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 Post subject: Canning for the first time.
PostPosted: Sun Aug 01, 2010 12:53 pm 
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I am gonna do some canning to see how things go and get ready when the time is right. Any tips. Wanna do tomatoes and probably pickles. I would do tomato sauce like spaghetti sauce. I don't wanna have to freeze it if I can get a way with it. Help please.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 01, 2010 5:54 pm 
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This looks like a pretty informative page. We've canned tomatoes several times in the past, but my wife if the brains of the operation. I do the grunt work.

http://www.pickyourown.org/canning_tomatoes.htm


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 01, 2010 10:43 pm 
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From what I quickly read, that page deals more with canning tomatoes in a water bath canner. And, as long as you are extremely careful with sanitizing and handling of your jars and lids, making sure no tiny pieces of skin, unripe flesh, green parts of the tomato (where the fruit is attached to the plant), and no bruised spots make it into the jar, and you follow the directions that come with the canner... precisely... using a water bath canner is fine. My mother did it for over 60 years. And, only lost a few quarts of tomatoes!

But, unless I'm canning (yes, I'm a man... and, yes, I can things :D ) jams, jellies, or something with lots of vinegar in it (such as pickles), I want a pressure canner... hands down!!!

When I started canning, I didn't feel this way. I felt there was no reason to pay such a price for a pressure canner. After all, if momma did it... I could too! And, I did... for 2 years in a row. Then... then came my... "education!"

Of the roughly 90 quarts of tomatoes that I canned the third year, I lost over 50!!! And, about a dozen of those literally exploded in my pantry! It was probably largely my fault. I probably got in too big of a hurry or something and missed some little something. Regardless, I said to myself, "Self... It's true that pressure canners are expensive. But, what were those 50 quarts of your prize tomato juice worth? And, what would it have cost you to pay someone to clean up all that broken glass and tomato juice that was all over the floor, walls, shelves, ceiling, and everything else in the pantry?" The writing on the wall was blindingly clear to me... get up off the cash and buy a pressure canner!!!!

That was several years ago. Since that time, I've canned many, many hundreds of quart and pint jars full of tomatoes, green beans, and other garden veggies in my pressure canner. And, I've never lost so much as a single jar that was processed in my pressure canner!!! And, the neat thing about it (in my mind) is the fact that every year that I can veggies and don't loose them, the pressure canner pays for itself... again!! :mrgreen:

Don't get me wrong... get a hot water bath canner for jams, jellies, and pickles. But, don't be cheap and thick headed like I was... do the other stuff in a pressure canner! :wink:

Heck, you can even do fish, chicken, beef, pork and such in a pressure canner! Does your family like soup? Make up a few batches and can them in your pressure canner! The next time dinner's running late or you're crunched for time, all you've got to do is to open a can of YOUR homemade soup, heat it up, and you're ready to eat!!

Foods that are processed in a pressure canner come out fully cooked! And, since the processing time is less for tomatoes in a pressure canner than in a hot water bath canner, they'll come out bright and beautiful red... every time! And, since the pressure canning process kills bacteria, there's no need to add preservatives... such as salt!

Have I convinced you to get a pressure canner yet??? I hope so! I know they're kind of expensive. But, when you consider all the expense and hard work of getting your veggies into the kitchen, preparing them, preserving them, and anticipating being able to eat them at a later date... it's actually pretty cheap insurance!! And, as long as you take care of it, it should last you a lifetime!

Side note: Back in the late 1930's or early 1940's when my mother's mother and daddy wanted to buy a small farm, they went to the bank and applied for a loan. The banker told them that everything looked good and it would be no problem getting the loan. Then, he had one final question for them. "Do you own a pressure canner?" My grandmother said, "No... why?" The banker said, "The only way you can have this loan is to get one. I'm not going to loan you money to buy a farm and have you die from eating spoiled food. I'd be left holding the bag!" He was quite serious about this. And, he loaned them enough extra money to buy a brand new pressure canner!!! My grandmother used it until she became no longer able to "put up" stuff... around 2005!!!

