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adding green peppers and onions to spaghetti sauce

Posted by dillydee8930 6 (My Page) on
Sat, Jul 18, 09 at 14:23

is it ok to add some green peppers and onions to spaghetti sauce when canning? I see some recipes online that add both onions and peppers, but heard and also read that it was not safe. if not how about if you liquify the onions and peppers and add that way? just want to know your opinion on the subject.
my friend has been canning for 35 or so years and wont listen to me, I am a safety freak!
thanks


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: adding green peppers and onions to spaghetti sauce

The onions and peppers are low acid by their nature. Adding them in pieces or even chopping or puree will reduce the overall acidity of the canned tomatoes. A safer approach would be to use dried onions and peppers. Then, they soak up acid liquid. Additionally, each jar of tomatoes must also contain either bottled lemon juice, or citric acid to ensure that its acidic enough to safely can. Herbs too, can be added as dried, but I avoid adding too much basil as it tends to get a bit bitter sitting in a jar of sauce.


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RE: adding green peppers and onions to spaghetti sauce

I agree that adding dried peppers and onions poses no problems but whether or not you can safely use fresh ones all depends on the over-all recipe, its added acid if any, and how it is processed.

For example, the approved NCHFP spaghetti sauce recipe calls for both (fresh) but in very specific amounts and it also requires pressure canning. Other recipes might very well require adding citric acid, vinegar or bottled lemon juice to make them safe.

So we'd need to see the entire recipe, if you'd care to post it, to know for sure.

Dave

Here is a link that might be useful: NCHFP - Spaghetti Sauce


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RE: adding green peppers and onions to spaghetti sauce

Please, for your safety, use a recipe that is tested, such as the one provided for you by Dave.
That way there is no guesswork as to it's safety.
It will need to be pressure canned.


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RE: adding green peppers and onions to spaghetti sauce

After reading all the posts about peppers,onions and other spices added to tomatoes and sauces I am almost embarrassed to ask this because I'm sure your going to tell me my family should be dead! A few years back a friend taught me how to can tomatoes the BWB method. We decided to do a salsa - tomaotes, peppers, onions,cilantro.(we did add citric acid) Cooked in a big pot, then processed liked canned tomatoes. I decide to kick it up a bit and add lots of spicy pepers , called it my chilli mix and add a pint jar of this to my chilli in the winter months ,makes the best chilli ever! No recipe just kinda done by looks and taste. We've never gotten sick or I haven't had a bad jar. My question - is this okay or have we all been lucky? Is there a safe way to do something like this or should I just freeze or dry the peppers to have on hand. Adding the pint jar was just so easy.


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RE: adding green peppers and onions to spaghetti sauce

If you're cooking the chili after adding the home-canned sauce, 20 minutes is the suggested time, then you would destroy any botulism toxin that might be present.


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RE: adding green peppers and onions to spaghetti sauce

Er, but don't plan to bwb low-acid foods and rely on cooking afterward -- an invisible amount of botulism can kill you, and just opening a can containing botulism toxin can put that amount into the air or on your hands or counter.


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RE: adding green peppers and onions to spaghetti sauce

gardener1908, you have to keep the proportion of peppers the same as what is recommended in an approved mix. In the case of the NCHFP - Spaghetti Sauce above, you can substitute hot peppers for the green peppers, but not add more than 1 cup as per the recipe.

Or you can add dried, ground hot peppers to the batch.

Or you can infuse hot peppers into the vinegar (not oil) of a recipe like Annie's Salsa, then remove the pepper flesh before using the vinegar in the recipe.

Or you can do as I do and add the dried/ground pepper to the skillet when browning the meat, along with some of the other spices. This way you can have the spaghetti sauce for both chili and spaghetti, and control the heat for each as you prepare it. Also it gives your chili meat more flavor.

One other trick I like to use when making a pot of chili is to simmer dried, whole Nu-Mex peppers (without the seeds and stems) in boiling water for 10 minutes, then place them on a paper plate and roll the flesh out of the skins. You can use a rolling pin for that or a short piece of 1/2" PVC works even better. Then add the flesh to the pot of veggies and sauce as your meat is browning.

This is making me hungry. Gotta run! :)


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RE: adding green peppers and onions to spaghetti sauce

Or just cook up a batch of Annie's Salsa, chock full of peppers and onions and added vinegar, modify the spices to suit a pasta or chili dish, and use that.

Whats the 10 year, North American running count of botulism cases from home canned tomato sauce up to, these days? Four?


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RE: adding green peppers and onions to spaghetti sauce

Botulism cases REPORTED, who many NOT reported?


