Note from archiver<at>cs.uu.nl:
This page is part of a big collection
of Usenet postings, archived here for your convenience.
For matters concerning the content of this page,
please contact its author(s); use the
source, if all else fails.
For matters concerning the archive as a whole, please refer to the
or contact the archiver.
Subject: Rec.Food.Preserving FAQ (v.7.08) Part1
This article was archived around: Sat, 24 Aug 2002 22:11:04 -0400
Posting-Frequency: monthly (on or about 20th)
Copyright: (c) 1998-2002 Eric Decker ( and others as specified within )
Maintainer: Eric Decker <email@example.com>
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ) in the newsgroup rec.food.preserving
(C) Copyright 1998-2002 Eric Decker. All Rights Reserved.
Some portions may be Copyright prior to 1998 by others:
Leslie Basel, Diane Ferrell, Anne Louise Gockel, Steven Kostur, Al Durtschi,
This FAQ and all its constituent parts, as a collection of information, is
Copyright 1998-2002 by Eric Decker, as a work of literature. Distribution by any
electronic means is granted with the understanding that the article not be
altered in any way. Permission to distribute in printed form must be obtained in
writing. The removal of this copyright notice is forbidden.
This FAQ contains third party copyrighted information. Specific permission for
replication for such information here has been granted to Eric Decker, FAQ
Maintainer. You may replicate said info but ONLY as part of a FAQ part in its
entirety. You may not replicate such information outside the FAQ format or
anywhere else without getting permission to do so from the copyright holder(s).
The existence of information in this FAQ does not convey any legal rights to use
copyrighted information for any purpose other than to read it as part of RFP
Table of Contents Page
Disclaimer: No author represented in this FAQ is qualified to establish
scheduled processes nor is any author a competent processing authority in
the sense of 21 CFR 113.83 et alia.
Beware of anonymous posters who contravene known safety standards. Circa
late 2001, early 2002, there is at least one poster active in RFP who has
consistently repudiated long-standing food-preserving authorities.
This file is a compilation of shared knowledge and answers to frequently
asked questions of the group rec.food.preserving. As such, this file is
updated. Be a contributor - point out mistakes, write sections and reviews,
provide us with new sources. All contributors will be cited in this file.
Special mention is hereby given to Leslie E. Basel for her core role in the
founding of this newsgroup. Thank you Leslie.
Contributors listed in alphabetical order by surname:
Matt Albright, David G. Allbee
Leslie Basel, Rachel Beckford, Jean Bergeron, Brian Bigler, Alan Blacklock,
Michael Boddy, Mike Bowers, Susan Brewer, Norman Brown, Teresa Bruckner,
Rick Buchanan, Daniel Burke, Ralph Burr, Bob Baron, Don Buchan
Jennifer Cagle, Dave Calhoun, Tracy L. Carter, Robert Chislan, Naomi
Counides, Suzanne Chandler, Bruce Carpenter
Emily Dashiell, Eric Decker, Richard De Castro, Al Durtschi, Ted Denison, Robb
Diane Ferrell, Sandy Fifer, Derace Fridel, Jerry Fowler
H.B. Ghoddusi, Anne Louise Gockel, Lois Grassl, Patrick Grealish, Kate Gregory,
Bess Halle, Diane Hamilton, James Harvey, Patricia Hill, Paul Hinrichs,
M. Zoe Holbrooks, Dirk W. Howard, Garry Howard,
Kevin Johnson, Stuart Johnson, Lynn E. Johnson-Conrad
Deana D. Karas, Mary Keith
Colonel I.F. Khuntilanont-Philpott,
Naera Kim, Henriette Kress, Betty Kohler, Steven Kostur, Al Kudsi, Mick Kunstelj
John Laidler, Joan Lane, Larry London, Ron Lowe
Linda Magee, Marie Martinek, Kathy Meade, Ron Meisenheimer, Linda Merinoff,
Wendy Milner, Joshua H. Moffi, Richard Molay, the Morgans, Scott Murman
Daniel Nachbar, Louis "Butch" Nagel, Jean P. Nance, Susan Ness, Carol Nelson,
Richard Nielsen, Hank Nolle, Stephen Northcutt
Nicole Okun, Paul Optiz, Lynn Otto
David Paxton, Gary Lee Phillips, Kim Pratt
Cassandra Richardson, Jim Richardson, Phil Rozanski
Barb Schaller, David Schwoegler, Clint Scott, Charles Scripter, Brenda Sharpe,
David Sidwell, Doug Smart, Tom Sponheim, Michael Stallcup, Susan Hattie
Steinsapir, Jean Sumption
John Taylor, Michael Teifel, Connie TenClay, Richard Thead, Steven Tobin,
Logan Van Leigh
Anna Welborne, Elaine C. White, Ellen Wickberg, Don Wiss, Kate Wrightson, Ivan
Gary Yandle, Bobbi Zee
The Jewels of rec.food.preserving
These are the "Experts active in the newsgroup" folks that can and will provide
you real-life, in-depth knowledge based on scientific fact. These folks have
preserving skills coming out their ears and are capable of several if not all
preserving. If somebody else is better suited to answer you question you will
most probably be advised of that.
These folks are known to us over several years and are known to be honest above
ANY reproach and take very seriously all they post in RFP. Those folks often do
extensive research before posting. They are human and sometimes will be in
error - but that is so rare one should think of them as angels.
Watch for their articles as they are usually quite informative.
This list is dynamic. As others become known and their commitment to the
Charter of RFP is shown, in time the value of their participation will be
proven and they will become a Jewel of r.f.p. Persons who are no longer
active in RFP or disregard the Charter of RFP will be retired - maybe
The process of selecting a person as a Jewel of R.F.P. is regrettably somewhat
subjective. However it isn't that by much as we have extensive archives of
this newsgroup since day one. We simply index on author and see the extensive
contributions. We know these persons well. We know intimately the quality and
care of their processes and postings.
The Jewels of rec.food.preserving at this time are:
In alphabetical order by first name:
Barb Shaller (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Ingrid Gordon (email@example.com
Blanche Nonken (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Ross Reid (email@example.com)
Vicky Shaw (firstname.lastname@example.org )
Jim Weller (email@example.com)
Ellen Wickberg (firstname.lastname@example.org)
While every effort has been made to be clear, concise and accurate, no
warranties are implied. What you do with the information presented here is
your business. The same caveat applies to any communication you may have with
any person in rec.food.preserving or for that matter by e-mail.
Charter, about Rec.Food.Preserving and this FAQ, and Introduction
* Where can I get this faq?
* Why isn't this on the Web?
* I have a refrigerator and live near 5 supermarkets. Why bother to
Rec.food.preserving is a newsgroup devoted to the discussion of recipes,
equipment, and techniques of food preservation. Current food preservation
techniques that rightly should be discussed in this forum include canning,
freezing, dehydration, pickling, smoking, salting, distilling, and potting.
Foodstuffs are defined as produce (both fruits and vegetables), meat, fish,
dairy products, culinary and medicinal herbs. Discussions should be limited
to home-grown or home-preserved foods.
This newsgroup is for those who can, jar, and preserve foods for personal
and family use. Due to liability and health concerns, we can not provide
information here on methods of food packaging or preservation for products
to be sold to the public. Please contact the agency or office in your area
that handles such questions. Thank you for your interest!
rec.food.preserving has been a close-knit group since its inception.
It has managed to stay that way but it has not been by accident. Over the years
there has been a lot of effort expended by many RFPers into keeping the junk out
of RFP. Those who have nothing good to say are invited to leave. We thank them
for doing so.
ABOUT REC.FOOD.PRESERVING AND THIS FAQ
The newsgroup rec.food.preserving was created in August 1994. Discussions
tend to be seasonal, following the Northern Hemisphere growing season. We
are a rapidly expanding but still tightly focused group; expect about 50-60
posts/day during the height of canning season, < 20-30 posts/day during the
winter months. As of August 1999 there is quite an increase in traffic. Y2K
concerns has awakened much latent intest in food preserving. Perchance it
will continue. If you don't have access to rec.food.preserving on your
news server (last I checked, the % of sites carrying the group was about
55%), after politely requesting the group from your sysadmin or
administrator, you have a number of options:
*1.) Sign up with a different ISP - Internet Service Provider.
*2.) Browse the archives of http://www.dejanews.com using Internet Explorer or
*3.) Email to access USENET newsgroups, by emailing to one of these
addresses: email@example.com or rec.food.preserving@
FAQ versions are numbered to coincide with the year. 1998 has a prefix of 3,
1999 mwill be 4, 2000 will be 5, etc. The suffix indicates the month of issue.
3.10 means 1998, 10th month.
[Where can I get this faq?]
Several ways. Wait until it gets posted to the newsgroup rec.food.preserving,
around the 20th of each month. Another way of getting this FAQ is to get it
in the 'nnn' pieces from www.dejanews.com archive, however this will require
a fair amount of work on your part.
NOTE: rec.food.preserving will always have the most current or revised
version -as will rtfm. [ see below ]
Easiest way to get the FAQ on browser equiped systems:
or plug the following URL into your browser - select the lastest version and
part(s) that you want. The text will appear in your browser. Do a "-save as"
giving the file an extension of TXT. The format is then viewable in Notepad,
Wordpad and the like.