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 02, 2010 3:15 pm 
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So I was just thinking I should get a Pressure Canner. What you are saying is that I could take some tomatoes, cut them up and put them in a jar. Process them and that is it. NO ADDING ANYTHING?

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 02, 2010 5:27 pm 
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You've gotten me a little interested now! I've never done any canning, just frozen foods.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 02, 2010 5:51 pm 
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Well I did not order the pressure canner yet. Gonna check some stores first. But I did do dill pickles and it was OK. A lot of work and mess.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 02, 2010 10:48 pm 
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raidencmc wrote:
So I was just thinking I should get a Pressure Canner.

:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

raidencmc wrote:
What you are saying is that I could take some tomatoes, cut them up and put them in a jar. Process them and that is it. NO ADDING ANYTHING?

Sort of... please allow me to explain a bit more.

First, pressure canners are used to process food under a certain amount of pressure and for a certain amount of time called... processing time (who'd a thunk it :?: ). Processing times and pressure used varies and is determined by what you are canning. But, don't worry... the owner's manual that comes with your pressure canner should have all the information for you. So, it's easy to figure out.

Second, depending on the brand and model, the pressure under which your foods are processed is measured one of two different ways. One way is with a dial gauge. It is the most accurate type. And, is usually the most expensive. The other way is with weights that are built into the jiggler. The jiggler can be made of three parts that can be assembled in a manner that will achieve the proper pressure. Or, the jiggler can have multiple holes in it. The desired pressure is achieved by mounting the jiggler using the appropriate hole. (I know that probably doesn't make sense... but, it will if you see one. :D )

The ones with the jiggler and no dial gauge are the least accurate and the least expensive. However, they work very, very well!! I have first hand knowledge of this because that is the kind that I have. And, as I said earlier, I've not lost a single jar of anything since I've been using it!!

While I'm thinking about it... DO NOT process pickles, jams, or jellies in a pressure canner!!! They need to be done in a hot water bath canner. And, one of the neat things about a pressure canner is that it can double as a hot water bath canner... just don't put the lid on it... or, don't lock it down!!

Here's how to can tomatoes in a pressure canner...

Choose good quality, ripe tomatoes (duh). And, it is best to use tomatoes that are not low acid tomatoes.

Wash the tomatoes in cold water.

Scald the tomatoes. Begin by filling a large pot (say... 8 to 10 quart size) with water. Bring the water to a boil and leave on the stove on "HIGH" heat. While the water is heating, fill one side of your sink about 1/2 or so full of COLD water. Once the water has come to a boil, add a few of your tomatoes... just don't overflow your pot! Watch the tomatoes closely so as not to overheat them! As the skins on the tomatoes begin to crack, using a large slotted spoon, remove them from the hot water and immediately place them in the cold water. The cold water stops the tomatoes from cooking too much. Make sure you remove ALL tomatoes that were added before adding any more! Between "batches" allow the water to come back to a rolling boil. And, when the cold water in your sink is no longer cold, change it out!

Once all of your tomatoes are scalded and cooled enough that you can handle them, prepare them. Begin by peeling the skin off the tomatoes. The scalding process makes them very easy to peal. Once pealed, remove ALL of the core. I can't stress enough that you MUST remove ALL of the core!! Also remove any green flesh, insect damage, bruised or otherwise blemished spots. At this point, you can leave the tomatoes whole. Or, you can cut them in half. Or, quarter them. Or, cut them however you wish.

Once all of your tomatoes are peeled, cored, and all green flesh and blemishes are removed, you can proceed one of the following two ways:
1) You can put them into a very large pot. Place the pot on a large stove eye on medium to medium high heat. Heat the the tomatoes thoroughly. Make sure to stir frequently as scorched tomato is not very good tasting! Once the tomatoes are heated thoroughly, fill your clean, sterilized jars with them. Make sure to leave the amount of head space (space between the top of the vegetable and the top of the jar) that is recommended in the owner's manual that came with your pressure canner.
2) You can simply fill your jars with your tomatoes. Once again, make sure you observe proper head space!
Either way, unless you want it, YOU DO NOT HAVE TO ADD ANY SALT OR ANYTHING ELSE TO THE TOMATOES!!!
I've canned tomatoes both ways. And, I really can't tell the difference!

