill the jar you are pouring hot jam, hot jam occupies a bigger volume than cold jam. So when you close the lid you are not pulling a vacuum, you are leaving air inside the jar. What happens is that when the jam cools then it contracts (looses volume), so there is more space for air inside the closed jar. More space for the same amount of air means lower pressure. But atmospheric pressure outside the jar remains the same, so when the pressure inside the jar goes below a certain point then the lid will "pop", turning the flexible surface from convex to concave. That's the sign for correct closing, it means the jar is closed airtight, so the content will remain pasteurized.

 

There's no need to boil in water (at room pressure, so not in a pressure canner) jars that were prepared correctly (pasteurized and with the concave lid), it's just overkill. If it's pasteurized then you are ok, there's no sense to pasteurize again. Heating them again will lead to ruining their taste: the more time you cook a jam, the more flavour you loose. So when cooking jams your goal is to reach gelification temperature as soon as possible, then avoiding re-heating the closed pasteurized jars.

 

What I wrote is valid for jams and jellies, food with low pH and high sugar content that just needs pasteurization. Things are pretty different for foods that need sterilization for long shelf life.

 

 

 

Teo

 

Wow!  Thanks tremendously.  With all the information about how to do this and that, I felt as if I were drowning in it, trying to pick one to follow, and now your post.  I'm going to follow it.  If I change later how I do it, well that's fine too.  (That's what I always advise folks about changing their dogs' diets to raw.  Don't drown in research and be stymied by the contradictions.  Just pick one that sounds decent.  Follow it.  And then later...) 


Darienne

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Three sets of jars filled.  And each set bringing a new small chaos to be dealt with as I struggle to learn a new skill.   Thanks again, @teonzo.

 

And yesterday Ed halved and peeled 5 pounds of cooking onions and I sent them through the food processor slicer (thanks, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome for having me learn all the incredible things my food processor will do that I always did by hand like a Luddite).  I am always stunned by how small an amount is collected from how large an amount after the liquid is all gone.  

 

And now neighbors come to collect grapes and soon it will be apples we start working on.    And then other neighbors will come and collect apples...ones who don't want to make grape jelly.  And in the meantime, hordes of cherries...no I don't know what kind...are left for the birds.   

 

ps.  I am of course not thanking teonzo for the chaos, but rather for the sound advice.  The chaos is mine alone.


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We went out and picked some more wild grapes last night.  That's a week later than the first bunch.  Wow!  The grapes were all blue in the area we found.  Almost no green ones.  But then there are still completely green bunches in some places on the trail.  I guess it's sort of like tomatoes ripening.  

 

I have two questions:

 

1.  Our kitchen counters are 25 years old and not in very good condition any more.  They are inexpensive Formica and we are faced with either pleasing ourselves and replacing them now in our final years on the farm and then having to replace them anyway to sell the farm...we can have little idea of how long we'll be able to cope...or just living with the increasingly not-loveliness of it all and then replacing them.   We are pushing the end of our existence here...I guess.  So....in the interim, the counters are currently getting splashed, dripped on, etc, with staining grape juices.  I keep cleaning them off, using Comet to erase the stains, (that's Canadian Comet which still contains the ingredient now absent in the USA version).  Should I just leave the stains until this foray is over and then do them once?  Or will the stains set in over the next two weeks and not be removable?

 

2.  I've never given away anything like jelly which is "preserved" and presumably not needing cold storage.  I don't know anyone off this forum who does any more.  And I'm terrified about poisoning someone.  I'm not very proprioceptive and fear I'll somehow contaminate the process.  How serious is it if someone eats jelly with 'bad things' in it?  Can you die?  I can't get a straight answer on Google yet.

 

Thanks for the help.   Darienne


Darienne

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Good job on all of your canning, @Darienne!

 

1.  Do you have anything like butcher paper that you could place with the slick side up and tape it down to put the grapes on?  That way you could just toss the paper when you're done?  I don't have experience with your kind of counter top, but if it were me, I'd probably clean the stains up after each time....If you get a stain on a stain, I'd think it would be harder to clean off?