This FAQ is also available in six parts (currently it is six) via anonymous
ftp from: rtfm.mit.edu/pub/usenet-by-hierarchy/rec/food/preserving/
You will need a text viewer like List.com on non-unix systems for viewing the
[I have a refrigerator and live near 5 supermarkets. Why bother to preserve
If you have a successful garden or orchard, have a hunting or fishing
license, like to gather wild foods, or know friends and neighbors that do,
you will eventually be presented with an abundance of free foodstuffs.
Check out the zucchini and the green tomato recipes in pickling for two
common surpluses. U-Pick sites, roadside stands, and farmers markets sell
unusual varieties of produce at close to perfect ripeness, ready to be
preserved. Even supermarket produce in season is abundant, cheap, and can
be worth preserving.
If you have ever walked into an upscale food store, you might have noticed
that dried foods, exotic jams, chutneys, marmalades, flavored vinegars and
oils, pickles, cheeses, cured and smoked meats, etc, all are expensive
preserved foods. However, these items can be all be duplicated at home,
given the ingredients, expertise, and time. And all of these foods make
Commercially processed food can contain many ingredients that you might
want to avoid, anything from MSG, BHA, BHT, to salt, sugar, or starchy
By preserving food yourself, you can control your diet AND take back a
lot of control. In a stressed life, shutting out technology, kids, husbands,
wives or SO by going into the canning kitchen is an absolute balm. Into
recycling and reducing your garbage? If you can, you reuse your glass jars
and rings, throwing away just the lids. However, most techniques require a
fair amount of fresh clean water and take some electricity and time, so
they aren't quite as cost saving as you might think.
Waiting for the apocalypse? What if you get hungry? On a different note,
wouldn't you have wanted some home-preserved stuff while you were waiting
out that last blizzard/hurricane/natural disaster?
Some folks speak of the feeling of security that comes from knowing there is
"food in the house". Viewing the bounty on the pantry shelves whenever one
is stressed out or feeling over-taxed has a very therapeutic effect.
Another excellent reason for preserving is visitors. A well stocked pantry
means one can put on a feast of pretty fancy food almost any time. There is
nothing quite like a gang of family or friends and being able to sit with
them as they enjoy your offerings. If the preparation was done months ago ...
Food preserving is fun. Many preserving recipes are family traditions,
passed on through many generations. Often, the foods we preserve can tell
us much about our past, so trading recipes can tell us about each other.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. Preserving - where do I begin?
1.1. - Canning general questions
1.1.1 - What do I *really* need to know about home canning?
18.104.22.168 - What about air in jars when canning?
22.214.171.124 - How can I test a dial gauge?
1.1.2 - I made/got some home-preserved foods as a gift. How do I check them for
1.1.3 - Is home canning safe?
1.1.4 - What foods can be canned, and what foods shouldn't be home canned?
1.1.5 - pH determinations of common foods and condiments.
1.1.6 - What does canning entail?
1.1.7 - Where do I get the Ball Blue Book? And the USDA Canning Guide?
1.1.8 - What if my recipe doesn't have processing instructions?
1.1.9 - Where can I find my elevation, so I can change my processing time?
1.2.1 Recipe Templates and Tricks
1.2.2 - Sweet spreads 101, from Barb Schaller
1.2.3 - "Scientific" low sugar jams
1.2.4 - Fruit Butters in general, apple butter in particular
1.2.5 - Conserves
1.2.6 - Fruit Preserves
1.2.7 - Marmalade
1.2.8 - Tea Jelly
1.2.9 - Flower Jelly
1.2.10 - Canning Cake
1.2.11 - Canned Bread 101 - a MUST read for anyone thinking of bread/cake
in a jar.
1.3. - General Ingredient Questions
1.3.1 - Why do some recipes call for a little butter/margarine?
1.3.2 - Sugar
1.3.3 - I need some good sources for pectins...
1.3.4 - Where I can I find citric acid?
1.3.5 - Where can I find Clear Gel/Jel A?
1.3.6 - How do I make and use homemade pectin? aka Pectin 101
1.3.7 - What can I do with all these peels and cores - the waste?
1.4. - General Equipment Questions
1.4.1 - What kind of equipment do I need to can foods at home?
1.4.2 - Don't you need a lot of stuff?
1.4.3 - What's a preserving pan?
1.4.4 - My grandmother always reused commercial jars and sealed her jars using
paraffin. Is this safe?
1.4.5 - Can I invert jars instead of doing that nasty waterbath thing? (No).
1.4.6 - The dishwasher sterilizes jars, right? (Nope).
1.4.7 - Can I use unlined copper pots for food preserving?
1.4.8 - Can I use the propane "Cajun Cooker" style of burner for canning?
1.5.1 - What about zinc rings, rubber sealed jars, and other great but antique
1.5.2 - Ball or Kerr?
1.5.3 - Rings on the jar, or off?
1.5.4 - What if I don't hear a pop from my jars?
1.5.5 - I'm really cheap. How can I reuse my old canning lids?
1.5.6 - How do I use a pressure canner safely and effectively?
1.5.7 - I'd like some sources for non-standard size canning jars, decorative
1.5.8 - Pump N Seal, has anyone used one of these?
1.6.1 - My jars refuse to seal! Some of my preserved food is turning colors!
What is happening?
1.6.2 - My jams and jellies didn't set. How can I reprocess?
1.6.3 - Anybody have a way to loosen up stiff jelly?
2.1. - General Questions
2.1.1 - What do I *really* need to know about freezing?
126.96.36.199 - Tips on how to choose a freezer
2.1.2 - So what foods can be frozen well?
2.1.3 - What's this blanching stuff, anyway?
2.1.4 - More about freezing meat, especially wild game.
2.1.5 - How do I freeze (your item here), and how long can I expect it to keep?
2.1.6 - I'm looking for an appliance to vacuum seal food. Any recommendations?
*188.8.131.52 - Tilia's Vacuum Sealing and Tips on same
2.1.7 - Now that we found out that a Seal-A-Meal is worth having... find
2.1.8 - Mailing baked goods.. prevent going bad and breaking up into crumbs?
2.1.9 - Mushroom duxelles
2.1.10 - Is there any way to freeze cheese so it does not become "crumbly?"
3.1 Dehydration 101
3.1.1 - How can I do jerky in wet zones?
3.1.2 - What results may I acheive with a SnackMaster?
184.108.40.206 - Anyone got good, practical experience dehydrating onions?
3.2. General Questions (compliments of Steven Kostur)
3.2.1 - What do I *really* need to know about dehydrating food?
3.2.2 - What foods dehydrate well?
3.2.3 - Dehydrating Specific Items.
3.2.4 - Pistachio Nut (and other seeds)
3.2.5 - Sundried tomato (a very frequently asked question)
3.2.6 - Fruit Leathers
3.2.7 - Jerky
220.127.116.11 - Beef Sticks
3.2.8 - Dehydrator Tomato Paste
3.2.9 - Parched Corn and Beans
3.2.10 - Dried Chile Peppers
3.2.11 - Dried Tofu
3.3. General Equipment Questions (compliments of Steven Kostur)
3.3.1 - What do I *really+ need to know about dehydrating food?]
18.104.22.168 - What dehydrator features should I look for? ]
3.3.2 - Specific Brands
3.3.3 - I've heard you can make a dehydrator yourself. Got any info?
4.1. - General Questions
4.1.1 - What do I *really* need to know about pickling?
4.1.2 - What pickle styles are there?
4.1.3 - What is the process for making dill pickles?
4.1.4 - What makes pickles kosher?
4.2. - General Equipment Questions
4.2.1 - What does it take to make pickles? Do you need special equipment?
4.2.2 - What's a non-reactive container?
4.2.3 - Where can I find pickle crocks?
4.3 - Troubleshooting
4.3.1 - I followed this pickle recipe, but they don't look like they do in the
4.3.2 - Pickles in the NW
4.4. - Recipes
4.4.1 - Transylvanian salt-cured vegetables
4.4.2 - Middle Eastern mixed pickles
4.4.3 - Polish pickles (ogorki kiszone/kwaszone)
4.4.4 - 3-Day Lime Pickle
4.4.5 - Real New York deli pickles
4.4.6 - Kimchee (3 recipes)
4.4.7 - Pickled ginger
4.4.8 - Zucchini relish/pickles (2 recipes)
4.4.9 - Dill Tomolives
4.4.10 - Green Tomatoes Rovia
4.4.11 - Pickled Garlic
4.5.1 - Salsa Tips
5. Curing with Salt or Lye
5.1 - What do I *really* need to know about curing foods?
5.1.1 - Why do I have to cure olives?
6.1 - What do I *really* need to know about smoking food?
6.2 Meat Curing and Smoking (compliments of Richard Thead) Curing (Meats)
6.2.1 - Why is meat cured?
6.2.3 - What is osmosis?
6.2.4 - What is meant by "the danger zone"?
6.2.5 [What other factors affect the growth of bacteria?]
6.2.6 - What is botulism?
6.2.7 - What are the commonly used curing compounds?
6.2.8 - Where can these compounds be obtained?
6.2.9 - What is spray pumping?
6.2.10 - What's trichinosis?
6.2.11 - If my cured pork doesn't reach a safe temperature, what about
6.2.12 - What about dry-curing sausages and meats? Smoking (Meats)
6.2.13 - What is the difference between smoke cooking and curing?
