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eGCI Team

Q&A -- Preservation Basics

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jackal10   

Minor typo that slipped through, despite the team's excellent work:

The start of the pickled shallot recipe should read

3 pints (1.4L) of brine made with 6 oz (168g) of salt and 3 pints (1.4l) water

In the bottling/canning section although the jars are washed before use, I should have pointed out that there is no point in sterilising them seperately since they are sterilised with the contents.


Edited by jackal10 (log)

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Chad   

Damn, Jack, another great lesson. Do you not sleep?

A quick question. In the plum section you say to add ". . . hot water to cover the tops by at least one inch." But the water in the pot doesn't seem to cover the tops of the jars. Could just be the angle of the photo. Can I assume you mean the tops of the jars? Or is it simply enough water to reach the tops of the contents of the jars?

Thanks!

Chad

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jackal10   
Damn, Jack, another great lesson. Do you not sleep?

A quick question. In the plum section you say to add ". . . hot water to cover the tops by at least one inch." But the water in the pot doesn't seem to cover the tops of the jars. Could just be the angle of the photo. Can I assume you mean the tops of the jars? Or is it simply enough water to reach the tops of the contents of the jars?

Thanks!

Chad

Thanks, but wait for part 2 (Seasonal delights, including mincemeat and Xmas pud) coming soon.

The water should cover the jars so that they heat all the way to the top. I think it might be the angle of the photo.

Some canners are designed so that they steam the jars.

However one has to work with whatever pans are to hand...

In practice so long as the majority of the jar is covered and you have a lid on the pot I expect they will get hot enough

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jsolomon   

Jackal10, great lesson! I would add one bit of caution, though. All of the methods that you gave in your lesson use at least 2 of the preservation strategies (tie up water, high acid, heat-killing bacteria). When preserving meat by canning/jarring, one must remember that meat is not inherently acidic. So, those meat is not safely processed by the methods given in the lesson, at least by USDA guidelines.

Meat without added salt and/or acid is usually processed at home in a pressure canner for 90-some minutes at 1.5 or 2x atmospheric pressure which significantly raises the temperature.

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jackal10   
Jackal10, great lesson!  I would add one bit of caution, though.  All of the methods that you gave in your lesson use at least 2 of the preservation strategies (tie up water, high acid, heat-killing bacteria).  When preserving meat by canning/jarring, one must remember that meat is not inherently acidic.  So, those meat is not safely processed by the methods given in the lesson, at least by USDA guidelines.

Meat without added salt and/or acid is usually processed at home in a pressure canner for 90-some minutes at 1.5 or 2x atmospheric pressure which significantly raises the temperature.

I agree. These are for fruit, jams and vegetables. Meat and other protein are entirely different, and I would advise not to be attempted at home. Indeed, unless you raise your own animals you probably would not want to either. Well maybe one or two exceptions like mincemeat or confit but even so those are consumed fairly quickly, and proably stored under refrigeration in the interval

That said, it would be great if someone did an eGCI unit on making bacon, cheeses, smoked salmon, confit etc.

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Msk   

Thanks for the lesson Jack, you are quite the Renaissance man.

Typically, when I make homemade marinara sauce, I make it in bulk and freeze it in portions (about enough to cook with 1 lb of pasta) I have found when freezing it fresh it lasts almost a year without noticeable taste degradation.

If I were to move to "bottling" how would that duration change? Could I then store it in the cupboard so as to free up freezer space? Are there particular Ingredients I would need to eliminate in order to make it more stable? (i.e. parmesian cheese, olive oil versus butter, etc.)

Thanks again.

Msk

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jackal10   

Ther are two effects;

a) Micro-organisms: Tomatoes are sufficiently acid providing you sterilise well (check the times, but they can be up to 40 mins if starting from cold) for you not to have an issue

b) Oxidation and chemical decomposition, such as bleaching in sunlight. This will happen over over a year or so, which is why you need to keep it dark and cool. It won't kill you, just taste off.

I don't see any reaon why it should not keep for a year or so. After all you can buy the stuff in jars in the supermarket, and it is basically the same process.

Personally I would leave out the cheese and butter as dairy tends to go off quicker and also caramelise in heat of sterilisation. Add them when you reheat, and of course leave out any meat or fish

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Ling   

Thanks for the course! :biggrin:

I've never canned anything before, but I was thinking about pickling beans since they cost $6 for a small jar at the supermarket. Would I be able to use the same method and recipe as the one posted for the pickled shallots? If not, what should I do/use?