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RE: adding green peppers and onions to spaghetti sauce

Actually, I was just reading the CDC's website on botulism and there are 145 reported cases a year (on average). About 20% of those come from home canning.


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RE: adding green peppers and onions to spaghetti sauce

No recipe just kinda done by looks and taste.

That part is dangerous. ;)

We've never gotten sick or I haven't had a bad jar. My question - is this okay or have we all been lucky?

Lucky. ;)

Is there a safe way to do something like this or should I just freeze or dry the peppers to have on hand.

Yes, there are several safe ways to accomplish the same thing and some good suggestions given by others. It is even possible that your "recipe" was safe but we can't know without all the details of it - which you don't have - so you can't replicate it. ;)

But if you used the correct amount of citric acid to the right amount of low acid ingredients and if you processed it correctly then you might have lucked out.

a salsa - tomaotes, peppers, onions,cilantro.(we did add citric acid) Cooked in a big pot, then processed liked canned tomatoes. I decide to kick it up a bit and add lots of spicy pepers , called it my chilli mix and add a pint jar of this to my chilli in the winter months ,makes the best chilli ever!

So take an approved salsa recipe (like Annie's or one from NCHFP, keep the total amount of peppers (hot or sweet) the same as medcave said, add the required amount of either citric acid, vinegar, or bottled lemon or lime juice, and BWB in pints only for the required time and viola' you have your chilli mix.

Dave


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RE: adding green peppers and onions to spaghetti sauce

I know now , I said I was kinda of embarrased to say anything, but it is better to be embarrssed, then educated, than to keep on doing something stupid and risky. I do love the convienence of the pint jar added, but I will look at others options to try to accompolish the same results. Again thanks so much to all, I know myself and others really appreciate your help and experience.


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RE: adding green peppers and onions to spaghetti sauce

Linked is a CDC study of the botulism cases reported between 1990 and 2000 - scroll down to table 3 for what vegetable was the culprit with home canning, and how many cases occurred during that 10 year time frame. Not that many. Doctors are legally obliged to report cases to the CDC, to help track food borne disease outbreaks. - I suppose some may have slipped through the cracks, but still, if you're sick enough to go to a doctor, it was likely reported.

It would appear, then, the incidence is going up, what with 40 odd cases from home-canned food last year. They don't tell you, however, what it was that was home-canned. So it could be asparagus, or water-bath salmon or something exotic like fermented whale oil.

As the perennial discussions on the subject come around, it is clearly wise to take necessary precautions and avoid canning stuff like wild mushrooms in olive oil, however this should be tempered with common sense and basic food hygiene, a personal level of comfort, a knowledge of botulism and what it takes to destroy the toxin - which is basically to heat the jar contents up to a boil for a few minutes - and a realization that botulism poisoning is a very rare occurrence - well, unless you eat home-canned fish in Alaska. :-).

As a public source of information, this form quite rightly, and quite often, mentions the dangers of botulism. There is also a greater risk of contracting botulism from eating in a restaurant or buying food from a store.

So, occasionally, it also might be a good idea to temper this with statistical information on the actual risk, the actual number of people who do get sick from home canning. Last year 40-odd people out of a population of 300,000,000+, more than that got sick at restaurants. We shouldn't be scaring people away from home canning, or from eating in restaurants.

I did pick up something searching earlier today, apparently a *new* risk of botulism poisoning is folks who inadvertently misuse Botox treatments. Now who could see that one coming.......

Carry on -

Here is a link that might be useful: CDC data on home canning and what caused the botulism


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RE: adding green peppers and onions to spaghetti sauce

If we didn't educate people on the risks, the cases would be higher.
Plus, we deal with different varieties of foods, different ph levels, etc. than they did years ago. Things have changed,for sure. We can't even trust that the fruits and veggies we buy in the stores are free from terrible bacteria. Of course, I am all for prevention as much as possible. Better safe than sorry.
As far as I know, the most recent cases of botulism in homecanned food was in my state from green beans. That nurse and her 2 children. I have not been able to find out how they are doing. I know the mother was on a ventilator.
Personally, I don't care how many cases there are, per se, but rather think of how I would feel if even 1 case was my loved one or friend.
For me it isn't just about botulism, it is all forms of food borne illness.
I read that all eggs sold commercially will be pasteurized soon.


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RE: adding green peppers and onions to spaghetti sauce

I'm all for tempering information. ;)

There is a whole library's worth of invalid, inaccurate, and downright dangerous canning info out there on the web. We have discussed several excellent examples of it here lately.

Hundreds of cases of botulism etc. just waiting to happen thanks to all of it if folks want to use it. We here are one of the few sources, forum-wise, that work hard to "temper" all that dangerous info with accurate and yes perhaps ultra-safe info.

