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Home Canning Safety

Posted by keystone183 (My Page) on
Wed, Jun 27, 12 at 18:11

I have been doing a lot of research lately on canning, proper canning, canning safety, etc. Mainly because I have a ridiculous excess of tomatoes i need to do something with. I have canned some before, HWB, and added the lemon juice. I bought a pressure canner to avoid this. Much to my dismay, I now learn that it is still required to be an "approved" recipe.

I know what the canned (no pun intended) responses are to this, but what i want to know is, how many follow ONLY the approved recipes TO THE LETTER? Looking at the statistics from the CDC, there is definitely a risk, but it appears to be very, very small.

I guess my question is, who follows the letter of the law, so to speak, every time, and who's fudging, and why.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Home Canning Safety

90% "letter of the law" as you call it although that isn't what it is - a law. They are tested guidelines and each person chooses whether to follow them or not. No canning police will come to arrest you.

10% fudging. But then I have the training and experience to know what is safe fudging and what isn't.

I bought a pressure canner to avoid this. Much to my dismay, I now learn that it is still required to be an "approved" recipe.

Nothing "requires" use of approved recipes. It is recommended for assured safety but no one can require it. More importantly, why would buying a pressure canner mean it would make it safe to use unapproved recipes? If anything pressure canned foods require more safety practices, not less, because they are primarily low-acid foods.

If it is just tomatoes you want to can then what is your objection to the approved recipes for doing it? The lemon juice? If so then just use citric acid instead. Or leave it out all together if you choose. Only you can decide the level of risk you are comfortable with.

As to the degree of threat and CDC statistics etc., that has been debated here ad infinitum and it isn't the issue. The lethality of the risk, no matter its degree, is the issue.

Dave


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RE: Home Canning Safety

  • Posted by val_s z5 central IL (My Page) on
    Wed, Jun 27, 12 at 21:13

I follow all the guidelines because I'm too new to canning (only about 6 years) not to.

I'm always surprised when people can taste the lemon juice in the tomatoes. I've never been able to. I'm afraid to think what that means about my taste buds :-)

I did notice that Ball has come out with some new products this year (at least new to my area). And one of them is their own brand of citric acid. It's in almost every store where they sell canning supplies. I picked up one on a whim and thought I'd try it this year but honestly I can't taste the lemon juice and neither can anyone in my family.

Val


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RE: Home Canning Safety

  • Posted by bcskye 5 Brn.Co., IN (My Page) on
    Thu, Jun 28, 12 at 12:52

I've been canning for over forty-five years and I've always followed approved recipes and tested guidelines. My choice and I feel most comfortable with it.


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RE: Home Canning Safety

I think I have one recipe that isn't a tested one.
It's for pickles and I've got 30 years of canning experience and am a master food preserver behind me when I decide it's OK risk for me.
Still 50/50 vinegar/water so very, very close. It's the lack of processing that doesn't match tested versions.

Knowing that pickles were often kept in barrels with NO processing (albeit much stronger vinegar probably), I am comfortable with this ONE.

I can't think of any others that I mess with other than changing types of hot peppers, mixing berries in jam, etc.
Quantities stay the same.

I second Dave's opinion to try the citric acid if you don't like the lemon juice. Personally doesn't bother me as most of tomatoes are used in cooked dishes with many other flavors.

Deanna


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RE: Home Canning Safety

I follow the recipes only from trustworthy sources. My go-to canning books are Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, Ball Blue Book, So Easy to Preserve, Small Batch Preserving, USDA Guidelines (same as So Easy to Preserve, but So Easy to Preserve is easier to use and indexed).

Occasionally someone on this forum here will post a recipe or make suggestions that I will use IF it is from someone with experience I trust and all of their previous posts have shown knowledge, common sense and adherence to safe canning. I also will use recipes from county extension agencies if I have difficulty finding something I'm looking for in my canning books.

What I DON'T do...I don't try to adapt cooking recipes for canning. I don't think I know better than the people who have tested the recipes and written the guidelines. I don't think that just because Grandma did it a certain way that I should do it that way. I don't fiddle with the recipes just because my version "might" taste better than the approved canning recipe. I don't assume that just because canning recipes are promoted on a website, youtube video, or forum, that it is safe or a recommended practice.