6.2.14 - What are the proper temperatures for smoke cooking meat?
6.2.15 - How important is temperature control during smoke curing?
6.2.16 - Is closing down the air inlet dampers a good way to keep the
6.2.17 - What are the various woods used for smoking? :)
6.2.18 - What is the bonafide official way to tell that beef jerky is done
6.2.19 - What temperature is right for smoking ( fowl) turkey?
6.2.20 - Freezing cured ham, smoked or preserved meat is salty after a
month. What can I do?
6.3 Specific Foods:
6.3.1 - Can I make a Smithfield Ham at home?
6.3.2 - How do I make my own bacon at home?
6.3.3 - How do I make my own corned beef?
6.3.4 - What is pastrami and how do I make my own?
6.3.5 - How do I make beef jerky?
6.4 - Other Sources (besides this FAQ) for info on meat Curing and Smoking
6.4.2 - I just bagged my deer. Now what do I do?
6.4.3 - Virginia-style cured ham
6.4.4 - Sausage
6.4.5 - Dry curing sausage chemistry
6.4.6 - Salami
6.4.7 - Where do I find kosher sausage casings?
6.4.8 - Sources for wood chips for smoking.
6.5 . Vegetable/Fish Curing and Smoking
6.5.1 - Salt curing items
6.5.2 - How do I cure olives?
6.5.3 - Middle Eastern/Indian salt cured lemons and limes
6.6.1 - Lye and Mud curing items
6.6.2 - What are 1000 year old preserved eggs?
6.6.3 - What is posole?
6.6.4 - Sugar curing and candying items
6.6.5 - Candying citrus peels
6.6.6 - Candying fruits
6.6.7 - Candying flowers
6.6.8 - Smoking items
6.6.9 - How do I smoke chiles?
6.7 - What do I need to know about smoking a fish?
6.7.1 - Smoked Salmon (2 recipes)
6.7.2 - Lox, Nova Lox, and Gravlax (2 recipes) (verify location in the file)
6.7.3 - Many Salmon and Trout Recipes ( www.dejanews.com - search for ..
7.1 - What is potting anyway?
7.2 - How do I render lard? Which pieces of pork fat should I use?
7.3 - The mini FAQ on Meat Potting
7.4 - How we used to do it.
7.5 - How long can pork be preserved in this way?
7.6 - How much did you have to cook it to be sure it was cooked enough?
7.7 - What other meats can be preserved in this way?
7.8 - Could meat be salt cured and then potted?
7.9 - What can I do to enhance my chances of potting safely?
7.10 - Should I give this a try to gain experience in this type of meat
7.11 - A last comment about "scraping the bottom of the barrel".
8. Making Vinegar and Flavoured oils
8.1 - How do I make vinegar from wine?
8.1.2 - Does anyone know how sour grapes are converted to verjuice?
8.1.3 - How do I make flavored vinegars?
8.1.4 - How do I make flavored oils?
8.1.5 - Garlic (chiles, herbs, sundried tomatoes, etc) and oil.
22.214.171.124 - Fruit cordials
126.96.36.199 - Fruit cordial recipes
8.1.6 - Brandied Fruit
8.1.7 - Vanilla Extract
9. Root Cellaring and Storage of Staples
9.1 - What do I *really* need to know about root cellaring?
9.1.1 - How long do stored items last?
9.1.2 - How can I preserve staples (flour, etc) for long term storage?
9.1.3 - The dry ice method
9.1.4 - Packing in nitrogen gas
9.1.5 - Preserving Garlic. Probably the most asked question in r.f.p.
10. Preserving Dairy Products
10.1 - Where can I find rennet? And other cheesemaking items?
10.2 - Butter
10.3 - Devonshire Clotted Cream
10.4 - Stirred Curd-Cheddar Recipe
11. Specific Equipment Questions
11.1 - Canners and Canning Equipment
11.1.1 - I see canners of different sizes. Why get the biggest one?
11.1.2 - What do I need to know about a waterbath canner?
188.8.131.52 - Can I use a pressure canner as a waterbath canner?
184.108.40.206 - Can I use a device sold as a steam canner in food processing?
11.1.3 - What do I need to know about weighted and dial gauges?
11.1.4 - I got this pressure canner (not cooker!) as a gift. How do I take care
11.1.5 - Weight "jiggle" questions
11.1.6 - Cleaning my pressure canner.
11.1.7 - Where can I find canning equipment parts?
11.1.8 - What about zinc rings, rubber sealed jars, and antique canning
11.1.9 - 1/2 gallon jars. How to find, and what to do with them?
11.2.1 - Where can I find a premade dehydrator?
11.2.2 - Where can I find plans for homemade dehydrators?
11.3.1 - Where can I find plans for a homemade smoker?
11.3.2 - How do I use my Little Chief?
12. Tips 'N Tricks
12.1 - Fruit fly trap
12.1.1 - Wax paper trick
12.2.1 - Chopping citrus peels for marmalade
12.2.2 - Using ascorbic acid
12.3.2 - A jelly bag for emergencies
12.3.3 - How to reach the jelly stage/the fork test
12.3.4 - Keeping powdered pectin from lumping up
12.3.5 - Canner rack - rack for under jars
12.4.1 - Tips and tricks for drying foods in the oven
12.4.4 - Mini-dehydrator
12.4.3 - Getting fruit leather off the sheet
12.4.4 - Sauerkraut fermenters
12.4.5 - The easy way to wash cukes
12.4.6 - Skimming brine
12.4.7 - Keeping pickled peppers crisp
12.5.1 - Food-grade plastics
12.5.2 - How can I make kimchee without complaints from the neighbors?
12.6.1 - Sources of wood chips (making them yourself)
12.6.2 - Beef Stick Tips
13. Spoilage, Especially Botulism
13.1 - Okay, I've got some bad jars. What's growing in them? Disposal?
13.1.2 - Botulism. What is it? (file from the FDA)
13.1.3 - I'm confused about when the toxin is produced. Tell me more.
13.1.4 - How can I be positively, absolutely sure that those spores are killed?
13.1.5 - I don't feel so good. (chart of food poisoning symptoms)
13.1.6 - Aflatoxin. What is it? (file from the FDA)
14. Recipe Caveats and Troubleshooting
14.1.1 - I just got a recipe from rec.food.preserving that I'd like to try
14.1.2 - Most of the recipe measurements posted here are not metric. Help!
14.1.3 - Help! What's a peck? Uncommon English measurements.
14.1.4 - Find out the elevation of your town (US).
14.1.5 - Recipes from my grandparents/or from somebody in r.f.p. Are they safe?
15. Other Sources (besides this FAQ)
15.1. - US National Food Safety Database
15.1.1 - This FAQ doesn't tell me what I need to know!
15.1.2 - General Reference Books
15.1.3 - Specific Techniques and Interests
15.1.4 - Books and Guides to Equipment
15.1.5 - Food Preserving Books of Historic Interest
15.1.6 - Pamphlets
15.1.7 - Magazines
15.1.8 - Phone - voice
15.9 Suppliers of Specific Items
16. Internet Sites
17. Bit Bucket of information unclassified but worth keeping
Unfortunately the FAQ parts and the relevant section of the Table of Contents do
Sections 1 through 1.2.5 are in Part1
Sections 1.2.6 through 3.3.3 are in part2
Sections 4 through 10.4 are in part3
Sections 11 through 12.6.2 are in part4
Sections 13 through 13.1.6 are in part5
Sections 14 through 17 are in part6
----------------------- table of contents end --------------------------
Rec Food Preserving FAQ
The Techniques of Food Preserving
1. Preserving - where do I begin?
Pour a cup of coffee or tea and put your feet up. Now, think about the food
you would like to have on hand all the time. Pay particular attention to
childhood memories. You may want to start with jams, jellies and vinegar
pickles. This is an excellent way to start. It also has a low-cost threshold.
Spend some time doing Acid - Vinegar pickles and Sweet - Jams/Jellies to asess
whether you want your life to be inundated by preserving. You might then go to
dehydration at the fruit level and graduate into the more complex stuff of
jerky, curing meats, smoking fish, etc. Pressure Canning ...
It is important to think about where you want to go and the path you will take
as serious budget planning may be called for. If you want a serious canning
kitchen and storage pantry, a long view complete with spousal agreement is very
desireable and usually required.
Read this FAQ all the way through. Get a copy of Putting Food By - read, read
and then read it again. Surf the Web and browse the resources listed in section
16. Internet. There are many fine books on the various aspects of food
preserving read asmany as you can. Subscribe to rec.food.preserving, introduce
yourself and put your plan into action.
1.1. Canning general Questions
1.1.1 [What do I *really* need to know about canning?]
The right skills and equipment for a given food. Freezing is best
where a person does not have skills, equipment and time. Pressure
canning is not complex but it is often done incorectly. Myth #1
in home pressure canning is that a little bit of leakage from jars is
normal - it is not. Leakage is a contaminated seal resulting from
Canning food is preserving food by: 1) placing it in an
hermetically sealable container, then 2) applying a heat treatment that
will destroy microorganisms and inactivate enzymes that would spoil the
product or render it unsafe. (from Jean Bergeron, foodchemist, ). A partial
vacuum is created by a change in pressure caused by heating, then cooling
said sealable cans and jars--Boyle's Law in action. The heat is
generally created by either a boiling waterbath or a pressure canner
(Boyle's Law again).
