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Ball Blue Book recipes never the correct number of jars

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

I haven't been on Gardenweb in years......like 10 years.....so bear with me if I'm asking something that's been posted a zillion times already. I'm relatively new to canning. Last year I learned water bath canning, this year is pressure canning. And I am the biggest 38 year old canning addict you'll meet right now!! In my experiences, almost every recipe in the BBB never finishes out the number of jars the recipe says. Most of the time it's half! Most recipes do say "about x amount of pints/quarts" but sometimes it's way off. This does not happen with recipes from other sources. (I ONLY use reputable safe recipes.) Does anyone else notice this happening with Ball recipes?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Ball Blue Book recipes never the correct number of jars

I am also new to canning but had that experiences with the ball sweet pickle relish. Way to much brine for the amount of veggies. I did leave what I canned soupy (i.e. not packed tight like store bought relish) and ended up throwing out brine and got 4 pints.


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RE: Ball Blue Book recipes never the correct number of jars

Most of the time it's half!

That much indicates some sort of problem in the way you are doing the recipe, not the recipe itself.

Sure they are approximations so may be off by 1/2-1 jar either way depending on all sorts of variables - using the wrong size jar, the quality of the fruit or vegetable, how you chop/slice/grind or how much solids you pack into the jars. Over-packing jars is a very common mistake for those new to canning and needs to be eliminated for safety sake.

So could you give examples of the specific recipes you have had such a BIG difference with?

Dave


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RE: Ball Blue Book recipes never the correct number of jars

Are you using liquid measuring cups for liquid ingredients and dry cups for dry things ? There is a difference and you need to use the correct things. A liquid cup will have a spout.


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RE: good example

with the ball sweet pickle relish. Way to much brine for the amount of veggies. I did leave what I canned soupy (i.e. not packed tight like store bought relish) and ended up throwing out brine and got 4 pints.

That recipe says it makes 8 HALF-pints. You used pints and upped the jar size. That is never recommended. 4 pints was correct in total but the wrong jar size for that particular recipe.

Fortunately for you, pints are allowed per the NCHFP recipe (which has the same proportion of vinegar) and processed for the same 10 mins.

Dave

Here is a link that might be useful: NCHFP - Sweet Pickle Relish


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RE: Ball Blue Book recipes never the correct number of jars

Thanks everyone, it's great to have people to consult with. I respect you all for your knowledge and experiences, as canning seems to have consumed me! Explaining myself further, I'm new to canning but not new to preserving or cooking in general. I'm a stickler for correct measurements, volume, etc. especially so with learning the pressure canning, as I admit to being fearful of using one for many years. I'm not fearful of it now, at all. But being fearful made me a stickler for doing EVERY step exactly as indicated, absolutely no cutting corners. The Ball Blue Book is my bible. While I'm trying virtually every recipe for everything edible, the BBB is always my first choice. I've never had one BBB recipe turn out bad, never had a bad canning experience. I'm just saying the volume of the end product is never what it says in the book. If it says "approximately 5 pints" I know to only sterilize 3 pint jars because I will not end up with 5. I've not had this happen with recipes from other sources.


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RE: Ball Blue Book recipes never the correct number of jarsG

Wow, if I took the time to list every BBB recipe I've used, I'll be on here all day! Obviously, my problem is with recipes and not with general canning of fruits, vegetables, etc, that are canned in a syrup or vinegar. It's the recipes that my volume is off. Looking thru the book, I've done every chutney, and noted in my book the actual # of jars I ended up with. It's always less by 2 jars. Tomato products are definitely off, and maybe this is to be expected. Using a particular type of tomato with more water content, the amount of summer/boil time, etc. I expect it to be different with tomato recipes. I love the conserves, preserves and certain jams with mixed fruits, and every recipe that I've done has a notation for the actual number of jars I ended up with vs. the number the recipe says. For jellies, I stick with Sure Jell, as most produce is scarce here, I have to purchase it, and I don't want any mistakes. And certain recipes using those same fruits, I've bypassed using the BBB recipe and used other sources because there is more if a promise if having more jars when I'm done than with BBB. What could I be doing wrong on my end if other recipes end up pretty accurate but BBB ones rarely are?? I appreciate all of you for your help! I could just pick your brains all day! :-)


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RE: Ball Blue Book recipes never the correct number of jars

Sorry, didn't mean you needed to list them all. :) Just meant give us a couple of specific recipe examples where your results have been way off so we could look up the recipe and maybe help ID what may be the cause. Surprisingly, based on posts in the past, most seem to find they get more jars than less and so prepare more jars rather then less.