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jackal10   

I've never canned anything before, but I was thinking about pickling beans since they cost $6 for a small jar at the supermarket. Would I be able to use the same method and recipe as the one posted for the pickled shallots? If not, what should I do/use?

Wash, trim and par-cook the beans (boil for 3 minutes, then put into cold water) .

Follow the pickled cucumber recipe. Process for 10 minutes.


Edited by jackal10 (log)

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melkor   
Wash, trim and par-cook the beans (boil for 3 minutes, then put into cold water) .

Follow the pickled cucumber recipe. Process for 10 minutes.

I usually make dill pickled beans with raw beans. If you cook them at all in advance they end up softer than I'd prefer.

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Anna N   

A great lesson, as always! I have made your pickled shallots (I used small onions) but now The Dane is asking for pickled cauliflower. He has had it somewhere in the past and described it as "sweeter than pickled onions and crunchy". I know it's not much to go on, but do you have any ideas?

Thanks,

Anna N

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melkor   
A great lesson, as always!  I have made your pickled shallots (I used small onions) but now The Dane is asking for pickled cauliflower.  He has had it somewhere in the past and described it as "sweeter than pickled onions and crunchy".  I know it's not much to go on, but do you have any ideas?

Add a little sugar to the brine, the less you cook the cauliflower before you process it the crunchier it will be.

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jackal10   

I'd add quite a lot of sugar (say 8oz) to the vinegar.

Don't pack the jars too tightly to allow the vinegar to penetrate

Brine (1 lb salt to 1 gallon water) or even better dry salt for 24 hours.

Wash very well and drain. Pack loosely into jars, and pour over the cold sweet spiced vinegar.

You can also make mixed pickles (cauliflowers, small onions, small cucumbers, french beans, all cut into bite-size pieces

Which reminds me about sweet piccalilli, or mustard pickles, Replace the vinegar with a sauce of

1/2 oz turmeric

1/2 oz dry Mustard powder

1 1/2 tsp ground ginger

1 1/2 oz flour or cornflour

6-9 oz sugar, depending how sweet you like it

chillis optional. Personally I omit them

3 pts vinegar.

Mix cold and bring to the boil. Add the brined, washed, drained, chopped vegetables and boil for 3 minutes. The veg should still be crisp, but not hard. Bottle and seal.


Edited by jackal10 (log)

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Anna N   

Thank you. I shall be making some pickled cauliflower and some mixed pickles next week (after I replenish my supply of Mason jars!). I'll report back on how it went.

Anna N

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Good job. As an Extension specialist, I would stress to US folks to call their county extension office (or look it up on the web) for instructions.

Water for water bath canning must cover the JARS by one inch.

Most tomatoes are acid enough to can with a water bath, but some new varieties are low acid, and need to be pressure canned.

I make dilled green beans--I don't like them, too sour, but other folks gobble them up.

Dilly Beans

2 pounds (very) fresh green beans, put into 4 clean pint canning jars. In each jar, put

1 head dill

1 garlic clove

1 hot pepper

Boil

2 1/2 cups water

2 1/2 cups white vinegar

1/4 cup non-iodized salt

and pour over beans.

Put on lids and bands, process for 10 minutes in boiling water bath.

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schneich   

hi,

very nice work... but i must say that i never would

use the jars that you use (the ones with snap thingy)

here in germany we pretty much just use the original

"weck" jars as they produce their own vacuum and

if the jar is spoiled it shows because the lid is simply

no longer fixed... also you can see it by looking at

the rubber ring if it points down the lid is closed.

i once talked to the weck people and they ensured me

that there is no spoilage but one that keeps the lid closed

the exeception of the rule stinks that much that you never would

use it :biggrin:

http://www.weckcanning.com/about_2.htm

cheers

t.

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Anna N   

Hello again, Jack.

I was finally able to get some new jars and made the pickled cauliflower and The Dane loves it. He claims it is as close to what he recalls as anyone could get! Thanks.

Now he asking about another veggie dish that is not quite pickled but more likely marinated. We both recall it from a buffet or perhaps in place of crudities somewhere in our past. The veggies, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower and perhaps others, were lightly cooked to take away the rawness and then (we think) marinated in something that approached a mild pickling solution. Does it sound like anything you have run across?