Place your lids on your jars. Screw the rings onto the jars... very tight! Make sure to use rings that are in good condition and do not have rust on them. Make sure to use new lids! NEVER use a used lid to can anything!!!

Prepare your canner according to the directions in the owner's manual.
Side note: Every time I get my canner out to use it, I remove the rubber gasket, dip my finger in a small amount of cooking oil, and apply a thin layer of cooking oil to the entire gasket. It seems that this helps it seal better. And, my grandmother told me it would make it last longer. When I am finished with it and have washed it, I DO NOT put more cooking oil on it before I store it. Doing so can make the rubber break down quicker. And, the oil will go rancid!!

Place your jars in the pressure canner. Fill the canner with water according to the directions in your owner's manual. DO NOT OVERFILL IT!!! Place the lid on the pressure canner and ensure that it is securely locked into place. Place the canner on a large eye on the stove and turn the eye on "HIGH" heat. Once the jiggler on the canner begins jiggling (kind of dancing back and forth), reduce the heat to just maintain the jiggling. Or, for a canner that has a dial gauge, reduce the heat until the desired pressure is maintained. Process the jars for the amount of time recommended in your owner's manual.

Once the jars have been processed for the prescribed amount of time, carefully remove the canner from the heat. Be careful... the canner will be very heavy!! Allow the canner to cool in a spot where there are no drafts, fans blowing on it, or air conditioner vents blowing on it. It needs to cool slowly so that the pressure inside each jar has time to drop at about the same time that the pressure inside the canner drops. If the pressure in the canner drops quicker than it does in the jar, juice will pour out of the jars and into the canner. Since the juice will have passed between the lid and the jar, it is probable that they will not seal good and that bacteria can enter the jar resulting in spoiled tomatoes!!

That's it... you now have tomatoes that you can store for a year or more! And, you canned them yourself!!! :mrgreen:

A few words of caution:

First, If care is utilized and directions are followed, using a pressure canner is as safe as using most anything else to cook in. But, if you are the least bit careless, the end result will be at the least a huge mess!! And, it can result in DEATH!!!! So, always be careful!!!! Always check your pressure canner and it's gasket for any cracks, breaks, or other defects!!!! And, always follow the directions in your owner's manual!!!!

Second, if your stove has a glass cooktop, DO NOT place the canner directly on the glass!!! At the same place that you got your stove, there should be a ring available to use when cooking with large pots and canners. If you do not use this ring, your glass cooktop WILL break!!!

Finally, if you have never used a pressure canner (even if you've used a pressure cooker), I would strongly recommend that you buy a new one instead of a used one!! That way, you are 99.99% sure that there are no problems with the canner. And, you know you'll get the owner's manual with it! But, if you insist on getting a used one (did I mention that I don't recommend a first timer doing this?), DO NOT buy it "sight unseen"... such as off of Ebay!!! Buy it "in person!" That way, you can thoroughly inspect it before any cash changes hands!! And, make darn sure to get the owner's manual!! Not only will it have the necessary directions for using the canner, it will probably also include a bunch of great recipes!!

If you get a pressure canner and decide you like it, you may find yourself canning lots and lots of things. If so, you can speed the process up a bit with a second canner! While one is cooling down, you can have the other one on the stove processing another batch of jars!!! :wink: Heck... I even know one lady who uses three when her veggies are coming in!!!

If you would like to print all of this out, feel free to do so! :D But, all of these instructions (along with many others for processing all kinds of foods) will bin included in the owner's manual that comes with your new pressure canner!!

One final suggestion... if you have any older... mom and pop owned type of hardware stores... the kind that always has oddball, hard to find "thing"... you might check them out. That's the kind of hardware store that I got mine from. And, it was cheaper than I could find it anywhere else! Also check out any farm supply stores you have close to you. Sometimes they will have them... and, at a good price!

