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Home Canning


Terrasanct
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I love the "ping!" I can jams, preserves, chutneys, marmalades, fruits, tomatoes, roasted peppers, and I've even tried pesto in the pressure canner. I have a steam canner instead of a water bath, and it saves a lot of energy and heat in the kitchen.

I learned from my Grandmother, and it just isn't summer unless the pantry is filling up with jars. Maybe it's an ant and grasshopper question; there's comfort in a stocked pantry. Also, canned goods that are made with care make great hostess gifts as well as presents for people who already buy everything they want. Chances are they can't find a good pear-cranberry chutney at the store.

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I can, freeze and occasionally dry whatever is in season or abundant for the picking in the wild. The last thing I canned was Seville orange marmalade this winter and lately I've frozen blanched nettles. Next will be rhubarb. Yay! :)

There are only two of us as well, but we live remotely and eat organically both of which make keeping a pantry necessary to keep being a bit of a gourmet affordable. Eating seasonally is always a goal, but opening a can of peaches in mid-winter really can perk things up and make a nice change from squash this and squash that.

I also try not to make too much work out of it. I buy flats of strawberries when they're ripe, but if it's too hot or I can't be bothered, I just toss them into the freezer for jam making at a later much cooler time. Like many of you, I also like the unique combinations I can make (honey lime peach) and also the control I get over the sugar. My jams are less sweet because I prefer them that way even if I have to put up with a bit of darkening sometimes.

This year I'm going to see if I can use the side burner on the grill outside. :biggrin:

--
Saara
Kitchen Manager/Baker/Dish Pit

The C Shop

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Y'know, one of the strongest reasons I keep close to continue to do this is the strength of tradition. This is something, putting food by, that I think is important to not lose as a society. The ability to use four or five things (heat, acid, salt, sugar, bacteria) to preserve the bounty of Earth for consumption out of season is a powerful thing, indeed. And, it is as much our birthright as literacy and numeracy.

Keeping this close to me is as important as being literate and numerate, too.

'Scuse me, I'm getting misty.

I always attempt to have the ratio of my intelligence to weight ratio be greater than one. But, I am from the midwest. I am sure you can now understand my life's conundrum.

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I think you're right--sometimes we do things because it's important to keep up traditions. Not because they're easy or inexpensive. Maybe people are canning now not because they have to, but because it means something. It's like making bread--it used to be for physical sustenance, now it's more of a spiritual thing.

Good points.

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When you can salmon, do you use a pressure canner?  That's one thing I've never done; I guess I knew too many people who'd been injured by the old style of pressure cooker.

Absolutely, you must use a pressure cooker. We've also done up "jug meat"...basically trim from butchering something. We had jars of venison one year that made fabulous meat pies.

And I agree with your more recent post. There is a tradition to canning food that goes beyond the convenience of having it in the cupboard.

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Tradition certainly is part of it. I come from a long line of canners, juicers and bakers. My grandmother would go to the to the communal oven regularly to bake in large batches. There was always a garden even if nothing more than some potatoes and berries. My mother baked, gardened and canned when I was young although she seems to have lost those skills. I've stopped her before microwaving tenderloin. :huh:

--
Saara
Kitchen Manager/Baker/Dish Pit

The C Shop

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I can a lot of stuff. Wild blackberry jam. Raspberry jam. Peaches in varieties and flavors we can't get in the store. Peach Jam. Peach Melba Jam. Apricot Pineapple jam. Apple Butter made from HoneyCrisp or Jonnigold apples. Apple slices for pie. Pears. Grape Juice from the grapes in the back yard. Salsa. Anything else I think sounds good.

My son goes through about ten or twelve servings of fruit a day. So I firmly believe in canning.

For Christmas, my family gets a variety of whatever I canned that year, along with some frozen homemade noodles. I always get the jars back so they can get the bounty again the next year.

I can mostly so that I can control what goes into the jar. I know the quality and the additives.

I also have a best friend who cans with me and that makes it easier. We set up a production line and a camp stove on the back patio and have two canning pots going at a time. It's also great together time.

Canning rocks!

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My wife and I have been canning for over 30 years. We started out with water bath method and quickly went to the pressure cooker method.

I can for the following reasons:

1. Make my own stocks (veal, turkey mostly)

2. make my own soups (French onion, mostly)

3. Make my own Tomato puree (from farmer's market Roma Paste tomatoes)

4. make my own ketchup (using whole spices per Joy of cooking)

5. Make my own sauces (lasagna, marinara, mastriciano, spaghetti, etc.)

6. Raspberry puree (from our bush and from the farmer's market, nothing like adding two TBSP of puree to a nice vinagrette on Romaine, or on ice cream)

Mostly, so I know what's in the food, to make huge batches that I season and get just "perfect" then can it so's I can have it again and again and again!