What you absolutely need to know is whether your product is highly acidic
(low pH) or not. High acid foods, like fruits and pickles, can be canned in
a boiling waterbath; relatively low acid foods, like vegetables and meats,
need to be pressure canned. You also need to know what your altitude is,
because the higher you are, the lower the boiling temperature of water.
Since you are creating an anerobic state, you need to be concerned about
_C. botulinum_ toxin.
Fish falls into the most absolute category of all. Frozen is simplest and
in most instances is next best to fresh. Dried fish from a salt/brine state
is next less toxic. Then we have smoked fish. The touchy end on the fish
preserving scale is occupied by canned fish. You will need excellent skills
in pressure canning before attempting fish. Use a recipe from a reputable
source like Putting Food By.
1.1.2 [ What about air in jars when canning? ]
All air must be exhausted from jars and cans or the unit may fail
to develop a good vacuum seal. The absence of air is critical also for
simple food safety as free oxygen is eliminated and the plethora of possible
bacteria which need oxygen do not have the where-with-all for life. The deadly
c.Botulinum which is anerobic ( does not require oxygen to sustain its life
cycle ) is handled in its own class.
"Hot-pack" is used for a good reason other than utility. When heated,
food expands and expels air. When we put hot food into a jar, spatula the air
bubbles out and lid it up, we have created an environment where "a" vacuum will
develop. As the food cools it will contract and create a partial vacuum. We
"process" even with hot-pack as we strive for a strong vacuum and sufficient
heat to kill toxins. It behooves a canner to use sterile vessels for food no
matter what will be the processing method because initial sterility reduces the
bacteria count. It is a well established fact of food science that the number
of bacteria at the origin has a huge bearing on the outcome.
Headspace was not the answer here. Headspace ( a valuable tool) is
required so that the food may expand and thus drive the air out. Getting
headspace correct is necessary so that the food expansion is just right so
that the food then occupies the entire vessel. If the headspace is too large
the air will compress on top of the food with a weak vacuum. Canners new to
wide mouth jars see this problem. eg. They are used to 1/2" - vertical height
in a standard mouth jar. When usng a wide mouth jar of dsame size and same 1/2"
height of headspace there about 30% more volume in the wide mouth 1/2"
headspace than in the standard mouth jar. The solution here is adjust the
headspace properly - reduce the headspace by 30%.
Last word on getting the air out has to do with storage. Processed jars
which develop a good vacuum may still contain (trapped bubbles) residual air.
This air may rise to the surface and release the seal. If the product is viscous
enough it will remain internal and simply cause premature oxygenation -
Canned foods held for several years may be seriously oxydized and be relatively
unrecognizable. Do process jars properly coming OUT of the pantry as well as
prior to going in. - ED.
220.127.116.11 [ How can I test a dial gauge?]
USE OF A MAXIMUM THERMOMETER TO TEST A DIAL GAUGE
Pressure canning equipment needs to be checked yearly to be
sure it is proper operation condition. Canners with dial gauges
can get out of adjustment and no longer give an accurate reading
of the pressure inside of the canner. This happens as the gauge
gets old; with heavy use the gauge which results in expansion
and contraction of the metals parts causing them to become
The gauge of a dial gauge canner SHOULD BE CHECKED EVERY
YEAR to be sure it is accurate. If it is inaccurate, you may not
be processing low-acid foods at a high enough temperature to make
them safe to consume.
We use a MAXIMUM THERMOMETER to check the temperature
(which reflects the pressure) inside a pressure canner. A
maximum thermometer works like a fever thermometer.
Get a .1C Checktemp and use that to bench mark your maximum thermometer.
You may find it seriously in error. Temperature lags pressure so processing
can be out of whack by 10% or more.
1. Before each use, shake down the maximum thermometer to 200 F
2. Place the thermometer inside an unsealed pint jar and add 2
inches of water to the jar. Place jar in the pressure
3. Place 1 inch of water in the canner.
4. Adjust canner lid, lock and exhaust canner for 10 minutes.
5. Allow pressure to build to desired level (10 PSIG or 11
6. Once pressure is built up and holding stable, time for 10
7. Turn off heat. Allow canner to cool until gauge reaches
"0". Before opening lid, tough safety vent to be sure no
pressure (live steam) escapes. Remove lid.
10. Check the temperature on the maximum thermometer. The
maximum thermometer will stay at the highest temperature
which was achieved in the canner until you shake it down.
11. A gauge which is inaccurate by 1 pound, high or low, should
be replaced. For every 1 pound of pressure the gauge is
"off", it will be off by 2-3 F. If the maximum temperature
thermometer reads 2 F high or low (at the corresponding
pressure), replace the gauge.
Pressure Accurate Acceptable Range
5 pounds 228 F (109 C) 226 to 230 F
10 pounds 240 F (115 C) 238 to 242 F
15 pounds 250 F (121 C) 248 to 252 F
Vapor Pressure of Water Above 100 C
Temp., C Pounds per Square Inch Temp., F
100 14.696 (atmospheric) 212.0
105 17.521 221.0
110 20.779 230.0
116 25.330 240.8
120 28.795 248.0
125 33.664 257.0
127 35.789 260.6
(Table adapted from the Handbook of Chemistry and Physics.)
The difference in pressure between atmospheric and 10
pounds pressure (25.330 - 14.696 ) results in a temperature
(degrees F) difference of 28.8 F (240.8 - 212) or about 2.9
degrees F for every pound of pressure.
The difference in pressure between 10 pounds and 20 pounds
(35.789 - 25.330) results in a temperature (degrees F) difference
of 19.8 (260.6 - 240.8) or about 2 degrees F for every pound of
What this tells us is that the change in the temperature is
not the same over the entire range of pressures. To be on the
safe side, we will use the lesser value--if the temperature on
the maximum temperature thermometer is high or low with respect
to the expected temperature at that pressure by 2 degrees
Farenheit or more the gauge should be replaced as it is
inaccurate by at least one pound pressure.
If the temperature is high or low by less than 2 degrees F,
we can adjust the pressure at which we process in order to
achieve the correct temperature. For example, if at 10 pounds
pressure, the maximum temperature thermometer reads 238 F, our
gauge is reading high by 1 pound--we are actually processing at 9
pounds pressure. To get the temperature up to 240 F, we need 1
more pound of pressure, so we adjust our processing pressure to
11 pounds (10 lb present + 1 lb needed = 11 lb).
In Illinois we are above sea level by about 1,000 feet, so
we will need to process at 11 pounds per square inch by gauge
(PSIG) to get the internal temperature of the canner up to 240 F.
If we find that at 11 pounds pressure the maximum temperature
thermometer reads 238 F, our gauge is reading high by 1 pound--we
are actually processing at 10 pounds pressure. To get the
temperature up to 240 F, we need 1 more pound of pressure, so we
adjust our processing pressure up to 12 pounds (11 lb present + 1
lb needed = 12.
Pounds Pressure (gauge) Temperature, F
Take the temperature inside your canner at several
pressures, compare the temperatures with the temperatures in the
table above to see how close to accurate your canner is. If you
have questions about testing a dial gauge, call your local
Cooperative Extension Service office.
Prepared by Susan Brewer
Foods and Nutrition Specialist
1.1.2 [I made/got some home-preserved foods as a gift. How do I check them
EXAMINE ALL HOME-CANNED FOODS BEFORE USING THEM.
1. Inspect the can before opening: Glass jars: metal lids should be
firm and flat or curved slightly inward. There should be no sign of
leakage around the rubber sealing compound. If there is mold growth
around the exterior neck of the jar--there may be mold growth inside.
Check for signs of "gassiness"--floating food, bubbles rising in the
food, swollen lid.
2. As the jar is opened, notice whether there is an inrush or an
outrush of air. Air rushing out or liquid spurting out indicates
3. Smell the contents at once. The odor should be characteristic of
the food. An "off" odor probably means spoilage (acid, acrid, sour,
4. Check the food carefully to see that it appears to have a
characteristic texture and color. Liquids in all foods should be
clear. Any change from the natural texture and/or color indicates
spoilage. DO NOT TASTE ANY QUESTIONABLE FOOD.
5. Discard canned food with signs of spoilage.
a. High acid foods (fruit) may be discarded in the garbage or
b. Low acid food (vegetables, meat, fish, poultry) must be dis-
carded more carefully because it could contain botulinal toxin.
Discard the spoiled food carefully using one of the following
methods. Be careful not to contaminate your work area by spilling
the food. Wear rubber gloves before handling food or containers.
c. Boil meat, fish and poultry for 15 minutes.
1. Boil at full rolling boil for 20 minutes. Discard.
3. Mix with 1-2 Tbsp household lye *or* 1 cup chlorine
bleach in non-metal container and let stand over- night.
Flush down the toilet, discard in garbage or garbage
disposal. Note: any containers or utensils that come in
contact with spoiled canned foods should be carefully
washed. Use soap and water to wash containers used for high
acid foods. Containers that come into contact with low acid
foods should be sterilized with chlorine bleach or boiled
for 20 minutes. Discard all lids, screw bands, wash cloths,
sponges and rubber gloves used during detoxifying low acid
6. As a safety precaution, boil all low acid foods (meats, fish,
poultry, vegetables) BEFORE TASTING. Boiling destroys the botulinal
toxin should it be present. a. Boil most vegetables for 10 minutes
(full rolling boil). b. Boil thick vegetables (spinach) for 20
minutes. [Louis Nagel, professional canner from Embarcadaro Canning,
suggests that thick vegetables like spinach and chard should *not* be
home canned in the first place.]