If I can be of any further assistance, all one has to do is ask! I love canning almost as much as I love growing my own tomatoes!! :D

Now... go have some fun canning your own veggies... brag a bunch about them... and, enjoy eating them... knowing that they only contain what you want them to contain!!! :mrgreen:

Robert

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Last edited by beebiz on Mon Aug 02, 2010 11:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 02, 2010 11:06 pm 
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luv2grdn wrote:
You've gotten me a little interested now! I've never done any canning, just frozen foods.

That last post took me the better part of an hour to type!! :shock: And, I completely forgot what you said! :oops: Please forgive me, luv2grdn!!! :wink:

I can't believe you have never done any canning!! :shock: Girl, you've got to give it a try!!

When I open a can of my canned tomatoes, green beans, peas, or anything else, it tastes just as fresh and as good as it did the day I picked it!! And, it tastes that way many, many months after I've canned it! I don't recommend others trying this, but I've got some purple hull peas that I canned two years ago. And, if I fixed a jar of them and some that were just picked, I guarantee you couldn't tell which was which!!

I've frozen lots of things too. But, I'd put my canned veggies up against any foods that have been frozen... any day of the week... and twice on Sunday!!! :mrgreen:

Don't get me wrong... freezers are great! But, the taste of home frozen veggies just can't compare to the taste of home canned veggies!!

Another thing that canning in a pressure canner has over a freezer is the fact that the pressure canned foods are already cooked!! They cook as they are processing! So, all you have to do is to open them, dump them in a pan or bowl, heat them on the stove or nuke them, and you're ready to eat!!

Seriously... you got to try it!! :wink:

Robert

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 03, 2010 3:12 pm 
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How can you tell if you need to add stuff to the veggie or fruit, will it be in the directions? Lastly and most importantly how do you know if you are gonna eat something canned that will kill you?

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 03, 2010 3:56 pm 
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I've always preferred frozen over canned. I like my vegies lightly cooked, so a pressure canner might overcook them for my tastes, but I could be wrong.

Do home canning lids have the center area that will pop up if the seal is broken like store bought canned goods have? I'd sure want that if I was going to do any canning. That's part of the reason I've never done any canning, because of the risk of illness.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 03, 2010 5:18 pm 
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I don't specifically remember a button but the lid pops and it is sunken in after they cooled.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 03, 2010 5:25 pm 
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raidencmc wrote:
How can you tell if you need to add stuff to the veggie or fruit, will it be in the directions? Lastly and most importantly how do you know if you are gonna eat something canned that will kill you?

The directions for canning a particular fruit or veggie will be in the instruction manual that comes with your new pressure canner.

If the seal is or has been broken, DON'T EAT IT!! If it has an odd color or off smell to it when you open it, DON'T EAT IT!! Don't even taste a small sample of anything fitting these descriptions! To do so could... and, probably would... land you in the hospital!! Use the same "good" or "not good" indicators that you would use when opening canned something from the store. (Also see below for my answer to luv2grdn's post).

luv2grdn wrote:
I've always preferred frozen over canned. I like my vegies lightly cooked, so a pressure canner might overcook them for my tastes, but I could be wrong.

Do home canning lids have the center area that will pop up if the seal is broken like store bought canned goods have? I'd sure want that if I was going to do any canning. That's part of the reason I've never done any canning, because of the risk of illness.


You can tell if a jar is sealed or not by looking at the center of the lid. If it is not sealed, the center of the lid will "pooch" out in a slight dome shape. If it is sealed, the center will be slightly "sucked" inward. And, when you are canning, it is easy to tell if your jars have sealed or not by listing for the telltale "pop" sound that they make when they seal.

I never thought about the possibility of you liking crunchy veggies. That be the case, you probably should stick to the frozen ones. Veggies processed in a pressure cooker are fully cooked. Unless you process them too long or at too high a pressure, they do not become mushy. But, they are definitely not crunchy... even if you were to try some of them straight out of the jar immediately after processing them. They are cooked about the same amount as canned veggies that you get from the store.

I hate veggies that are mushy... had the "life" cooked out of them. But, I also hate crunchy veggies. After processing them in a pressure cooker, I can open them weeks or months later, heat them up, and they are cooked perfect for me!