To take advantage of stuff available in the summer.

And because I love to cook, and I can spend a whole weekend making veal stock, then Espagnole sauce, and then combine some of both and make Demi-glace. I can the stock and Espagnole, but we freeze in 1 cup metal containers the Demi-glace.

I cook, the wife cans, and we get to spend quality time together!

doc

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I can a lot of stuff.  Wild blackberry jam.  Raspberry jam.  Peaches in varieties and flavors we can't get in the store.  Peach Jam.  Peach Melba Jam.  Apricot Pineapple jam.  Apple Butter made from HoneyCrisp or Jonnigold apples.  Apple slices for pie.  Pears.  Grape Juice from the grapes in the back yard.  Salsa.  Anything else I think sounds good.

Canning rocks!

EllenC, would you be interested in sharing your Peach Melba Jam recipe? Man, that sounds good! :wub:

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I would beinterested in sharing. The only problem is that I have a tendency to "wing it" and I've always been pretty lucky. I will look at it and see if I can re-create what I did last time, cuz it was good.

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I do have to admit, there is one other reason I continue to can: one of my dreams is, when I finish med school and begin private practice, to write a grant to study using cooking as occupational therapy. A sort of medertainment that has the benefits of also educating people in how to eat better and traditional ways of cooking while helping rehabilitate them.

I always attempt to have the ratio of my intelligence to weight ratio be greater than one. But, I am from the midwest. I am sure you can now understand my life's conundrum.

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I would beinterested in sharing.  The only problem is that I have a tendency to "wing it" and I've always been pretty lucky.  I will look at it and see if I can re-create what I did last time, cuz it was good.

Hehehe, the first time my mom and I made the pickled pepper relish, we dyslexified two recipes, and have never been able to reproduce the results... but gosh have we tried!

I always attempt to have the ratio of my intelligence to weight ratio be greater than one. But, I am from the midwest. I am sure you can now understand my life's conundrum.

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We ended up with a wonderfully tangy, slightly sweet, mustardy, sublime melange of peppers.

Alas, to date, we've ended up with everything approaching a sublime gestalt, but the attempts to reproduce have always been the sum of their parts, never more. Not that the sum the their parts isn't good, or even great. But, it hasn't quite reached that original level.

I always attempt to have the ratio of my intelligence to weight ratio be greater than one. But, I am from the midwest. I am sure you can now understand my life's conundrum.

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I just canned (well, a couple of months ago) a habernero citrus marmalade for gift giving and consumption. I was faced with a boatload of oranges and grapefruit picked fresh from trees in Arizona -- a thank you gift. I made some of it spicier and some of it tamer and remembered to lable them appropriately.

I can periodically, but I no longer can tomatoes. That standing in the kitchen over those boiling hot pots of water in the hottest weeks of the summer...

My grandmother once told me a couple of things. When farm wives got their first deep freezes, they quit canning tomatoes. Just toss them in the freezer, skin and all. When it comes time to use them (in chili, sauces, whatever), run them under hot water and the skins come right off. Stick them in the sauce or chili, frozen. They will thaw fast, and can be forked apart. The other thing she told me is that if they'd had great sewing machines way back when, they sure as hell wouldn't have been hand sewing all of their quilts.

What I can now tends to be more involved and elaborate than just plain veg or fruit.

Also, don't overlook the Farm Journal Freezing and Canning Book.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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  • 4 weeks later...

I'm new here, so I hope it's ok to dig up a thread from a month ago. I was hoping there was a topic like this lurking around. Here's my answer to the why part.

Canning is, for me, about three things - accompishment, control, and connection.

Accomplishment is standing in front of the old china cabinet Mom gave me, now converted into storage and display for supplies and canned items, watching as the shelves fill with brightly colored jars. Or opening the last of the pear-vanilla jam from last fall and knowing that I've taken something inherently perishable when it is abundant, and preserved it for later. I just started getting into canning last fall, so this is my first summer of jams and preserves. I already know that cracking open the strawberry jam I put up over the weekend in the middle of January will brighten a snowy morning with a taste of late spring. It's the same feeling I get from baking my own bread - that I'm becoming, to some small degree, more self-reliant.

Control is my ever-evolving quest to know exactly what I am putting in my body. Every jar of jam, or salsa, or pickles that I can myself is one less jar of preservative laden, artificial, chemically enhanced junk I will buy this year. I know that I am eating nothing but fresh fruits, vegetables, and maybe some sugar or vinegar. It makes me feel cleaner, stronger, and healthier.