Prepared by Susan Brewer/Foods and Nutrition Specialist/July, 1990 EHE-682
1.1.3 [Is home canning safe?]
Yes. As long as you know the limitations. Only two home-canning
(processing) techniques are considered safe. The boiling waterbath process
is used for high-acid (low pH) foods like fruit, while pressure canning is
used to process low-acid foods such as vegetables.
All other methods are considered by USDA, Ag Canada and reputable canning
firms to be obsolete and are not recommended:
Open kettle canning, oven canning, crockpot canning, compost canning, canning
with pills, microwave canning, dishwasher canning, atmospheric steam canning.
(don't confuse with pressure canning)
1.1.4 [What foods can be home canned, and what foods shouldn't be?]
Foods considered high acid (pH lower than 4.6/4.7) can be boiling waterbath
canned. This next chart is reworked from _Putting Food By_.
Foods at pH 2.0-3.0 - lemons, gooseberries, underripe plums
Foods at pH 3.0-3.5 - ripe plums, underripe apples, ripe oranges and
grapefruit, strawberries, rhubarb, blackberries, cherries,
raspberries, blueberries, very underripe peaches and apricots
Foods at pH 3.5-4.0 - ripe apples, oranges, grapefruit, overripe
blackberries, cherries, raspberries, and peaches, ripe apricots,
under-ripe pears, pineapple, sauerkraut, (other pickles?)
Foods at pH 4.0-4.6 (BORDERLINE) -tomatoes, figs Above 4.6 or so, must
be pressure canned.
Foods at 4.6-5.0 - some tomatoes, depends on the variety. (Green
tomatoes are below 4.6). pimentoes, pumpkin. USDA suggests that
pumpkin butter cannot be canned safely.
Foods at 5.0-6.0 - carrots, beets, squash, beans, spinach, cabbage,
turnips, peppers, sweet potatoes, asparagus, mushrooms, white potatoes
Foods at 6.0-7.0 - peas, tuna, lima beans, corn, meats, cow's milk,
salmon, oysters, shrimp.
Above 7.0 - hominy, black olives (each are lye cured). Leave these to
Check the list of pH readings for common foods and condiments below. Need
to also consider the size of your jars (half gallon size jars are made, but
you probably shouldn't can with them), the physical properties of your food
and the gooeyness of what you are canning. Pumpkin/squash purees and
butters, and refried beans probably shouldn't be home canned--it will take
a long time to get the center of the jar hot enough. However, squash and
pumpkin chunks (raw pack) can be pressure canned. [Interestingly, spinach
and chard shouldn't be home canned because the leaves will condense into a
mass, insulate the center of jar, and form a dangerous cold spot--Louis
Nagel.] Also, cream soups and cream-style vegetables shouldn't be home
canned for the same reason that pumpkin butter shouldn't be canned.
1.1.5 [pH determinations of common foods and condiments.]
Remember pH 4.6 is the cutoff. Above pH 4.6, a recipe must have enough
added acid to be waterbath processed, or must be pressure canned. If you
still don't find your food here, citations are listed for still more of
them. From http://vm.cfsan.fda.gov/~mow/app3a.html
VEGETABLES pH VEGETABLES pH
Artichokes 5.6 Peas 5.8 - 7.0
Canned 5.7 - 6 Frozen 6.4 - 6.7
Asparagus 4 - 6 Canned 5.7 - 6.0
Canned 5.2 - 5.3 Dried 6.5 - 6.8
Buds 6.7 Pepper 5.15
Stalks 6.1 Pimiento 4.6 - 4.9
Beans 5.7 - 6.2 Potatoes 6.1
String 4.6 Tubers 5.7
Lima 6.5 Sweet 5.3 - 5.6
Kidney 5.4 - 6 Pumpkin 4.8 - 5.2
Beets 4.9 - 5.6 Radishes (red) 5.8 - 6.5
S 4.2 - 4.4 (white) 5.5 - 5.7
Canned 4.9 Rhubarb 3.1 - 3.4
Brussel sprouts 6.0 - 6.3 Canned 3.4
Cabbage 5.2 - 6.0 Rice (all cooked)
Green 5.4 - 6.9 Brown 6.2 - 6.7
White 6.2 White 6.0 - 6.7
Red 5.4 - 6.0 Wild 6.0 - 6.4
Savoy 6.3 Sauerkraut 3.4 - 3.6
Carrots 4.9 - 5.2 Sorrel 3.7
Canned 5.18-5.22 Spinach 5.5 - 6.8
Juice 6.4 Cooked 6.6 - 7.2
Cauliflower 5.6 Frozen 6.3 - 6.5
Celery 5.7 - 6.0 Squash (all cooked)
Chives 5.2 - 6.1 Yellow 5.8 - 6.0
Corn 6.0 - 7.5 White 5.5 - 5.7
Canned 6.0 Hubbard 6.0 - 6.2
Sweet 7.3 Tomatoes (whole) 4.2 - 4.9
Cucumbers 5.1 - 5.7 Paste 3.5 - 4.7
Dill pickles 3.2 - 3.5 Canned 3.5 - 4.7
Eggplant 4.5 - 5.3 Juice 4.1 - 4.2
Hominy (cooked) 6.0 Turnips 5.2 - 5.5
Horseradish 5.35 Zucchini (cooked) 5.8 - 6.1
Kale (cooked) 6.4 - 6.8
Kohlrabi (cooked) 5.7 - 5.8 FRUITS
Leeks 5.5 - 6.0 Apples
Lettuce 5.8 - 6.0 Delicious 3.9
Lentils (cooked) 6.3 - 6.8 Golden Delicious 3.6
Mushrooms (cooked) 6.2 Jonathan 3.33
Okra (cooked) 5.5 - 6.4 McIntosh 3.34
Olives (green) 3.6 - 3.8 Winesap 3.47
(ripe) 6.0 - 6.5 Juice 3.4 - 4.0
Onions (red) 5.3 - 5.8 Sauce 3.3 - 3.6
(white) 5.4 - 5.8 Apricots 3.3 - 4.0
(yellow) 5.4 - 5.6 Dried 3.6 - 4.0
Parsley 5.7 - 6.0 Canned 3.74
Parsnip 5.3 Bananas 4.5 - 5.2
FRUITS (contin.) pH MEAT, POULTRY pH
Cantaloupe 6.17-7.13 Beef
Dates 6.3 - 6.6 Ground 5.1 - 6.2
Figs 4.6 Ripened 5.8
Grapefruit 3.0 - 3.3 Unripened 7.0
Canned 3.1 - 3.3 Canned 6.6
Juice 3.0 Tongue 5.9
Lemons 2.2 - 2.4 Ham 5.9 - 6.1
Canned juice 2.3 Lamb 5.4 - 6.7
Limes 1.8 - 2.0 Pork 5.3 - 6.9
Mangos 3.9 - 4.6 Veal 6.0
Melons Chicken 6.5 - 6.7
Cassaba 5.5 - 6.0 Turkey (roasted) 5.7 - 6.8
Honey dew 6.3 - 6.7
Persian 6.0 - 6.3 FISH
Nectarines 3.9 Fish (most fresh) 6.6 - 6.8
Oranges 3.1 - 4.1 Clams 6.5
Juice 3.6 - 4.3 Crabs 7.0
Marmalade 3.0 Oysters 4.8 - 6.3
Papaya 5.2 - 5.7 Tuna fish 5.2 - 6.1
Peaches 3.4 - 3.6 Shrimp 6.8 - 7.0
In jars 4.2 Salmon 6.1 - 6.3
In cans 4.9 Whitefish 5.5
Persimmons 5.4 - 5.8 Freshwater (most) 6.9 - 7.3
Pineapple 3.3 - 5.2 Sturgeon 5.5 - 6.0
Canned 3.5 Herring 6.1 - 6.4
Plums 2.8 - 4.6 DAIRY PRODUCTS/EGGS
Pomegranates 3.0 Butter 6.1 - 6.4
Prunes 3.1 - 5.4 Buttermilk 4.5
Juice 3.7 Milk 6.3 - 8.5
Quince (stewed) 3.1 - 3.3 Acidophilus 4.0
Tangerines 4.0 Cream 6.5
Watermelon 5.2 - 5.8 Cheeses
BERRIES Camembert 7.44
Blackberries 3.2 - 4.5 Cheddar 5.9
Blueberries 3.7 Cottage 5.0
Frozen 3.1 - 3.35 Cream cheese 4.88
Cherries 3.2 - 4.1 Edam 5.4
Cranberries Roquefort 5.5 - 5.9
Sauce 2.4 Swiss Gruyer 5.1 - 6.6
Juice 2.3 - 2.5 Eggs
Currants (red) 2.9 White 7.0 - 9.0
Gooseberries 2.8 - 3.1 Yolk 6.4
Grapes 3.4 - 4.5 Egg solids, whites 6.5 - 7.5
Raspberries 3.2 - 3.7 Whole 7.1 - 7.9
Strawberries 3.0 - 3.5 Frozen 8.5 - 9.5
Frozen 2.3 - 3.0
BAKERY PRODUCTS pH
Bread 5.3 - 5.8
Eclairs 4.4 - 4.5
Napoleons 4.4 - 4.5
Biscuits 7.1 - 7.3
Crackers 7.0 - 8.5
Angel food 5.2 - 5.6
Chocolate 7.2 - 7.6
Devil's food 7.5 - 8.0
Pound 6.6 - 7.1
Sponge 7.3 - 7.6
White layer 7.1 - 7.4
Yellow layer 6.7 - 7.1
Flour 6.0 - 6.3
Caviar (domestic) 5.4
Cider 2.9 - 3.3
Corn syrup 5.0
Corn starch 4.0 - 7.0
Ginger ale 2.0 - 4.0
Jams/Jellies 3.1 - 3.5
Mayonnaise 4.2 - 4.5
Molasses 5.0 - 5.5
Raisins 3.8 - 4.0
Sugar 5.0 - 6.0
Vinegar 2.0 - 3.4
Yeast 3.0 - 3.5
(a)pH values were derived from the following references:
Anon. 1962. pH values of food products. Food Eng. 34(3):98-99.
