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Water Bath Canning

Posted by randy_1981 Hardiness Zone 6 (My Page) on
Mon, Jun 21, 10 at 20:51

Question for you all.... I'm just starting to get the hang of canning and decided to keep it simple for now. So far, all I have canned are high acid foods such as pickles and just this weekend, pickled beets. At the moment, I am sticking to the water bath canner, I'm a bit intimidated by the pressure canner *chuckle*. Anyhow, here is my question.

After spending hours in the kitchen canning pickles last summer, I couldn't wait to crack open a jar (I eat them like candy). I opened the jar, heard the thrilling whoosh of the vacuum seal breaking, grabbed a pretty looking spear, popped it in my mouth and YUCK! Pure mush!!!! After analyzing what could have caused such a catastrophe, I realized it's most likely my method.

I think am letting my goods process to long in the waterbath canner but I don't know how to get around it. Basically, I let the water boil in the canner first and then add my filled jars once the water is boiling. Then it takes forever for the water to start boiling again. For example, when I canned my beets this weekend, the canned beets sat in the hot water bath for a total of 50 mins. This included waiting for the water to boil once again and allowing for the proper processing time called for in the recipe.
Hopefully somebody out there can give me a push in the right direction. My beets turned out pretty good actually but they were still a bit "mushier" than I remember them being as a youngster. Thanks a bunch! Cheers and happy gardening!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Water Bath Canning

I recommend you at least give some info on the recipe you used. or the full recipe. hard to advise without knowing what you did.

also tell us where you got both recipes for the beets and pickles.

thank you

RE: Water Bath Canning

If your pickles are soft and you only processed them for the 10 or 15 min. normally recommended they should not be soft. It is not the processing.
It is either the cukes were not freshly picked and processed within 24 hour of picking or you have used water that was too hard.
Also, that is not too long for the beets to take.
Did you use a safe, current brine recipe ? Please, do not use old recipes as the vinegar used in them was much more acidic than what we get now.
Plus, the water should not be boiling. The temp. in the canner should be 140 degrees for a raw pack, and 180 degrees for a hot packed food. It should never be boiliing as the jars can crack from thermal shock.
You can also use Pickle Crisp to keep any pickled food more firm. Same thing commercial industry uses. It is NOT the same as pickling lime and will not reduce the acidity.
Here is the link to safe recipes and methods :

Here is a link that might be useful: NCHFP link.

RE: Water Bath Canning

Did you trim the cucumbers? The blossom end contains enzymes which cause softening if not trimmed.

I agree with Linda_Lou that properly processed pickles should not be "mush." Once you determine what the issue is and fix that, you might consider adding Pickle Crisp to the jars for a firmer texture.

As for the pickled beets, the time to come up to temperature will vary depending upon the size of the canner and the power of the burner, but a certain amount of time necessary to come up to boiling is included in calculating a safe processing time.

If the time is excessively long, it may be due to an underpowered stove. There are some options for correcting that.


RE: Water Bath Canning

I agree, if your water was boiling when you put the jars in and it took a long time to come back up to temperature, you might want to look at your burner.

That said, my pickles are always soft and mushy. Even with pickle crisp. I made them for Dad while he was still alive, and I haven't made any since except Linda Lou's sweet pickle chunks which stay crisp enough that they aren't icky.

I use fresh cucumbers that I pick myself, I cut off the blossom end, I pack them in ice, they are still soft and mushy and icky and very sour. Some of us just make lousy pickles, I think.

My pickled beets, though, now those are good.


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