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Do you do canning/preserving due to health issues?

Posted by ellen_inmo 6 (My Page) on
Sun, Aug 26, 12 at 18:23

In the past anxiety-filled week, a very dear friend has been diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure. Upon researching this horrible disease, I'm horrified by the mortality rates. My friend MUST make immediate diet changes and other lifestyle changes. As a friend, I want to help in the research with sodium-free cooking. My interests in canning was in huge part to be able to grow and preserve sodium and preservative free produce and such, as my personal health concerns were primarily maintaining low weight.

Any canning friends here have a restricted diet? Can you share with me any experiences in how your life has been affected? My friend also enjoys canning, particularly tomatoes. I would love some resources if anyone has any that may be helpful.

There certainly is no shortage of low-sodium recipes online. But sometimes, talking with others and what they do really helps narrow down the search. I welcome your stories and experiences.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Do you do canning/preserving due to health issues?

My husband and I have no health issues that I need to can for.

When I was younger and had children growing a garden and canning and freezing produce was a way I could contribute to the family and stay home with the kids. I had a large cold cellar and a large freezer and both contained lots of preserved or frozen fruits and vegetables.

While the cost savings were the main reason for growing a garden and preserving produce. I soon realized that what I produced was healthier than store bought. My produce contained no pesticides, was picked at the height of ripeness and preserved that same day. It also tastes better than anything you can buy

Now that there is just the 2 of us. We don't have as big a garden but we still grow the things we like in smaller quantities. I still do a bit of canning and freezing but now the garden and presereving is shared by my husband and I think we will keep doing it until they cart us off. I wouldn't miss that taste of the first tomato or cucumber or corn and new potatoes


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RE: Do you do canning/preserving due to health issues?

Salt isn't normally an issue in canning since it is optional in most everything except when fermenting. So fermented foods would need to be reduced or eliminated.

One can always compensate for the loss of flavor when skipping the salt with various spices and salt substitutes. Reducing the natural sodium found in many foods including many vegetables is much more difficult to do.

New government mandated labeling requirements helps somewhat in tracking sodium content in commercially canned foods by making us aware of the baking soda, preservatives, and monosodium glutamate (MSG) often used that contribute to the total amount of sodium we consume. But using home canned foods is more effective at reducing the intake of those additives plus the unknown sodium in foods.

But sugar is a very issue for many diabetics and pre-diabetics and several members have discussed in the past how they make compensations for their diabetes in home canning by reducing the amount called for or using sugar substitutes.

Dave


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RE: Do you do canning/preserving due to health issues?

Well, actually, one of the many reasons I preserve is for health. I break out in hideous hives (on my face, too) if I eat foods with certain preservatives, like sodium benzoate.

I'll be sitting in a restaurant, blithely eating, when suddenly someone at the table will exclaim "You're covered in hives!" I don't even feel them at first, but they itch like mad after a bit.

It's unsightly, embarrassing and uncomfortable.

Some local restaurants claim to be all organic, but some of them lie, and I'm the proof in the pudding!

I would perserve even if health weren't an issue since I enjoy gardening, etc. and I'm basically a frugal person.
Deborah


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RE: Do you do canning/preserving due to health issues?

I forgot to add, it's also why I don't use bottled lemon juice when canning (they usually contain sodium benzoate).

I have to use real lemons, which is verboten according to the authorities. But, such is life...

Deborah


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RE: Do you do canning/preserving due to health issues?

Oh my Deborah! You most certainly do benefit from preserving! I can't fathom a life of never being able to dine out. However I can't fathom a life without my friend, either. I'll bet you have an extensive collection of healthy, natural recipes and cooking techniques. And are probably well educated on what is really in store bought food. Only in the past few years have I truly began paying attention. Now, I've always been a label reader, but I focused mostly on the fats, sugars, and carbs. Recently, protein amounts have topped my list of most important. And sodium. The whole notion of what is "hidden" in our food becomes more infuriating when you learn that only up to 55% of the actual fat is what is required on a nutritional label. This number may have changed. My fitness instructor brought that to our attention and it really angered me. So many people have no idea!!

And that frightens me with the actual sodium contents as well. Is that number "allowed" to be "off" by a couple heart attacks or so????

It seems the only way to be certan is to eat pure, natural, raw, unprocessed foods. Always. I'd love to read more into those who live by this. Definitely a trip to the book store in my future.