Connection is standing in my grandmother's kitchen, sharing chips and homemade salsa, and listening to her tell me stories of her mother, one of the few woman of her time to become college educated, and a prodigious canner and preserver. I do not remember meeting my great-grandmother when I was very small, but my grandmother tells me we would have gotten along famously. Such deeply personal shared moments are triggered by the gift of home canned salsa. Connection is also my co-worker coming into the office with a quart jar of garlic pickles, put up by her grandmother who died six months prior. They are intensely garlicky, delicious pickles, but they are also a reminder that, though she has passed on, she is not forgotten. This coworker set aside all the old jars and kettles from her grandmother's house for me, because she knows that I will put them to good use, in a continuation of the cycle. She is rewarded with jars of summer jam, and the knowledge that peices of her grandmother survive.

Of course, it doesn't hurt that sometimes, all of these ideas intersect as strawberry jam on homemade sourdough toast. A little bit of philosophy for breakfast, anyone?

"Nothing you could cook will ever be as good as the $2.99 all-you-can-eat pizza buffet." - my EX (wonder why he's an ex?)

My eGfoodblog: My corner of the Midwest

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  • 1 month later...
When you can salmon, do you use a pressure canner?  That's one thing I've never done; I guess I knew too many people who'd been injured by the old style of pressure cooker.

Absolutely, you must use a pressure cooker. We've also done up "jug meat"...basically trim from butchering something. We had jars of venison one year that made fabulous meat pies.

And I agree with your more recent post. There is a tradition to canning food that goes beyond the convenience of having it in the cupboard.

Hi All- I agree with many of the sentiments in the above posts, however I am looking at trying to do more than strawberry freezer preserves and hope that you will help me not make mysself and my loved ones sick. I have a few questions.

1. I would like to do something with watermelon pulp, but I only find recipes for watermelon rind pickles. Does anyone have a recipe for jams, jellies, or conserves using the pulp? Does waternelon just not translate well into jam?

2. I tried a recipe from time life, "The good cook-Preserving" that included orange rind and watermelon, but after cooking it for the required time, there was a pronounced "cooked flavor" and it never jelled. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

3. I have a recipe for Canteloupe Conserve that includes alum. What is it and what does it do? Can it be deleted or replaced with something else?

4. Is there a discussion on this site of what can be water canned vs. pressure canned? I like perusing cookbooks from 1900-1940 (they seem to have some really interesting combinations) but I want to use the most up to date procedures with these recipes. Where can I find those?

5. Can vinegars be interchanged as long as they meet a requisite % acidity? Is it dangerous to interchange basic white vinegar with rice wine vinegar in pickling recipies? Is there a way to test this type of thing?

I would appreciate any suggestion on books on preserving that have really intersting or unusual recipies. Thanks so much!!

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thecuriousone, a few responses

1: I don't have a good recipe for that. I have heard of some quick (refrigerator) pickles for watermelon, but I have no recipes. I don't think it holds up well to a strong brine. I could be very wrong, though.

2: Without further description of recipe and technique you used, I can't help on that.

3: According to http://www.ext.colostate.edu/PUBS/columncc/cc040817.html

Alum is used as a pickle firming agent.

#

# Old-fashioned recipes may call for alum or lime. These are "firming agents" to help keep pickles crisp. Now that quality ingredients are available, including vinegar of five percent acidity, lime or alum are not necessary for crisp pickles. These agents are no longer included in recipes recommended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Soaking cucumbers in ice water for 4 -5 hours prior to pickling is a safer method for making crisp pickles. If lime is used, the excess lime absorbed by the cucumbers must be removed to make safe pickles. Pickles must be rinsed and re-soaked in fresh water for an hour, then repeated two more times. Failure to remove lime adequately may increase the risk of botulism.

4: For pressure canning vs water canning, the main thing you need to keep in mind is the acidity of what you are canning. Lower acid foods need to be canned longer and hotter. The USDA has the canonical list of which for how long.

5: Yes, as long as your % acidity is maintained, you are fine. But, distilled vinegar is 5% and rice wine vinegar is 4.2% acidity. Prepare to do algebra if you are substituting those. A good substitution is cider, malt, or wine for white.

I always attempt to have the ratio of my intelligence to weight ratio be greater than one. But, I am from the midwest. I am sure you can now understand my life's conundrum.

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I'm new here, so I hope it's ok to dig up a thread from a month ago.  I was hoping there was a topic like this lurking around.  Here's my answer to the why part.

Canning is, for me, about three things - accompishment, control, and connection.

Accomplishment is standing in front of the old china cabinet Mom gave me, now converted into storage and display for supplies and canned items, watching as the shelves fill with brightly colored jars.  Or opening the last of the pear-vanilla jam from last fall and knowing that I've taken something inherently perishable when it is abundant, and preserved it for later.  I just started getting into canning last fall, so this is my first summer of jams and preserves.  I already know that cracking open the strawberry jam I put up over the weekend in the middle of January will brighten a snowy morning with a taste of late spring.  It's the same feeling I get from baking my own bread - that I'm becoming, to some small degree, more self-reliant.