Bridges, M.A., and Mattice, M.R. 1939. Over two thousand estimations of
the pH of representative foods. Am. J. Digest. Dis. Nutr. 9:440-449.
FDA Bacteriological Analytical Manual, 6th Ed. 1984. Chapter 23, Table 11.
From Richard Webb
The following chart comes from The Curious Cook by Harold McGee.
Fruit Sugar Content Acid Content
%of fresh weight %of fresh weight
Lime 1% 5.0%
Avocado 1 0.2
Lemon 2 5.0
Tomato 3 0.5
Cranberry 4 3.0
Red Currant 6 1.8
Grapefruit 6 2.0
Guava 7 0.4
Cantaloupe 7 0.2
Strawberry 7 1.6
Raspberry 7 1.6
Blackberry 8 1.5
Papaya 8 0.1
Apricot 9 1.7
Watermelon 9 0.2
Peach 9 0.4
Black Currant 10 3.2
Pear 10 0.1
Honeydew 10 0.2
Orange 11 1.2
Plum 11 0.6
Blueberry 11 0.3
Gooseberry 11 1.8
Passion Fruit 11 3.0
Prickly Pear 11 0.1
Mango 11 0.5
Pineapple 13 1.1
Pomegranate 13 1.2
Apple 13 0.8
Cherry 14 0.5
Kiwi 14 3.0
Persimmon 14 0.2
Fig 15 0.4
Grape 16 0.2
Banana 17 0.3
Litchi 17 0.3
1.1.6 [What does home canning entail?]
These are two sample recipes, just to give a general idea of what is
involved, one is for a waterbath treatment, the other involves pressure
canning. Some comments of special interest have been added (in [with
initials]), to benefit the canning newbie. Both of these recipe files are
taken from Susan Brewer's fact sheets.
CANNING FRUITS (PEACHES)
Fresh fruit for home canning should be at the peak of ripeness--they should
have lost their greenish color and should yield slightly when squeezed.
[The peak-ripe fruit has the most dependable amounts of acid and
pectin--LEB]. Fruit should be prepared (peeled, trimmed), treated to
prevent browning, and hot-packed to exhaust air and make fruit more
pliable. Hot packing will help prevent fruit from floating in the syrup.
Prepare syrup, hot pack fruit and water bath can. Use USDA Complete Canning
Guidelines or "Canning Card" (EHE-660) for processing time.[The USDA
Canning Guideis on- line, check part 16 under Internet Sites.--LEB]
Recommended Quantities: Peaches, apples, pears: 17 1/2 lb fresh = 7 qt. ll
b = 9 qt. 1 bushel = 48 lb = 16-24 qt (2 1/2 lb per quart) Berries: 1 1/2-3
lb (1-2 qt) fresh = 1 quart canned Plums: 1 1/2-2 1/2 lb fresh = 1 quart
canned Preparing Jars 1. Wash jars by hand or in dishwasher. Rinse well.
[Please remember that the dishwasher cleans the jars a little, and keeps
them warm--it does not sterilize them.--ED, LEB] 2. Prepare lids according
to manufacturer's directions. [Take a careful look at the rims, the
counterpoint to the lids.--LN] Preparing Peaches [0. Wash your
hands.--everybody, your mom :)] 1. Wash peaches under running water.
[Important to remove dust and dirt. Soil bacteria are important source of
spoilers.--LEB] 2. Skin removal (peaches, apricots): [Blanching step.] a.
Dip peaches in boiling water for 30-60 seconds. b. Dip in cold (ice) water
to stop heat treatment. Do not soak-- remove immediately. 3. Cut peaches in
halves, remove pits, slice if desired. 4. To prevent darkening put slices
in any of these antidarkening solutions: a. a solution of 1 tsp or 3000 mg.
of vit. C/ gallon of water. [From Tips 'n Tricks--can use a Vitamin C
tablet] b. a citric acid or lemon juice solution (1 tsp citric acid USP
grade or 1/4 cup lemon juice / gallon of water. [Check below for a list of
citric acid sources.] c. a commercial antioxidant solution. [Fruit Fresh,
et al.] 5. Remove from antidarkening solution and drain just before heating
or raw packing. 6. Syrup a. Sugar [Granulated] (a) Thin: 2 cups sugar to 4
cups water Medium: 3 cups sugar to 4 cups water Heavy: 4 1/2 cups sugar to
4 cups water (fruit may float) b. Honey: 1 1/2 cups honey to 4 cups water
Thin honey: 3/4 cup honey, 3/4 cup sugar, 4 cups water. [Test the flavor of
your honey before using it your jars.--LN] c. Corn syrup: Thin: 1 c corn
syrup, 1 c sugar, 4 c water Medium: 1 1/2 c corn syrup, 1 c sugar, 4 c
water Heavy: 2 c corn syrup, 2 1/2 c sugar, 4 c water d. Fruit juice:
pineapple, apple, etc. h. Water: fruit may fall apart during processing.
(b) a. [For ease of use, sugar may be added directly to the jars, then
processed --LN, Embarcadero Home Canning] b. [Need the sugar to maintain
plant cell osmotic pressure-LEB.] 7. Pack a. Hot pack: heat fruit and syrup
or water to boiling, then pack. b. Raw pack: do not heat fruit prior to
filling jars. c. Pie pack: heat fruit in sugar only, no sugar, until juice
drawn from fruit nearly covers fruit. Heat slowly to prevent scorching.
Fill jars with hot mixture and process as for hot pack fruit. 8. Overlap
fruit pieces in jars to minimize air spaces. 9. Work out air bubbles with
plastic or wooden utensil. (a) 10. Add liquid (syrup, fruit juice, water)
leaving 1/2 inch of headspace.(b) 11. Wipe off jar rims thoroughly to make
sure the sealing surface is clean and free from fruit or sugar which would
prevent sealing. (c) 12. Add lids to the top, using tongs or a lid lifter.
(d) 13. Screw ring bands onto the jars finger tight, plus a quarter turn
more. a. [If large amounts of air remain after processing, you get less of
a vacuum and weak seals.--LEB Plastic/stainless steel utensils best, wood
can put splinters in food, thus is verboten.--LN] b. [Headspace is where
the seal will develop. Too much/too little will pro- duce weak seals.] c.
[Very important for a beginner to remember to do.] d. [Don't touch the
inside rim with your fingers.]
Processing Procedure: 1. Place filled jars on rack in canner so they don't
touch sides. 2. Add hot water until the level is 1-2" over jar tops. (a) 3.
Place the lid on the canner and bring to a boil. 4. Start timing the canner
when the water returns to a full boil. 5. Add more boiling water as needed
to keep level 1-2" over jar tops. 6. Process according to USDA Guidelines,
see "Canning Card" (EHE-660) (b) a. [2" far better than 1", because the
water will boil off. Too little water will leave an underprocessed jar.--LN
Should add boiling water instead of just hot water, to keep the water
boiling.--ED, LN If you are a newcomer to all this, might want to measure
the water depth.--LEB] b. [Remember that you need to know your elevation,
and convert accordingly. Recipe times assumed for sea level. Check part V
for way to determine your elevation.]
Cooling Jars: 1. At the end of the processing time, remove the jars from
the waterbath canner without disturbing lids or bands. 2. Place jars right
side up on towel or rack away from drafts. 3. DO NOT tighten screw bands.
4. Lids will seal in 12-24 hours as they cool. [Hot glass can break or
crack if cooled too quickly. BTW, If you hear a loud pop or click, the
vacuum seal formed very quickly. This is the nicest sound in all
Checking Seals: 1. Jar is sealed if lid is depressed in center and does not
move. (a) 2. Remove screw bands from sealed jars, wash off any syrup which
may have boiled out during processing, and store jars. (b) 3. Unsealed jars
should be reprocessed with new lids, or refrigerated and used within a few
days. (c) a. [Another seal test: hold the jar up by the lid w/o the ring.