But some examples of general causes of a big difference between the recipe's predictions and results of much less:

1) as with coralb's post above - using the wrong size of jars

2) accidentally leaving out an ingredient and not realizing it - happens more often than you might think especially for new folks and some recent posts here on just that issue

3) mistakes in measuring as Linda Lou mentioned

4) chopping/grinding/dicing - all those terms mean very different things to some folks and particle size can make a BIG difference in the end result. This is especially common with chutneys and relishes. Chutneys are typically a very coarse chop while relishes are a very find chop or a grind. So if you grind chutney ingresients you'll get less jars.

5) over-packing the jars with solids and not enough liquid (the most common cause by far and the only one that poses a potential safety issue). People tend to over-cram either to make it look like store-bought to to avoid having left overs. Especially common when doing tomatoes whole or in halves.

6) over-cooking before jarring results is softer, more compact food particles - BIG effect on tomatoes.

7) the food quality/juiciness controls the amount of liquid

A point about Sure Jell vs. the other pectins. Sure Jell is a much harder set than the other brands, especially the Ball Brand pectins. So with Sure Jell's rock-hard set you will often get less 1/2 pint jars. One reason why many of us don't like to use Sure Jell and prefer Ball or Pomona. Personally I'll use Certo if I have to before I'll use Sure Jell.

But the important issue is safety of the foods and when done properly the foods should be safe even if it is a jar off. Hope this helps some and if you haven't, consider purchasing the Ball Complete Book of Home Food Preserving.

Dave

PS: is your BBB the new edition? There have been many changes.


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RE: Ball Blue Book recipes never the correct number of jars

I'd go for over-cooking (as in chutney) or over-packing (as in pickles and relishes).

I would expect some small variations one way or another allowing for natural differences in how each of us operates and also differences in the water content and size of produce (for those recipes that specify "large", "medium, etc. as opposed to weight) but really significant variations occuring consistently indicates there's some sort of user error.

As Dave said, a difference of a jar or so is not a big issue but ending up with 2x the quantity or half the quantity is.

Carol


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RE: Ball Blue Book recipes never the correct number of jars

Wow, thank you Dave!! I'm a pretty throughough lady and I appreciate folks immensely who are as well. I gotta tell you, if I were a wealthy woman, I'd hire someone to assist me for a full year to make certain I learn correctly. And yes, if I were wealthy I WOULD still do canning. :-)

You've pointed out many eye opening issues, particularly with the chopping/grinding issue. I think this may be a mistake an individual makes when they envision their own personal final product. Such as myself, with many of my chutneys if I have any hope in my children eating them, the onions and peppers need to be invisible, practically. Same with tomato products containing onions/peppers. It's quite possible I'm over chopping, which would undoubtedly result in more of a measure than a coarse chop. Am I wrong, though, to say that many recipes don't get too specific about chopping, nor put enough emphasis on the importance? Thanks for bringing to my attention.
Also, am I safe to assume many people (including) me would be more likely to over cram, without realizing we are doing so) for the sake of conserving jars/lids? Particularly people like me who are so new that we are purchasing new jars, and it's a whopper of an investment. I guess maybe a time or two I have thought "I can add a few more chunks to each jar" in order to save another jar. However, I've never intentionally overstuffed a jar, I always follow headspace, but maybe it ended up being crammed inadvertently?? Definitely, definitely makes sense.
I have had issues with other recipes having too much product. But this has never happened with BBB. I have the 100th Anniversary Edition of BBB dated 2010. I most certainly will invest in the complete book, which I only recently knew existed. I'm pretty well read up on changes and safety issues that have come about in recent years, and I read and read and READ it over and over and over again to make it all stick! I can't wait to get free time to read the entire Harvest forum from the beginning!


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RE: Ball Blue Book recipes never the correct number of jars

Thanks Carol. I haven't found a BBB recipe yet that's notated in my book for ending up with just one jar less than the recipe states. I can't be making that many errors, can I?! The food quality is great, seals are great. I probably would have just assumed this was just normal if I hadn't started using other recipes.


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RE: Ball Blue Book recipes never the correct number of jars

Also, am I safe to assume many people (including) me would be more likely to over cram, without realizing we are doing so) for the sake of conserving jars/lids? Particularly people like me who are so new that we are purchasing new jars, and it's a whopper of an investment.

Oh, yeah! Good point. I actually had to buy some pints this year, first time in decades, and their shiny newness made me want to save and not use them. :)

Dave


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RE: Ball Blue Book recipes never the correct number of jars

"First time in decades"........I assume Dave's been at this a long, long time??! Whatcha doin for the next 12 months of your life, Dave??! Lol! Ahhhh to have someone here to correct my mistakes. My beloved Grandma is proudly watching over me and this endeavor, the proudest grandma in Heaven. What I'd give to spend the day with her and let her pass everything down to me.....


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