Control is my ever-evolving quest to know exactly what I am putting in my body.  Every jar of jam, or salsa, or pickles that I can myself is one less jar of preservative laden, artificial, chemically enhanced junk I will buy this year.  I know that I am eating nothing but fresh fruits, vegetables, and maybe some sugar or vinegar.  It makes me feel cleaner, stronger, and healthier.

Connection is standing in my grandmother's kitchen, sharing chips and homemade salsa, and listening to her tell me stories of her mother, one of the few woman of her time to become college educated, and a prodigious canner and preserver.  I do not remember meeting my great-grandmother when I was very small, but my grandmother tells me we would have gotten along famously.  Such deeply personal shared moments are triggered by the gift of home canned salsa.  Connection is also my co-worker coming into the office with a quart jar of garlic pickles, put up by her grandmother who died six months prior.  They are intensely garlicky, delicious pickles, but they are also a reminder that, though she has passed on, she is not forgotten.  This coworker set aside all the old jars and kettles from her grandmother's house for me, because she knows that I will put them to good use, in a continuation of the cycle.  She is rewarded with jars of summer jam, and the knowledge that peices of her grandmother survive. 

Of course, it doesn't hurt that sometimes, all of these ideas intersect as strawberry jam on homemade sourdough toast.  A little bit of philosophy for breakfast, anyone?

As I think about it, you put into words many of the reasons I want to can. I enjoy feeling the connection between the women who have come before me. Those I have known and those I have not. I enjoy browsing through cookbooks between 1900 and 1950 for different mixes.

The control of knowing what I am putting in my body is also a motivation that getsstronger each day. I cant control all of it, but with minimal effort I can control a lot more than I currently do.

Lastly, going in a different culinary direction. There was a time when I wanted all that was culinary cutting edge (I once went without a winter coat to afford my first food processor) but now it seems I have no interest in reproducing the "culinary foams" that some chefs seem to be designing. I want to reproduce things that nuture and nourish. Baking powder biscuts served with home made jam, chicken pot pies, short ribs braised over 20 hours. Healthy food that comforts one from the slings and arrows of life. I dunno, maybe its just a different stage of life.

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I have a question on "Bail" jars. I have some of these jars with the metal hinge that take the rubber gasket. I was speaking with a home canning sales associate who said that they were not considered safe. He said that his company carried the replacement rubbers but did not carry the jars because they sealed unreliably. Is this the general consensus? I have an opportunity to purchase some of the following: Le Parfait-france, Triomph-france, Ermetico-Italy in the .5 liter and 1 liter size.

My question is are they reliable? Will they hold a shelf stable seal? I am talking about jars that have no nicks or scratches on the rims, will have replacement rubbers and hold, pickled fruit or veggies and jelly or jam created with a full dose of sugar.

Please let me know. I love the look but the last thing I want is to wonder if all my hard work is safe. Thanks so much.

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Personally, I'd just use them for something decorative. I don't like taking chances with things like that.

About the vinegar question asked up-thread, I'm pretty sure that vinegar needs to be 5% acidity to be safe for canning/pickling.

Also, I've never seen a watermelon preserve, but watermelon rind pickles are good.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just found this thread....Friends and I are getting together in a couple weeks to do some canning (group project). All but one are novices. For our first foray, we're doing fruit based canning. Anyone have a favorite, knock out recipe to share?

I've got my eye on doing "Sour Cherry Preserves with Cherry Brandy or Amaretto" or "Jubilee Cherries" both from a book called "Good Stuff Cookbook" by Helen Witty.

Also, I was wondering...does anyone have a good book to recommend for recipes? I have Christine Ferber's "Mes Confitures: Jams and Jellies" http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/087013629...glance&n=283155

but I'd be curious to look into a few other books.

Thanks!

Traca

Seattle, WA

blog: Seattle Tall Poppy

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I would appreciate any suggestion on books on preserving that have really intersting or unusual recipies.  Thanks so much!!

The Joy of Pickling by Linda Ziedrich and Blue Ribbon Preserves by Linda Amendt are two books I use. There's also the classic Putting Food By.

Edited by McDuff (log)
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Well I make chutneys, salsas, pickles, hot sauces, preserves, jams, jellies and antipasti for a living. Everything goes into a bottle.

The latest was an onion confiture with raw cane sugar - that goes down well here in Grilling country.

Then there was a bottle or 10 of tiny cherry tomatoes I preserved in a sweet-sour vinegar, which are deliciously zingy with a good strong cheese.

I now have more than 30 products in the local market, so if anyone wants to share thoughts, I'd be delighted.

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