If the jar falls, the seal was bad. Catch the jar. :)] b. [If the jars are
very sticky, might want to reprocess, because some of this is trapped in
the seal.--LN] c. [Must do the reprocessing within 24 hrs of original
Storing Home-Canned Fruits: 1. Remove screw bands from sealed jars. 2. Wipe
jars with warm, sudsy water and dry (do not disturb lid). 3. Label and
date. 4. Store in clean, cool (less than 90F), dark, dry place. [Under 65F
if possible.--LN] [Want to be able to use your canned goods within a year
or so.] Prepared by Susan Brewer/Foods and Nutrition Specialist/Revised,
1992 EHE-663 ---- Tomato-Vegetable Juice Blends Tomatoes are a somewhat
acid food. To make them safe for home canning ACID MUST BE ADDED. To each
quart jar of tomatoes or tomato juice, 2Tbsp of lemon juice, or 4 Tbsp of
5% vinegar, or 1/2 tsp of citric acid must be added. When adding
vegetables, which are low in acid, the instructions must be followed
exactly. You may add less vegetable, but you must not add more vegetable
than the re- cipe calls for. You may adjust the spices and seasonings to
your taste, for example more or less pepper, add a little tabasco, or more
sugar. And, you may vary the kinds of vegetables as long as you do not add
more than three cups total vegetables to 7 quarts of juice. For example,
you may use 2 cups of onions and 1 cup of celery, or 1 cup each of green
pepper, onion, and carrots. But no more than 3 cups total of vegetables
will be safe. [Check out the V. Recipe Caveats and Troubleshooting Guide
for the vegetable/acid rules.] An average of 22 pounds of tomatoes is
needed per canner load of 7 quarts.
Preparation for Canning: 1. Wash jars by hand or in dishwasher. Rinse well.
[Check the dishwasher question 1.3.6 for more info.--LEB] 2. Prepare lids
according to manufacturer's directions. 3. Put 2 to 3 inches of water in
pressure canner, or 5 to 7 inches of water in boiling water bath canner. Be
sure canner has rack. 4. Start water heating. It should be hot but not
boiling when the jars go in.
Prepare juice: [0. Wash your hands. :)] 1. Wash tomatoes and vegetables
under running water. Trim and discard any bruised or discolored sections.
2. Chop carrots, onions, celery and green peppers, or your preferred com-
binations. For 7 quarts of juice you may add up to 3 cups of chopped
vegetables. 3. To prevent juice from separating, quickly cut about 1 pound
of fruit into quarters and put directly into saucepan. Heat immediately to
boiling while crushing. Continue to slowly add and crush fresh tomato
quarters into the boiling mixture. Make sure the mixture boils constantly
while you add the remaining tomatoes. 4. Add the chopped vegetables to the
boiling tomatoes. 5. Add sugar, salt, and spices. For 7 quarts of juice, a
mixture of 1/3 C sugar, 1/4 C salt, 1 Tbsp celery seed and 1/8 tsp cayenne
pepper is a good combination. 6. Simmer mixture for 20 minutes. 7. Press
hot mixture through a sieve or food mill to remove skins and seeds. 8.
Reheat juice to boiling.
Fill jars: 1. Add 2 Tbsp lemon juice (or alternatives-see above) to each
quart jar. 2. Fill boiling juice into jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. 3.
Wipe top sealing edge of jar with a clean damp towel. 4. Adjust 2-piece
canning lids. Tighten ring bands using thumb and two fingers until just
snug, then using whole hand, tighten 1/4 turn fur- ther. [Don't tighten
further especially if pressure canning, need the interior of the jars to
equilibrate with the pressure during processing.]
Processing: 1. Place jars on rack in canner so that they do not touch
sides. 2. Add hot water to boiling water bath if necessary to bring water
1-2 inch over tops of jars. 3. Cover canner, or lock pressure canner lid
into place. 4. Turn up heat. 5. Process: Boiling water bath canner: when
water reaches full boil, begin to count processing time. Set timer for
specified time. Add water to boiling water canner if necessary to maintain
proper depth. [Your *accurate* timer is important here. Should be clock
wound or use an electronic battery.--LN] Pressure canner: When steady
stream of steam issues from vent, set timer and allow to exhaust steam for
10 minutes. After 10 minutes, close petcock or put weighted pressure
regulator on vent. When dial gauge reads 11 psig, or when weight begins to
rock or hiss at manufacturer's stated rate, set timer for specified
processing time, and gradually reduce heat to maintain proper pressure.
[Gradual is important here--don't cut the heat so radically to lose
pressure, otherwise have to retime.] PROCESSING TIMES for canning in
Illinois: Boiling Water Pressure Canner (10/11 psig) Pints 35 minutes 15
minutes Quarts 40 minutes 15 minutes [Check your p.canner gauge at least
once/year.--LN] [Remember to alter times/pressure for your elevation. If
you live in the US, check the geographical nameserver listed in part
V.--LEB] After processing time is complete: 1. Remove canner from heat.
Allow pressure to drop to zero. Wait 3 more minutes. Open canner with lid
away from you to avoid steam in your face. [Don't try to speed this up;
just simply turn off the burner and allow to cool. Even moving a canner to
a cool burner can be a bit dangerous.--LN] 2. Remove jars from canner.
Place upright on rack to cool away from drafts. 3. Do Not Tighten ring
bands. They will tighten as they cool. 4. After 12-24 hrs check seals.
Center of lid should be depressed and not give when touched. A tap with a
spoon should give a clear ring. 5. Remove ring bands, wipe with warm sudsy
water, rinse, label and store. 6. Unsealed jars may be reprocessed, or
refrigerated. Prepared by Mary A. Keith, Foods and Nutrition, July, 1991
Revised by M. Susan Brewer, Foods and Nutrition, June, 1992 EHE-692 ----
1.1.7 [Where do I get the Ball Blue Book? And the USDA Canning Guide?]
Most of the food preservation sources are in the back of this FAQ, but the
Ball Blue Book (BBB) is the great canning classic of all time (unless you
have the Kerr Canning Guide). First time canners are *well* advised to pick
up a copy. Places where you can order or find the BBB are: order form on
the lid box in a fresh case of Ball canning jars; sometimes the hardware
store or the Walmart where you picked up the case of jars will also have a
copy for sale nearby. I got mine in a used bookstore (check the copyright
date, you want one less than ten years old). New info from
firstname.lastname@example.org; can order the BBB by phone, the number is
1-800-859-2255. From the Great Pump- kin; a reliable address for ordering
the BBB is: Direct Marketing, CB/ All- trista Corporation/ P.O. Box 2005/
Muncie IN 47307-0005. The USDA Canning Guide is online. Check under
Internet Sources (part 6) for the exact addresses.
1.1.8 [What if my recipe doesn't have processing instructions?]
Check out the section in this FAQ entitled Recipe Caveats and
Troubleshooting. Or follow the recipe, *don't* process, and simply
refrigerate the results.
1.1.9 [How can I find out my elevation so I can alter my processing times?]
A geographic nameserver is listed for your convenience. This convenience
works only for folks in the United States. If you know of a Canadian and a
world-wide one, please let me know.
1.2.1 [Recipe Templates and Tricks]
1.2.2 [Sweet Spreads 101, from Barb Schaller]
These are templates which can give you ideas for unusual gifts, or
really unusual jams and jellies. Fruity,cannable things 101 as taught by
Barb Shaller, Famed Fruit Spread Preserver.
Preserves: The broad category AND a specific product: Whole
fruits (or similar-sized cut pieces of fruit too large to be done whole)
preserved in a thick sugar syrup varying in viscosity from that of honey to
soft jelly, so that the fruit retains its shape.
Jelly: The jelled *juice (only)* of the fruit or vegetable. A prize-winning
one will be clear, lacking crystallization, and will be firm enough to hold
its shape outside the jar, yet will be soft enough for easy spreading.
Jam: Will contain fruit bits. Fruit prepared for jamming is typically crushed
or chopped and cooked with sugar. Pectin may be added to assist the jel. A
little softer than jelly.
Butter: The smooth pureed pulp of the fruit, cooked and sweetened until very
thick. Often enhanced with sweet spices. Must be cooked slowly. Refer to FAQ
for sad stories and a couple good recipes [look down :)--LEB].
[ The very best butters are made with nothing but the fruit. Slow cooked over
many hours - one MUST keep stirring constantly - an exquisite flavour is
derived - ED]
Conserves: Jam-like combinations of two or more fruits,
traditionally without added pectin and traditionally containing nuts and
raisins. YMMV. A good one is on the soft side.
Marmalades: Soft fruit jellies, typically citrus products, containing small
pieces of fruit or peel evenly suspended in the transparent jelly. Good
definitions from the Ball Blue Book.
1.2.3. ["Scientific" low sugar Jams]
>From Sandy Fifer : I have a very general formula that works well for me.
First, I check _Putting_Food_By_ to see what the acid content is for the
particular fruit and use lemon juice to increase the acidity accordingly.
(If it's not acid enough [pH 4.6] I add up to 3 Tbsp. lemon juice per 5
cups of fruit.) Second, I use Pomona's Universal Pectin so that the jelling
does not depend on the amount of sugar used. So, for jam, here's my recipe:
(check the Proportions list for quantities) Prepare fruit: pit cherries,
de-stone and remove cores from nectarines, pears, etc., de-skin by dipping
in boiling water if necessary. Puree fruit--shorter time if you like some
lumps (fruit identity), longer if you like it smoother. Since this is jam
and not jelly it will have body and not be the translucent jell commercially
available. Combine 5 cups of fruit, 1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar, 2T lemon juice,
and use 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 tsp. each of pectin and calcium, prepared according
to the package. This yields 4 to 5 1/2 cups jam, depending on loss during
cooking: some fruits foam up (raspberries), some are thick and spit all
over the kitchen while heating (nectarines and pears). Remember, this is a
very general recipe. Also, I like a minimum of sugar, just enough to bring
out the taste of the fruit.