I have been canning for only 3 years, but we have a large garden and a fledgling orchard, and I've packed a lot of canning time into those 3 years! I can a LOT of food items, both BWB and Pressure Canning. I feel secure that my food is safe for my own consumption and for my family and friends.

I have learned so much at this forum. I am so glad we have so many people here with experience who are willing to share. Many times I know what to do because it is in black and white in the canning book. What I've found at this website is often the "why" it's that way. That is tremendously helpful to me.

Jill in Texas


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RE: Home Canning Safety

  • Posted by val_s z5 central IL (My Page) on
    Fri, Jun 29, 12 at 8:51

What I've found at this website is often the "why" it's that way. That is tremendously helpful to me.

Yes! I love it when people ask these types of questions. Often I've had the same questions floating around and just have never asked them. When I read some of the answers, it's like an A-HA!...Yes, that makes sense moment.

Val


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RE: Home Canning Safety

Getting to the Why, when the USDA or NCHFP tested tomatoes, they tested for boiling water bath using the necessary lemon juice or citric acid and then extrapolated from that data for an appropriate pressure canning time. They simply don't have resources sufficient to run an entirely separate test for pressure canned tomatoes without lemon juice or citric acid.

Even if they did have the resources, they might still call for lemon juice or citric acid (which is what I use) because acidification lowers the pH and shortens the processing time, resulting in a higher-quality product.

Carol


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RE: Home Canning Safety

It was just a guess on my part that the lemon juice was the issue. The OP didn't make it clear and hasn't been back to clarify.

I initially read the post as meaning something along the line of "since I have a pressure canner why do I have to use only approved recipes?" - a question we see now and then when someone new to canning assumes that a pressure canner means you can anything you want.

So if it is the lemon juice, that's been explained. If the question was how many stick by the guidelines? That's been answered too although I will add that there is one canning forum on the web where folks there go out of their way to preach against the guidelines much less follow them.

If the question is something else then we need some additional info.

Dave


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RE: Home Canning Safety

  • Posted by val_s z5 central IL (My Page) on
    Fri, Jun 29, 12 at 14:30

they might still call for lemon juice or citric acid (which is what I use)

I just picked up some citric acid this season and I'm going to try it. I've never noticed the taste of lemon juice in the tomatoes but I like trying new things. Is there any difference really in the finished product?

Is it only me that can't taste it? Or is everyone using the citric acid now? And is it because of taste, cost, convenience? This is probably hi-jacking. If it is, I apologize.

Val


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RE: Home Canning Safety

Honestly I use which ever I have as I don't note any difference in taste. I never tasted the lemon juice anyway. And with different things I use different acids. We are making Shirley's Vegetable Juice Cocktail today - a V8 type juice - and lemon juice is perfect for it.

But for me the big advantage is the citric acid stores much longer than a bottle of lemon juice. So if we have the citric acid on the shelf we don't have to worry if we forget to buy a new bottle of lemon juice. Plus we don't have to worry about making sure the bottled lemon juice we buy is one of the approved stabilized brands or not or if the stores run out of it as they did 3 or 4 years back.

Try both and see which you prefer, if either is different for you.

Dave


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RE: Home Canning Safety

  • Posted by val_s z5 central IL (My Page) on
    Fri, Jun 29, 12 at 21:20

Shirley's Vegetable Juice Cocktail

Made this for the first time last year and LOVED it! Still have a few quarts left and will absolutely be making it again this year. Will be using lemon juice in this as well...just seems like it would go with it.

citric acid stores much longer than a bottle of lemon juice

Such a good reason to switch! Frankly, I couldn't even find citric acid locally until this year. I like your reasoning though. Lasts longer, don't have to worry about running out to the store for a fresh bottle of lemon juice. I'll probably be a citric acid convert :-)

But like you said, some things will just need lemon juice, like the V-8 juice and of course I like to use vinegar and lemon juice in Annie's Salsa.

Val


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