But if a loved one was one of those reported cases it would all be a moot point wouldn't it?

Dave


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RE: adding green peppers and onions to spaghetti sauce

There is no certain recipe, my friend just throws in the green peppers and onions and whatever else she throws in there.
I showed her this message board and also bought her an updated ball blue book (she had a canning book back when she was 17 years old and she is 60 now good grief. and also bought one for myself :) and she said...
wow i better start doing things different before i make my family sick or even kill them! thank you all who knows you could have saved a life or many! she was not listening to me. (she has a big family all grown with several grandkids.)
Has anybody tried that spaghetti sauce recipe from NCHFP? it looks good thank you.


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RE: adding green peppers and onions to spaghetti sauce

I think what is bothering me on this thread is that spaghetti sauce is usually reheated/ simmered/ cooked, or further rendered safe to eat. Botulism toxin, as well as just about every food born bacteria, is destroyed with cooking. Most food we eat is covered with bacteria, most of it benign. However, pre-packaged supermarket chicken has a Salmonella contamination rate of over 40%. If you don't cook that chicken drumstick properly, you're going to get really sick. But since people know that cooking makes it safe, please pass the gravy. :-)

Here we have a question on modifying a spaghetti recipe by adding some more green pepper. So, it would appear to me, that the poster is going to add a bit extra pepper, not totally change the recipe into a green pepper sauce.

The advice is - no, you can't, only follow tested recipes or you're gonna die from botulism (exaggerating a bit for poetic purposes).

Yet the sauce is going to be heated up - why not make the point that cooking the modified sauce, along with the meat, fresh mushrooms, and all that basil straight from the garden, will destroy any bacteria or toxins in the sauce, meat, mushrooms, and basil?

Or am I missing something here?


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RE: adding green peppers and onions to spaghetti sauce

Botulism toxin is killed at 240 degrees, not at boiling point hence the need to pressure can or create an acidic environment that it can not survive in


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RE: adding green peppers and onions to spaghetti sauce

Thats botulism spores, not toxin. The spores are everywhere.

.....Despite its extreme potency, botulinum toxin is easily destroyed. Heating to an internal temperature of 85C for at least 5 minutes will decontaminate affected food or drink.....

Commercially canned food is treated to eliminate all spores. Most other foods can be assumed to contain spores. Control methods focus on the inhibition of growth and toxin production.

The main factors limiting growth of C. botulinum in foods are:
Temperature
pH
Water activity
Redox potential
Food preservatives
Competing microorganisms.
Persons who do home canning should follow strict hygienic procedures to reduce contamination of foods. They should also be educated about the proper time, pressure, and temperature required to destroy spores, the need for adequately refrigerated storage of incompletely processed foods, and the effectiveness of boiling, with stirring, home-canned vegetables to destroy botulinum toxins.
Baking potatoes in aluminum foil does not kill spores and may actually facilitate germination and growth if the potato is held at ambient temperature.
Oils infused with garlic or herbs should be refrigerated.
Potatoes which have been baked while wrapped in aluminum foil should be kept hot until served or refrigerated.
Because botulinum toxin is destroyed by high temperatures, persons who eat home-canned foods should consider boiling the food for 10 minutes before eating it to ensure safety.
A pressure cooker must be used to can vegetables at home because it can reach temperatures above boiling, which is necessary to kill botulism spores. Instructions on safe home canning can be obtained from county extension services or from the US Department of Agriculture.

From the Center for Disease Control.

From the best I can tell, there has been, in North America, one case of suspected botulism poisoning from home-canned tomato sauce in the past 15 years. In Canada, with home canned tomatoes being the suspect. Although they checked the rest of the sick couple's canned tomatoes out of the same batch, and found nothing.

I'm not trying to be a pest, here. I'm asking because there seems to be an exception made for botulism toxin (not spores, which are everywhere) that, as far as I can tell, can be destroyed easily by simple cooking methods, the same simple cooking methods that allow us to eat chicken that we know is contaminated with salmonella, or so many other things we regularly consume.

Here is a link that might be useful: CDC link on botulism spores and toxin.


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RE: adding green peppers and onions to spaghetti sauce

Botulism toxin is killed at 240 degrees, not at boiling point hence the need to pressure can or create an acidic environment that it can not survive in

Right, hard boiling, if it is done correctly (simmering doesn't count) and for the correct amount of time (20 mins.) neutralizes (not kills) any botulism toxin that may be present. It does not kill the spores themselves.

Plus in the process you have increased the odds of further contamination from the spores - utensils, countertop, pans, yourself, etc.

So, why not just do it right to begin with and then not have to worry about it?

we have a question on modifying a spaghetti recipe by adding some more green pepper.