If I can answer any more questions, I'd be glad to!!

Robert

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 03, 2010 5:27 pm 
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raidencmc wrote:
I don't specifically remember a button but the lid pops and it is sunken in after they cooled.

Sorry about that... you must have posted while I was typing my post.

You are exactly right... no "button"... just the domed shape or sunken in shape to the lid! :wink:

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 09, 2010 12:13 pm 
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Is there any chance that it would not be real obvious that the canned food would good or bad?

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 09, 2010 1:35 pm 
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raidencmc wrote:
Is there any chance that it would not be real obvious that the canned food would good or bad?

Personally, I would equate that question with asking, "Is there any chance that a man could jump out of an airplane, his parachute fail, hit the ground at full force, and live to tell about it months or years later?" Most folks' knee-jerk reaction would be a resounding, "NO!" But, I know of a couple of guys who have done just that. I don't know them personally. But, they have been guests on a couple of reality and documentary shows on TV.

"Is there any chance...?" My knee-jerk reaction would be, "no!" However, it could have happened to someone without me being aware of it. Although, I cannot imagine spoiled food... or food that would harm you being able to fool the average person's sense of sight, smell, and taste (only becomes a part of the "test" once you're sight and smell has told you it's alright to eat it) so badly that it would make you sick, I suppose there is some outside chance that it could happen!

In my humble opinion, the better question might have been, "When compared to the canned foods that you buy in the grocery store, how safe are foods that have been canned in a pressure canner at home?" That's a question that I have very strong opinions about... most of which are simple common sense.

On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being food that has been laid out on the counter and allowed to spoil before being eaten and 10 being canned foods that are bought in a grocery store, I'd give my home canned foods an honest, conservative 15!!!! And, I'd give the same rating to home canned foods that were canned by a person who followed directions to the letter and used care, caution, and common sense when preparing and canning the foods!! Here's why:

1) I know what I did or did not put in my food when I canned it!!

2) I know what quality food went into my cans/jars!!

3) Because I canned them, I know the foods were handled and processed properly when and while I was canning them!!

4) I know I will never pick my nose, scratch my butt or do anything else with my hands while I am working with my food that I can!!

5) I know that if my hands are soiled in any way, shape, form, or fashion, I will wash them... good... before I touch any foods, jars, rings, lids, or anything else that I use while canning!!

6) I don't have hourly wage employees who I have to trust to do things 1 through 5 on this list!!

7) I don't have hourly wage employees who might get pi$$ed at me, a co-worker, an immediate supervisor, their spouse, their boyfriend, their girlfriend, or might simply decide to get "cute" and act out by urinating in, ejaculating in, blowing their nose in, or spitting in any of my food!!

8 ) I know there are no "extra" preservatives such as salt... or things I cannot pronounce that have been added to my foods... unless I decide I want them!!

9) I know there will be no problems with foreign objects such as metal shavings (have been known to get into commercially canned foods at the cannery or at home while using a can opener to open the can) in my canned foods!!

10) I know (and, this one has nothing to do with safety, but..... ) the foods that are in my jars taste hundreds of times better than the foods in the cans at the store!!

I'm sure there are more than the 10 reasons that I named above. But, those 10 are the ones that I came up with quickly and off the top of my head!! :wink:

So, is there any chance your home canned food could be bad without it being as obvious to you as you as suddenly going blind? Yes... I suppose there is a chance. But, I'd also say that chance is extremely slim!! And, I'd say it's many, many times less than the chance of you getting a can from the store and its contents being bad without it being blindingly obvious... especially since you control 100% of the canning process... and you control 100% of what goes into your cans/jars!!!

Now... after all the information that I've shared with you... plus the fact that I am willing to share any more that I know and you might need... You have got to let me know how your canning experience goes!!! :wink: Okay??

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 09, 2010 3:48 pm 
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I will let you know. I did not get the pressure canner yet not in the budget. I did make sauce and it smelled and tasted so go we ate it that night. Thanks for all the info.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 09, 2010 3:51 pm 
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Hey... no problem! It was my pleasure!!! Let me know if I can help out further! :wink:

Robert

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