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Newbie about to eat canned jar for 1st time & scared.

Posted by bksinaz z9 AZ (My Page) on
Sun, Jan 13, 13 at 12:06

Thank you for reading...

I just started canning two weeks ago when I pressured canned beef stew (from Ball recipe). I am about to open and eat my first jar of canned food and I am accutally nervious about it. Although I took all percautions, I am scared that I might poison myself.

My questions only pertain to jars that have remained sealed.

*If I do not see growth in a jar AND if the odor is normal, is it possible to still have bad bacteria that could harm me?

*What happens if I eat a jar and it has botulism in it?
Obviously I want to avoid that, but does botulism have an odor?

*Bottom line is... if a jar is still sealed and it has harmful contaminates in it, how do I know without eating it?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Newbie about to eat canned jar for 1st time & scared.

  • Posted by malna NJ 5/6 (My Page) on
    Sun, Jan 13, 13 at 13:56

First of all, take a deep breath - and don't be scared. Just be cautious which it sounds like you have been.

*If I do not see growth in a jar AND if the odor is normal, is it possible to still have bad bacteria that could harm me?

Bacteria and molds usually present themselves by an odor or growth of "ick" as we call it. Botulism does not.

*What happens if I eat a jar and it has botulism in it?
Obviously I want to avoid that, but does botulism have an odor?

Botulism has no smell and no taste. You can't tell.

Remember, botulism spores are everywhere - in the soil, on your vegetables, on seafood. The only time they are harmful is when the spores are put in an anaerobic environment (the inside of a sealed canning jar is a perfect example!), the food has not been processed at a high enough temperature to kill the spores (I think it's 240 degrees which is what your pressure canner heats the food up to) and/or there is no acid to prevent the spores from producing the botulism toxin (the spores cannot grow below a pH of 4.6).

You can kill the toxin by boiling food for 10 minutes (longer depending on your altitude).

Hope that helps ease your mind - enjoy your stew :-)

Here is a link that might be useful: USDA Fact Sheet-Botulism


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RE: Newbie about to eat canned jar for 1st time & scared.

You mentioned that I can kill the toxin by boiling food for 10 minutes before canning....

*Because I cooked my stew on the stove first for about 30 minutes(came to simmer)before pressure canning, could that cooking process kill Botulism?

*If food becomes bad inside a sealed jar, approximatly, how long does it take for the mold/growth and bad odor to begin? Could it occur as short as 2 days?

Due to your statement about boiling food for 10 minutes, I find it odd that the act of pressure canning does not kill the spores because when I pull the jars out of the canner, the food inside the jars seems to be still boiling for quite sometime. I can't see inside a sealed pressure canner, but I would assume that the food was boiling for almost the entire 90 minutes (Qt Jars)

Thanks again.

This post was edited by bksinaz on Sun, Jan 13, 13 at 14:16


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RE: Newbie about to eat canned jar for 1st time & scared.

Malna means boiling it after you've opened the jar.

Deborah


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RE: Newbie about to eat canned jar for 1st time & scared.

  • Posted by malna NJ 5/6 (My Page) on
    Sun, Jan 13, 13 at 15:53

OK, I see where I confused you.

Think of a botulism spore like a seed. You can (probably will) have the seed in your beef stew. It's not harmful if it stays a "seed".

If the conditions are right it will "sprout" and create a toxin that is the stuff that makes you sick/kills you.

So for the "seed" to "sprout" (the really nasty guy):
It needs to be in a non- or low-oxygen environment. That's why they don't hurt you being in the soil or the water - it can't sprout when it's exposed to air. But your sealed canning jar is a low-oxygen environment.

It can't sprout in an acidic environment (a pH of 4.6 or lower). That's why you add acid like lemon juice to borderline foods like tomatoes.

The seeds are killed at temperatures above 240 degrees F. Your pressure canner reaches that temperature due to the pressure. A boiling water bath can't get to that high of a temperature.