 

2.  Over the course of 20 years of canning, I've given tons of jars to people without problem (that I'm aware of anyway).  Tomatoes, pickles, pickled okra, jelly, mustard, pickled jalapeños, green beans etc.  If your jars are sealed--meaning, after it's processed and when you press down on the top of the lid with your finger and it doesn't spring up after you remove your finger--then you should be good to go.    If there is something wrong with a jar of jelly, it will smell funky and it won't look right.  People would know.  Don't be afraid.  People will love all of your jelly and they will know how much work it is and appreciate it :) .  If you're still nervous, don't give away your jelly just yet and open one in a few weeks to test it.  Betcha it's great :) 

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3 hours ago, Darienne said:

1.  Our kitchen counters are 25 years old and not in very good condition any more.  They are inexpensive Formica and we are faced with either pleasing ourselves and replacing them now in our final years on the farm and then having to replace them anyway to sell the farm...we can have little idea of how long we'll be able to cope...or just living with the increasingly not-loveliness of it all and then replacing them.   We are pushing the end of our existence here...I guess.  So....in the interim, the counters are currently getting splashed, dripped on, etc, with staining grape juices.  I keep cleaning them off, using Comet to erase the stains, (that's Canadian Comet which still contains the ingredient now absent in the USA version).  Should I just leave the stains until this foray is over and then do them once?  Or will the stains set in over the next two weeks and not be removable? 

 

I would err on keeping up with the stains.     I love BarKeep's Friend which has an amazing bleach agent.    

 

re your counters, I recommend doing whatever pleases YOU.    If YOU need new counters, fine.    If you're happy with what you have, just as fine.    While we are all advised to do major sprucing before selling a house, I caution that whoever buys your farm will see themselves there in their own mind's eye, making the kinds of changes THEY dream of.    Other than a slap of paint to refresh things, I'd cut them a deal, making allowances for the kinds of upgrades they prefer,   

 

When we last did our kitchen counters, I asked DH if we were wealthy enough for me to have exactly what I wanted, without thinking about resale value, etc.    He grit his teeth and said yes.   I CHOSE formica which I have found serves us well without any kind of preservation or upkeep work on my part, as in butcher block or stone.    I am terribly happy with it and people who come into my kitchen know me well enough not to raise an eyebrow.    

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Being  Ms.  Opposite" - I'd treat the stains as I do my physical scars history. I have 48 year old Formica on the desk where I work and in the study room. I've spilled beet juice on the one by my computer several times and it wipes right up. Mine is shiny & slick. In hospitals and non-chemical labs I've installed the dull stuff which seems to have a more "open grain". Stains have never been a complaint. I wonder if aggressive cleaning "opens the pores"??? (nothin like anthropomorphising a countertop ;) )  I like super-canner Shelby's idea of butcher paper and then lined with a couple butted up sheet pans if the stains bug you. With hand issues I never advocate scrubbing...

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Would love to hear more about your usage for the wild grapes.  I see tons of them around and have tried eating them but they are so tiny, with barely any flesh, a huge seed and super sour!

 

Sorry I cannot be much help pertaining to your inquiry, but I would imagine like any stain, the longer you leave it, the harder it will be to remove.

 

 

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2 hours ago, heidih said:

....I wonder if aggressive cleaning "opens the pores"??? (nothin like anthropomorphising a countertop ;) )

 

This sounds very reasonable.     I asked husband how old our formica was and he suggests around 30 years.   (I think slightly less.)    It has no blemishes, no differences in finish from area to area.    When it was installed, I remember our contractor applying an industrial  food-safe wax to it.    

 

Perhaps after removing the grape stains and letting the area dry thoroughly you might apply something like Jubilee.    I remember its giving an excellent finish to kitchen surfaces, but then it went off the market.   I see that IT'S BACK!

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Thanks all for replies.  For some reason, I suddenly didn't get any notice of these replies.  But then computers have their special ways.  

 

As for the counters...yes, I'd like them...but Ed won't let anyone else do any of the work so ...so I'll just stop here.  

 

I'll look up Jubilee.  Remember I live in Canada and we don't have many of the American products.

 

As for giving food away...I've done it for years now.  Pretty much everything...except stuff which is supposed to sit on a shelf.  So far, I've asked the recipients to put the jelly into their fridges.  But I like @Shelby's idea. 

And TicTac, you don't eat wild grapes from the vine.  Right.  They are sour in the extreme.  And the only thing I have done with them is make jelly and I have no other plans.  We hadn't had them on the farm for the last 20 years or so and then suddenly last year they were there.  In masses.  Well, this year there are even more and the situation is going to call for pulling them down and cutting them before they take over the non-farmed areas and smother the flowers and kill all the trees. 

  • Like 2

Darienne

learn, learn, learn...

Cheers & Chocolates

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