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comments on book 'Putting Up' by Dowdney?

Posted by lisapat 8a (My Page) on
Thu, Nov 10, 11 at 21:41

I just picked up "Putting Up - A Year-Round Guide to Canning in the Southern Tradition" by Stephen Palmer Dowdney. What a weird combination of pseudo-science, tradition, and seeming personal whimsy.

All his recipes are either "hot pack" (his term for ladling hot food into hot jars, capping, and leaving them on the counter upside-down to seal) or boiling water bath. Except, his boiling water bath involves filling the canner to an inch below the jar tops, and gently boiling (because a rapid boil could cause water to seep into the jars!) until the contents of the jar reach a certain temperature (one jar has an instant read thermometer in it the whole time). Then, the jars are removed, the lids are reefed on tight and the jars are turned upside down (again).

As for the recipes, there's a great one for BWB refried beans that involves dried beans, a whack of low-acid vegetables, a pound and a half of butter and oh yeah, some lemon juice and citric acid. He recommends testing the pH of each recipe at time of canning and again after 24 hours.

What with all the temperature-taking and pH-testing, he manages to make canning seem way more complicated than it needs to be, while at the same time introducing needless danger into the process through breaking every rule in the Ball Blue Book.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: comments on book 'Putting Up' by Dowdney?

I share your concerns about this book and posted some similar comments about it a year or so back when I first looked through it. I don't know if that discussion is still around but others voiced concerns about it at that time.

It sure doesn't adhere to the commonly accepted guidelines and could easily mislead new canning folks into some risky practices. His processing methods raise all sorts of questions and litmus paper testing isn't all it is cracked up to be by this author since false readings are common.

There are much better books available IMO.


RE: comments on book 'Putting Up' by Dowdney?

Thanks, Dave - I found it. I couldn't find the older conversation initially because his name was misspelled (as Downey).

My first thought when I picked up the book was, "I *have* to tell the folks at the Harvest Forum about this one!" After all I've read here and from Ball/Bernardin/NCHFP it blew me clean away.

Although, his refried bean recipe (which he's given some silly cutesy name) sounds delicious to make in bulk and then freeze.

RE: comments on book 'Putting Up' by Dowdney?

I wish there was some sort of law that would not allow such things to be written. I know, I am tired of so much government interference, but when it comes to the safety of people, then I am not for innocent people buying such awful "information". I don't know what the answer would be, but I think it is terrible for people to be allowed to earn money from things like this.

RE: comments on book 'Putting Up' by Dowdney?

I have heard of turning the jars upside-down for a sure seal. I am sure the older generation used this method more than now. So its not uncommon.
Let's face it your seal,Ph and temperatures are your most important.
Depending on the type of cook book you are reading, certain slang of the region is most likely used if bought while traveling to different parts of the country or if bought as a gift . It is best to purchase a book specificly on canning if you are a newbie.

RE: comments on book 'Putting Up' by Dowdney?

Actually, the methods he espouses are government approved for those selling their canned goods. You can look up the guidelines online yourself. The method is all about repeatedly checking the pH of the product. The main advantage is that it allows for greater flexibility in the recipes.

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