With some fruits I add ginger (e.g. pears) or lemon zest (e.g.
blueberries). I cook the puree until it reaches a full boil--this can take
10 to 20 minutes depending on how high the heat is and how thick the
fruit. I'm cooking to heat it thoroughly, not to reduce it or develop
pectin. You bring the jam to a full boil. This means that you stir the
puree around and as soon as you remove the spoon all the puree immediately
starts to boil again. At this point there's no need to cook it further--you
can proceed to the pectin step. When it reaches the full boil, add the
pectin, sugar and calcium according to the directions. You have to
experiment to determine how much sugar you want, and how thick you want the
resulting jam. Then I water-bath can the jam for six minutes. Having
brought the jam to a full boil allows you to process it for such a short
time. I believe that if you follow this recipe you will end up with, at the
mini- mum, a really good batch of jam, even taking into account the
variation in tastes. You might want to tinker with it some to suit your own
particular taste. I've never had an inedible failure. In the beginning I
had some jams that were too thick or thin, but they tasted fine, and I kept
notes and corrected the recipe the following year. I buy high quality fruit
and use it when it's just ripe. I don't care about the cost of the fruit
because it's more important to me to have a delicious end-product. Using
fruit that's moldy or past its prime is a bad idea. Some mold can survive
the canning process. Once opened, low-sugar jams have a shorter shelf-life
than high-sugar com- mercial jams, even when refrigerated. My raspberry jam
lasts about three weeks (not sure why) and the other fruits last about four
to six weeks. Basically my jam tastes like pureed fruit (in fact to make
fruit sauce for toppings I use the same recipe and just leave out the
pectin and calcium) and is as close as I can come to preserving summer.
---Proportions, from Sandy Fifer --- I decided to type in my recipes for
all the jams I've made. Remember, these depend on using Pomona's Universal
Pectin, which doesn't require sugar to set the jam. And one box of Pomona's
will last for 3 to 5 batches of jam (where one batch equals 5 cups of
fruit). Pureed fruit Sugar Lemon juice # tsp. *each* of Optional pectin &
calcium Strawberries: 5 c. 7/8 c. 2 Tbsp. 2 tsp. Raspberries: 5 1/2 c. 2/3
c. 2 Tbsp. 2 tsp. Cherries: 5 c. 1/2 c. 2 Tbsp. 1 3/4 tsp. Marionberries: 6
c. 3/4 c. 2 Tbsp. 1 3/4 tsp. Blueberries: 5 c. 1/2 c. 2 Tbsp. 1 1/2 tsp.
lemon zest Peaches: 5 c. 1/2 c. 2 Tbsp. 2 tsp. Plums: 5 c. 3/4 c. 2 Tbsp. 2
tsp. Apricots: 5 c. 1/2 c. 2 1/2 Tbsp. 2 1/4 tsp. Pears: 6 c. 1/2 c. 2 1/2
Tbsp. 2 1/2 tsp. 1 tsp. fresh ginger, grated Yield: 4 to 6 cups of jam,
depending on conditions.
1.2.4 [Fruit butters in general, and apple butter in particular..] From: Barb
Schaller Re cooking and doneness of fruit butters, this from Farm Journal
Freezing and Canning Cookbook, Doubleday, 1964: "1). Measure the pulp and
sugar into a large kettle; add the salt. Boil rapidly, stirring constantly
to prevent scorching. As the butter becomes thick, lower heat to reduce
spattering. 2). Add spices and lemon juice, if used. 3) ***Continue cooking
until but- ter is thick enough almost to flake off the spoon, or as
Grandmother used to say: "Until it is thick enough to spread." Another test
for consistency is to pour a tablespoon of the hot butter onto a chilled
plate -- if no rim of liquid forms around the edge of the butter, it is
ready for canning.*** 4) Pour into hot jars and seal. Process pints and
quarts in hot-water bath 10 minutes. That said, let me say this about that:
This is not a fast project. Time and patience are everything. I do not
bring my pulp to boil over high heat; med- ium high at best, watching and
stirring diligently to it won't stick and scorch. Then reduce the heat! A
mesh spatter shield is invaluable to me when I do this because the pulp
thickens as the liquid evaporates; as the pulp thickens the spattering
increases; covering the pan to protect from spattering hinders evaporation.
The closer you think you are to "done," the more attention you'll want to
give it. Too-fast cooking at too high a heat will caramelize the sugar in
the recipe and leave you with something akin to jam. Trust me on this; I've
ruined more than one batch of apricot butter in my time. Additionally, I'd
process them longer than the 10 minutes, espec- ially if the butter is less
than boiling when it's put into the jars -- I had a couple of jars not
seal. The butter is dense and takes longer to heat through to ensure the
seal. The butter can also be baked (a fine alternative, especially if
you're in a cool climate and welcome the warmth of the oven). Pour the
seasoned and sweetened pulp into a shallow (9x13 inch pan minimum) pan --
or a shallow roasting pan. Bake at about 325 degrees F until thick,
stirring every 20-30 minutes so an evaporation-induced crust doesn't form
on the top. Not as complicated as it might look. Wonderful treat. Worth the
effort. Apple Butter Recipe It's what I did. And I actually *measured*
* 12 cups apple pulp (I used locally grown Haralsons)
* 3 to 4 cups sugar (begin with 3, I added the 4th to my taste)
* 3 tsp. ground cinnamon
* 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
* 1/8 tsp. freshly ground allspice
* 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
* 1/4 tsp. ground cloves (do not overdo cloves; taste can be
* 1/4 cup white vinegar
Make pulp: Core but do not peel apples. Cook slowly with about an inch or
two of water added, stirring to prevent sticking. Put through a food mill
to make pulp. If you use more water and boil the heck out of them, do drain
in a colander to eliminate the extra liquid. Measure pulp into at least a
6-quart dutch oven, stir in remaining ingredients and cook slowly,
uncovered, for several hours to desired thickness. Feel free to correct the
spices to your taste; adding in cautious amounts. Can in hot, sterilized
jars, process in boiling water bath maybe 20 minutes. If my schedule
requires it, I make it a two-day project. It sits fine overnight, covered.
Use imaginatively: I use as a condiment as often as a bread spread; we like
it with roast pork or chops. I swirl it into my cream cheese coffee cake
filling. If it's thick enough, fill a cookie with it.
1.2.5. [Conserves] From: Leslie Basel Conserves are multi-fruit preserves,
sometimes with nuts and/or raisins. My grandmother once told me that
anything more than three different fruits in anything is a waste--you can't
taste them all, or they taste like tutti fruitti... But I really like
making conserves--you can do almost any combination of fruits, as long as
they are acid enough (check the FAQ above for general pHs of different
fruits)-- and they're perfect for using up weird amounts of fruit, or
cleaning up the leftovers from different jam projects. I suspect that name
"conserve" is derived from that little operation. So without further ado,
Kitchen Sink Conserve 3-4 cup whole strawberries 1 large stalk rhubarb 4
nectarines 3/4 cup raisins 1/2 cup fresh orange juice slivered almonds
(optional) sugar Hull, wash, and mash strawberries. Peel and chop rhubarb.
I like a very fine chop, as it keeps the rhubarb from becoming dental
floss. Pit and chop nectarines. Combine strawberries, rhubarb, nectarines,
orange juice, and raisins. Simmer fruit until tender (strawberry bits will
not be seen in this), then take off the heat, and measure the amount of
fruit/juice. The trick for nearly any conserve recipe: Add sugar to fruit
mixture on a 3/4-1vol:1vol basis. (I got 5 cups of fruit, so I add 4-5 cups
of sugar). And if you add a citrus juice (or even a fruit juice) instead of
water, you add a little extra acid and pectin. Put fruit/sugar mix on high
heat, boil, stir constantly. When it passes the jelly test, add the chopped
nuts, stir and jar it up. I put this hot into sterilized pint jars, so I
boiling waterbath-processed this for 15 minutes. Hot half pints, do this
for 10. (Note, this is for sea level.) If you try this with almonds or any
other kind of nut, be stingy with them. Nuts are not acid, so too many will
invite spoilage. If you like raisins, add as many as you want. Spices are
great, if you have a light touch. Fruits that do not work well in a
conserve of this type: Bananas, they get brown. Soft fruits work alright if
don't expect them to be intact afterward, otherwise they should be added
last, perhaps to float to the top of the jar :-). Figs are tasty in a
conserve, but they are borderline acid, so you need extra citric acid or be
stingy with them. Citrus works okay *with* a little advance planning; you
need to prepare peels like you would in a marmalade (see recipe below). Raw
citrus peels are very bitter and icky. Stone fruits work great, I always
add at least one into a conserve. And its always great to have a few
slightly underripe fruits in the conserve for pectin and acid. So here's a
place where you can be creative, and one-up your grandmother. Who knows
what family recipe you'll brew up?
(end of part 1)