I'm also curious. Have any of you ever bought a "no salt/sodium added" canned good, but swear that you still taste salt? I have no known sodium intolerances, however in recent years, there are certain foods I cannot stand the taste of because they are just plain too salty tasting to me. Foods that I've eaten for years. This is a condition that I will discuss with my doctor. As mentioned before, reducing sodium in my diet is a huge part of why I do canning. I've often wondered if this salty taste is simply "in my head" due to all the reading I do about nutritional facts.


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RE: Do you do canning/preserving due to health issues?

Truth to tell...I still go out to eat, occasionally. I just carry a bottle of diphenhydramine.

My husband hovers over me like a hawk. "Did you bring your Benadryl? Show it to me!" He also carries an Epi Pen, just in case. I've never needed it, though.

And when I'm invited to someone's home for dinner, I never alert my host to my allergies. I don't want to be the guest from hades...

If I break out, I merely say "Don't worry; it happens all the time."

Deborah


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RE: Do you do canning/preserving due to health issues?

I have started canning because much like Dowlinggram, we have a young family. I became a stay at home mom who has gardened as a hobby for the past 7 years. So I just "upped my game" a little. I am finally putting up some good numbers although much healthier for my family (and way tastier) hubby and I joke we are still no where near in the money saving range yet. Between fencing, tiller, more fencing (stupid deer), humane traps for the groundhogs (over a dozen in our yard this year had to be relocated or we were going to have even more serious issues next year), and all the jars I have bought this year - maybe next year we will see the economic savings.

I do have to say though, it has still all come out of my normal grocery budget and the food is not only much better, but it is all an investment. And to be honest, the stay at home mom thing was a bit of a shock to my system (don't get me wrong, I wouldn't trade it for the world) so no matter what it gives me the feeling even if it is not "financial sound" yet that I am productive and doing something healthy and good for my family.

I do have to say though, my husband and I took care of his parents for the last few years before they passed away. His father need to go on an extreme low salt diet. I did a lot of label reading and it is amazing how much salt they hide in everything. I really wished I was canning at that time. Low sodium was not NO sodium. It was extremely hard to buy anything that was pre-packaged in a store.

Kalindi


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RE: Do you do canning/preserving due to health issues?

I canned cherries for the first time this year. I am allergic to Red Dye #40, and I am really a label reader. I don't have a good source for cherries, but I bought and canned some anyway so if I want cherries, I can actually have them. It seems like everything that says it is cherry is also loaded with red dye.

Deborah, be very careful. If you are getting hives then your body is probably reacting in other ways as well. Swelling of the airways, can be very dangerous. While living in Nigeria, my son learned the hard way that he was allergic to yams (not a sweet potato). He always carried an Epi-Pen, and was able to use it, and that gave him time to get medical care.


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RE: Do you do canning/preserving due to health issues?

Thanks for responding everyone. Ive learned that my friend is allowed 1500 - 2000 mg of sodium. I was a little shocked by that. Isnt the recommended amount of sodium for a regular diet about 3000mg? Seems kinda generous for such a diagnosis. But I guess a cardiologist at the #4 rated hospitals in the country knows more than me. :-)

Regardless, I desire to continue educating myself. I did not add one gram of salt to any of my canning. I just cannot handle the taste of salt anymore. Its terrible in packaged foods. Certain things I cannot eat, such as taco seasoning mixes, kraft macaroni and cheese, most bottled spaghetti sauces, many kinds of bread, and much much more. I am otherwise quite healthy, and have no known health issues. I believe it has something to do with the fact that many packaged foods in recent years now have a 2 year expiration date when it was once a one year. That I just dont understand at all. I get very angry. Going to the grocery store and reading labels and questioning why such things can be packaged and labeled as food......


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RE: Do you do canning/preserving due to health issues?

I began canning because my son is ADHD and so many of the "hidden" ingredients in processed foods set him off: nitrates, dyes, sugars, colors, preservatives. When I can I know that the apple sauce I am giving him for lunch, for example, contains apples from the garden, a small amount of sugar, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. No colors. No preservatives. No "natural and artificial flavors". The more I can control what he eats, the better is behavior and ability to learn becomes. It becomes a win-win for us all.


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RE: Do you do canning/preserving due to health issues?

Ellen, while caring for my elderly mother I learned that many people with heart issues are put on a medication called coumadin for a period of time. During that time, intake of many of the healthiest foods like broccoli and dark leafy greens are restricted because of possible interactions.