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jackal10   

Now he asking about another veggie dish that is not quite pickled but more likely marinated. We both recall it from a buffet or perhaps in place of crudities somewhere in our past. The veggies, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower and perhaps others, were lightly cooked to take away the rawness and then (we think) marinated in something that approached a mild pickling solution. Does it sound like anything you have run across?

The Japenese make wonderful light pickles, which I love to eat, but am woefully ignorant about how to make. Can anyone help?

A friend used to make lovely dilled carrots. Take small carrots, or carrot batons and put in a light pickle, like the Cucumber pickle in the unit, maybe diluted with more water to taste, in the refrigerator but only in the pickle for 24 hours. I guess you could do other crudite veg the same way. The carrots were not cooked first.

You can also make cauliflower carpaccio - slice the cauliflower very thin, lay out on a plate, then dress with sea salt, vinegar and EVOO

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Jack,

What do you make of the style of pickling where the pickle jar or crock is more or less perpetual, with new vegetables added as pickles are removed, and with occasional replenishing of liquid, salt and flavorings?

For example, Fuchsia Dunlop brilliantly explains the Sichuanese approach to pickling in "Land of Plenty." For those who haven't read the basic recipe, she has you sterilize a jar, boil then cool a brine, add it to the jar with rice wine and flavourings (eg. ginger, star anise, Sichuan pepper) then add cubes of daikon and carrot. The jar is then stored in a dark place for 24 hours (no processing.) At that point, it seems the jar basically beomes a beloved member of the family, living on for generations. Chiles, mustard greens, cucumbers etc. can all be added, and kept in the "mother liquor" for as long as required, from a few hours for tender vegetables to weeks for others.

I've yet to try it, but I really like the simplicity of the approach, as well as the somewhat romantic idea of keeping a brine developing for years. I also envision making the flavorings a little more generic (i.e. less Sichuan) so that the same jar could be used for making somehat authentic pickles from any cuisine you please (Middle East, Korea, Japan etc.)

Does anyone have any tips to share on this approach? What about the safety issuest? Fuchsia Dunlop's recipe has a ratio of 1/4 cup sea salt to 2 1/4 cups water. Do you suppose that as long as that approximate ratio is maintained in the jar then pickling can go on indefinitly?

-michael

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In your recipe to make cucumber pickles and process them, you say to put the jars of cucumbers in the COLD water, bring it to a boil, and leave them in there to boil for 5 more minutes. I tried your recipe last night, and since my canning pot is huge, this process took a long time; i.e. the cukes were exposed to a higher temperature for a longer time because it took so long for the water to come to a boil.

Do you have any recommendations for how long to process the cukes if you put the jars into boiling water instead of cool water?

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jackal10   

HMSO Bulletin 21 Home Preservation of Fruit and Vegetables gives three methods:

US and more modern government advise may differ

a) Slow water bath

Cold filling. Raise from cold to simmer in 90 min, maintain for 15min

b) Quick water bath

Hot fill (140F), raise from warm (100F) to simmering in 30 min, maintain for 2 min

c) Pressure pan

Hot fill; Raise from hot to 5lb pressure in 5-10 min; maintain 1 min; cool 10 min before opening.

I do like the idea of a pickle jar. Essentially it is a lactic acid ferment, and the acidity keeps the bad bugs at bay. Hoever I've never had that much success with mine - the pickles come out too sour, and after a couple of months the top molds and the pickles turn slimy... In a recent food blog (Helenjp I think) there were wonderful illustrations of making Japanese pickles.

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HMSO Bulletin 21 Home Preservation of Fruit and Vegetables gives three methods:

US and more modern government  advise may differ

a) Slow water bath

Cold filling. Raise from cold to simmer in 90 min, maintain for 15min

b) Quick water bath

Hot fill (140F), raise from warm (100F) to simmering in 30 min, maintain for 2 min

c) Pressure pan

Hot fill; Raise from hot to 5lb pressure in 5-10 min; maintain 1 min; cool 10 min before opening.

Thanks! Just to clarify, your lesson says to cold fill, bring to simmer, and then simmer for 5 minutes. Was this supposed to be for 15 minutes?

(BTW, I substituted the dill for a tsp. of semi-crushed fennel seeds - I'll report on how the pickles taste in a couple of weeks)


Edited by ianeccleston (log)

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jackal10   

The cucumber recipe was a different source...5 mins is moire than adequate

Fennel is different - sort of stronger and more aniseed flavoured than dill.

I'm sure they will be delicouse, just different

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