The "sprouts" (the nasty guys) don't like high temperatures and are destroyed above 176 degrees F. Heating your food to boiling after you've opened the jar will kill the toxin (the sprouts). Recommended times are usually 10 minutes for most things and 20 minutes for corn, spinach and meats (at sea level by the way - make adjustments for your altitude).

So Step 1 is to kill the seeds in the pressure canner, so you don't need to do
Step 2 (but do it if you're nervous): kill any sprouts that may have formed by heating your product that you canned over 176 degrees - after you open the jar.

Hopefully, my overly simplistic explanation makes sense.


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RE: Newbie about to eat canned jar for 1st time & scared.

*Because I cooked my stew on the stove first for about 30 minutes(came to simmer)before pressure canning, could that cooking process kill Botulism?

No. As indicated Malna meant boiling AFTER you open the jar. Cooking prior to canning cannot kill spores so toxins can continue to develop in the jars if improperly processed. Cooking AFTER opening the jars destroys the toxins and makes the food safe to eat.

*If food becomes bad inside a sealed jar, approximatly, how long does it take for the mold/growth and bad odor to begin? Could it occur as short as 2 days?

Yes. It can develop within 24 hours.

Due to your statement about boiling food for 10 minutes, I find it odd that the act of pressure canning does not kill the spores

It does when the food is properly processed. It is situations where the processing is in doubt, is questionable, that raises the issue of safety. That is what makes careful and proper processing so important. So if you are sure you used a tested approved recipe and you processed the jars properly then there is no need for concern about eating it - even straight from the jar. Of course since beef stew is normally heated/cooked before eating it anyway you have a safety backup. :)

Please keep in mind 2 things: (1) we are only talking about questionably processed foods. There is no concern when the foods are processed correctly, and (2) "boiling" does not kill botulism spores, it only destroys the toxins they create. It is the 250 degree heat under pressure that kills the spores.

Dave


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RE: Newbie about to eat canned jar for 1st time & scared.

I remember that feeling. When I first started canning I got so excited about doing it - canned quite a few batches of salsa, then apple butter. The time came to open and eat some of the food I spent so much time preserving, and I didn't want to! I was worried, afraid that I did something wrong, and/or would get sick.
I think what you are experiencing is a normal feeling for new canners. I now have absolutely no worries about eating the food I preserve, and soon - you will feel the same way :)


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RE: Newbie about to eat canned jar for 1st time & scared.

It's been a day since they last replied... Hmm...

:-)


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RE: Newbie about to eat canned jar for 1st time & scared.

Yeah it would be nice to hear back. :)

Dave


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RE: Newbie about to eat canned jar for 1st time & scared.

I will be opening a jar this week. Will let you all know.


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RE: Newbie about to eat canned jar for 1st time & scared.

Had my first jar of food yesterday........ STILL ALIVE!

thanks everyone


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RE: Newbie about to eat canned jar for 1st time & scared.

Ahhh great! So no more worries,right? :)

Dave


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RE: Newbie about to eat canned jar for 1st time & scared.

I had the same worries but we are still alive after eatting my canned foods. But I remember freaking out when I opened the jar of canned chicken... it smelled like tuna.

I have a Mirro pressure canner that I used the weight at 10psi, and cooked the canner 90 minutes after it started to jiggle. Allowed the canner to cool and the contents was boiling after I removed them from the canner, that is a good sight to me ;)

I allowed them to cool 12-24 hours removed the ring. Washed the jars and rings. Replaced the dried rings and labled the jars.

The jars all sealed. I live in S.E. Missouri so Hopefully I did this right? For the sea level that everybody talks about.


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RE: Newbie about to eat canned jar for 1st time & scared.

I live in S.E. Missouri so Hopefully I did this right? For the sea level that everybody talks about.

Can't say as there are many places in SE MO that are above 1000 feet, some above 1200 feet. You have to find out what your specific altitude is.

Replaced the dried rings and labled the jars.

Jars should be stored with OUT the rings on.

cooked the canner 90 minutes after it started to jiggle.

Pints is 75 min. Quarts 90 min. Did you vent steam out of the canner for 10 mins before putting on the weight? Did you wait 10 mins. after removing the weight before opening the lid?

Dave


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