No, actually it was a bit more complex than that. ;)

It was a question about adding an unknown amount of hot peppers (could be 1 or could be 12) to an unknown made-up recipe with unknown amounts of other, all low-acid, ingredients. An unknown amount of citric acid was added. It was then cooked in an open pot for an unknown amount of time and processed in a BWB rather than pressure canned for an unknown amount of time.

In the unknown details lies the danger.

Dave


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RE: adding green peppers and onions to spaghetti sauce

I guess I assume, like the CDC, that botulism spores are everywhere, and likely in my garden since I get frequent clouds of dust blowing in from agriculture enterprises, dirt bike tracks, hoof-hammered dried sheep and cattle droppings, etc. I assume that I ingest a fair share of botulism spores, either by inhaling them, or by eating raw honey, or by nibbling on an apricot straight off the tree, w/o washing the dust off. They go right through the old acidic digestive system, no problem.

The danger comes not from the spore, but from the toxin produced when the spores have an appropriate environment and go from being spores into being little bacteria, producing the deadly toxin. Which can occur in a canning jar w/o out low enough acidity, or a baby's digestive tract which isn't yet acidic enough and they eat honey, which contain the spores as well. Low enough acidity, the spores just sit there, being benign.

Segwaying over to Salmonella, which is present in a lot of chicken intestines, and with the modern, high through put processing factories, results in a really high contamination rate of packaged chicken. So much so that your odds of bringing home a package of drumsticks that have Salmonella on them is pretty good. You also have a decent change of bringing home botulism spores and toxins on that same chicken - birds and botulism go together like Fred and Ginger, and who knows what all else that can be on a 'product' popping out of a modern poultry processing operation where they're running them through a common "disinfectant" (snort) bath at I dunno how many a minute.

So, basic food hygiene - wash the counters, knives, and everything that comes into contact with the chicken with hot soapy water to prevent cross-contamination.

And cook the heck out of the chicken to kill the for-sure salmonella and any possible botulism toxin. :-)

Absolutely wonderful organic apricots this year, by the way. Hardly a bug or bird got to them.


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RE: adding green peppers and onions to spaghetti sauce

The problem with trying to make an unsafe food safe by boiling is not fool proof. It not only can cause paralysis or death by eating the food, it can get in via your skin. A small cut, etc. The contamination of a drop on the counter, a pot holder, dish cloth,etc.
It is so simple to just follow a recipe that is tested for safety to begin with. I never understand why it is so important in peoples minds to HAVE to have a certain recipe or food in a jar. I cannot figure this out.
I have not made the USDA recipe for spaghetti sauce. I tend to can plain things and then open and use for a variety of things. I did find a recipe for spaghetti sauce my neighbor and I want to try later on. I think it is in Small Batch Preserving by Ellie Topp and Margaret Howard.


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RE: adding green peppers and onions to spaghetti sauce

How many people take a taste of the tomato sauce or other foods as they are heating it up to make into chili, spaghetti sauce or whatever? I am sure that lots of people try foods before they have been cooked enough to take care of bacteria, spores or toxins. This discussion has opened up my eyes. I thought I was careful with my cooking/canning, but I know of lots of times food has been tasted to see what needs to be added. Scary. Good work guys.
Donna


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RE: adding green peppers and onions to spaghetti sauce

In comparison, we have camphobacteria and salmonella on chicken, with 83% contamination rates of processed birds having one or both of these things, "Campylobacter and salmonella from all food sources sickened more than 3.4 million Americans and killed more than 700, according to the latest estimates from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, dating from 1999. with the recommended way to deal with this is to cook them to 165.

Oh well. You'd think they'd recommend finding a cleaner chicken. :-)

Here is a link that might be useful: Consumer Reports chicken info. Blurk.....


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RE: adding green peppers and onions to spaghetti sauce

Right, hard boiling, if it is done correctly (simmering doesn't count) and for the correct amount of time (20 mins.) neutralizes (not kills) any botulism toxin that may be present. It does not kill the spores themselves.

The CDC says that 5 minutes at 85, which isn't a hard boil by any means, will decontaminate your food. See quote and link above. But again, no problem. :-). 20 minutes at a hard boil would be safer, and stirring constantly while doing so.

I wonder where that fly that just landed on my sandwich has been.......


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RE: adding green peppers and onions to spaghetti sauce

I wonder where that fly that just landed on my sandwich has been.......

Probably in a chicken coop if you have any nearby. ;)

Dave


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RE: adding green peppers and onions to spaghetti sauce

For those interested there were two other threads here recently that covered botulism risk from different points of view:

http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/harvest/msg1211133824505.html

http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/harvest/msg0314382417075.html

TomNJ


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