We grow and preserve foods for general health and well being. We think it's a terrific way to live. Best of luck to you and your friend.


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RE: Do you do canning/preserving due to health issues?

For a low salt or no salt taco seasoning, why not mix up your own? I have found that the "Mexican Spice Blend" for Ball's herbed tomatoes works well as a replacement for taco seasoning. Mix it up, then measure out the amount you need and add it to your meat with a bit of water. (To replace the packet of taco seasoning 2-3 Tbsp is usual, I think. It can be done to taste!) Then, just let it simmer. We also like it for seasoning chili.

Here it is with a link back to the original recipe collection.

Mexican Spice Blend
Makes about 6 (32 oz) quarts or 12 (16 oz) pints

You will need:
6 tsp chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp oregano
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp ground coriander
1-1/2 tsp seasoned salt, optional

1.) ADD 2-1/2 tsp of spice blend to each pint jar. If omitting seasoned salt, use only 2 tsp.

Here is a link that might be useful: Ball Tomatoes with seasoning blends


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RE: Do you do canning/preserving due to health issues?

Thanks planatus, he has been getting much better. He is much to young for such health conditions! It certainly has been an educational couple of weeks for me concerning how the heart functions, its needs, its toxins, etc.

Thank you berrybusy!! And what a great name you have! I absolutely will try your recipe. I have tried some copy cat and knock off seasoning recipes and something just isnt quite right. When I try a new one, and it doesnt work for me, I just use some of my home canned taco sauce to the skillet to save the meat. Im sure most people would argue "it only costs about 99cents for seasoning".....certainly. But mulitiply that times two, plus $5 for chips, $5 for cheese, $3 for sauce, $3 for olives, chili peppers, and jalapenos, $4 for lettuce and tomatoes. Im tired of giving all that money to the store! Of all that listed, I can mix my own seasoning, can my own taco sauce (Ball recipe tried and true), pickle my own jalapenos and whatever else peppers, grow my own lettuce in the greenhouse in winter, spring and fall, and use my own canned tomatoes. Feel free to give suggestions on whatever else I can do myself because Im all for it! Dehydrated peppers for the seasoning? Homemade sodium free tortillas? Bring it on!!! LOL. :)


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RE: Do you do canning/preserving due to health issues?

Ellen, I don't dehydrate my peppers. I wash, deseed, and chop or slice as desired, and freeze them in a freezer bag. Nothing easier than that, and they are great for cooking all winter. I also freeze onions, but I measure them into 1/2 cup portions and put in a snack or sandwich bag, then put all the bags in a large freezer bag. Onions tend to stick together, but I can take out as many peppers as I need.


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RE: Do you do canning/preserving due to health issues?

Thanks soonergrandmom, I also freeze peppers and onions, but never for long term. Unless I learned incorrectly, onions get bitter after long term freezing? I do the same thing as you, premeasuring for recipes, but typically just for canning. After harvest, instead of storing (which never works here where I live for anyone), I will chop and freeze in one cup measurements, store in individual inexpensive cheap sandwich baggies, then store all of the baggies in good quality gallon freezer bags. But I usually only store them for a few months, thaw and use in canning recipes. Then have to buy from the store the rest of the winter, as I always thought you shouldnt freeze them for very long. Peppers I do though.


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RE: Do you do canning/preserving due to health issues?

Ellen, best of luck to you and your friend.

I grow a large organic garden and grass fed beef. I started because Ihad children and didn't want to feed them the pesticides, fungicides, herbicides and various other "cides" that are meant to kill things. My father had heart disease, servial heart attacks, a quadruple bypass and diabetes. He lost a leg and was finally confined to a wheelchair before he passed away. That's why we switched to grass fed from grain fed beef, it's far leaner and was more heart healthy for him. I've kept doing it because I've found a "niche" market for it and I like it better than the traditional commercially avilable antibiotic/hormone laden fatty beef.

Canning your own food gives you far more control than the per-packaged and pre-made items available commercially do. I have found that Penzey's spices have many salt free blends, I really like their Mural of Flavor. You might check if you have a store near you, or they sell on-line, they're very nice people.

My stepmother is on Coumadin after having heart surgery and a pacemaker installed. She's allowed "nothing green", as planatus mentioned. You might want to check for other food restrictions besides salt intake.

Good luck, to you and to your friend.

Annie


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