Canning Newbie with question on understanding recipes (jar sizes)

ming001(8)June 17, 2012

This is my very first day canning anything, although I watched my mother and relatives put up produce during the summer.

I am making the chipotle ketchup recipe I found recommended here : as well as a green salsa recipe.

I am trying to understand if the time for cooking in the water bath has any correlation with the size of jar used. I am not finding all recipes recommend a jar size and am confused if it's understood it refers to pint jars or if you can use whatever size you'd like but just make sure you cook it the time stated (plus altitude changes).

I won't eat an entire pint of ketchup in a reasonable time so would prefer to use 1/2 pint jars.

Any tips appreciated!

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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

The basic jar rules:

you can always go to smaller jars than called for in a recipe but you can never go to larger jars.

you will process the smaller jars for the same length of time called for the size in the recipe. If it calls for x mins for pints and you use 1/2 pints you will still process for the pints time.

if no jar size (or processing time) is stipulated in the recipe then it is NOT an approved canning recipe.

Does that answer your questions? If not let me know.


    Bookmark   June 17, 2012 at 7:33PM
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Thanks, Dave. That's really helpful. I was thinking along those lines regarding sizes and times but the clarification is much appreciated.

I am not clear as to 'approved canning recipe' though. The link through to the chipotle ketchup recipe had a processing time but no jar size.

As it turned out I only yielded 3 1/2 pints for a thick saucy product. Am wondering if it was the fact I didn't use Romas.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2012 at 10:23PM
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Linda_Lou(SW Wa.)

An approved recipe comes from a reliable source, such as the Ball Blue Book, any of the University extension sites.
Not all canning books are safe to follow. I can give you examples, that would seem Ok, but are truly unsafe to use. Such as Williams and Sonoma, lots of Sunset books, etc. Then you have all the recipes people post that they just made up from a cooking recipe and try to make it into a canning recipe. Thus, as was said, many of them will not list a jar size. Please, be very careful what recipes you use.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2012 at 12:57AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

As Linda Lou said there are all sorts of recipes out there on the web and in published cookbooks that 'say' they may be canned safely. In some cases that may be true, in many cases it is NOT true.

Until one gains enough experience and knowledge (or takes a training course) about all the underlying safety principles to recognize the problems in a recipe it is best to stick with recipes only from approved sources.

NCHFP is the primary source as their labs are the ones that do all the testing and have published their own canning cookbooks. University Extension websites and publications (every state has one) and all the Ball books and the Ball website adhere to the NCHFP guidelines so are approved. There are several other books and sources that are approved based on the educational credentials of the author or because they carry the NCHFP stamp of approval. Search 'books' here for lists of them.

There are a number of websites we have discussed here many times where most ANY posted canning recipe should be questioned if not avoided all together.

I don't know why you selected this particular recipe to begin learning about canning as it is quite unusual. Is it safe? Probably because if I recall correctly this is one of Katie's recipes and she is certified. But there is no guarantee of approval on my memory. :)

So begin with NCHFP and go from there.


Here is a link that might be useful: NCHFP

    Bookmark   June 18, 2012 at 10:02AM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

KatieC's site is fine. She's a Master Food Preserver who used to post here. AFAIK, she's still employed by Idaho Extension.

The source of that particular recipe I do not know, but she does still post on Cooking and a question directed to her on that Forum should give you additional information. Since she posted it from MasterCook I'm guessing the yield just got left off.


    Bookmark   June 19, 2012 at 4:42AM
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