Author Topic: Preserving/Canning...  (Read 22922 times)

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Offline Elynor

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Re: Preserving/Canning...
« Reply #15 on: September 30, 2008, 04:56:21 PM »
How easy is canning?  I've always wanted to try, but it looks a bit risky!
If you stick to acidic things (fruit, tomatoes, pickles, chutneys with vinegar) you can do water-bath canning and it's quite safe and reasonably easy. Other things need a pressure canner and the risks are a bit higher. I've done salsa, apple and pear butters, and jam, and I haven't poisoned myself or anyone else that I know of! ;)

Offline Choccie

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Re: Preserving/Canning...
« Reply #16 on: September 30, 2008, 07:58:33 PM »
I'm in the mood to make fruit butter (apple or pear) and would like to can/preserve some of it for winter and to give to DH's family.  Problem is, I've never done this before and am at a loss of what jars to use.

Lakeland has two types - Jam and preserving.

Can anyone advise which type is better?  Can both be used to preserve? If so, can the same method (submersion in boiling water) be used for both?  I was thinking of getting the jam jars, but the other jars look prettier.

Thanks!

Offline vnicepeeps

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Re: Preserving/Canning...
« Reply #17 on: September 30, 2008, 08:28:10 PM »
Yael I will have to defer to folks in the UK on the canning process there.  I know they use wax seals more so than the bands and lids we do here but I know they are available both sides of the pond.

Elynor I think did some in the UK so can point you in the correct jar/lid area.

Our Uncle Graham uses old jelly jars and parafin wax paper covers, but I am not 100% sure I'd go that route though he also has never poisoned us!

My mom and I only do high acidic things as well.  So preserves, jelly, chutney and pickles are on our list.  I am making the pear butter Elynor suggested at this very minute!
« Last Edit: September 30, 2008, 09:09:38 PM by vnicepeeps »
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Offline Elynor

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Re: Preserving/Canning...
« Reply #18 on: October 01, 2008, 10:11:06 AM »
I haven't done any "proper" canning over here. I just made some bramble jelly and used the 'preserving' type jars (99p at Ikea!), but I froze the jars that we're not using right away. I'm kind of skeptical about the waxed disc thing, too. 

This is the type of jars I'm familiar with. They basically vacuum-seal when you put them in a water bath. I'm not sure what the process is for the other types of jars. :-\\\\

Offline phatbeetle

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Re: Preserving/Canning...
« Reply #19 on: October 01, 2008, 10:36:24 AM »
I'm intrigued about this whole wax seal thing. I shall have to see if my library has a book on canning here in the UK. 
 I'm used to canning with the ball jars in the states which are so easy to use and just use hot water, rather than pressure cooking and the whole nine yards.  I like to can, its really fun and its nice to give people gifts from the heart! That was something we used to do with my mom as kids, was do canning for the local county fairs. 
As for killing people- well, just use common sense. If a jar looks like its been breeched, seal is not intact, the food smells funky or mouldy, looks dirty, runny (when it shouldn't be) or just seems off, then better be safe than sorry!  Acidic foods are best for beginners, but also make sure you use really clean-sterile jars to start with.
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Offline Elynor

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Re: Preserving/Canning...
« Reply #20 on: October 01, 2008, 12:07:34 PM »
As for killing people- well, just use common sense. If a jar looks like its been breeched, seal is not intact, the food smells funky or mouldy, looks dirty, runny (when it shouldn't be) or just seems off, then better be safe than sorry!  Acidic foods are best for beginners, but also make sure you use really clean-sterile jars to start with.
Unfortunately botulism contamination doesn't necessarily have obvious signs.  :-\\\\ I'm not too uptight about high-acid foods, but low-acid things like veggies really need proper handling. 

Offline vnicepeeps

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Re: Preserving/Canning...
« Reply #21 on: October 02, 2008, 02:41:30 PM »
I don't can low acid stuff unless it's pickled.  Thing is... I am not a fan a canned veggies anyway so all of our extra veggies are getting blanched and steamed.  So the beans for example taste like they were just picked or close to it.  It's a lot of faff to me when if I wanted a canned bean/corn I'd just go buy one.

Though I do suppose they do indeed taste better!

Those Kilner jars are exactly they type we use.  A  good book in the library will show you the UK version of canning.  They still sell paraffin wax here at Walmart -I suppose it's for those who are used to that way of canning. 

From what I gather "jam jar lids" do have a wax coating in them.  Though I am not sure if you water bath them or not or simply if putting hot jam in a hot jar with cause it to seal.  This site has a lot of equipment. http://www.cookability.biz/jam-making/a_22.htm

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Offline vnicepeeps

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Re: Preserving/Canning...
« Reply #22 on: October 02, 2008, 05:08:21 PM »
Hey my UK Preserving book has a good explanation of the different types of jars etc if anyone is interested I can post it tonight.
The wiring in our brain is not static, not irrevocably fixed.  Our brains are adaptable. -Mattieu Ricard

Being ignorant is not so much a shame as being unwilling to learn. -Benjamin Franklin

I have long since come to believe that people never mean half of what they say, and that it is best to disregard their talk and judge only their actions. -D.Day

Offline Elynor

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Re: Preserving/Canning...
« Reply #23 on: October 02, 2008, 06:16:15 PM »
Hey my UK Preserving book has a good explanation of the different types of jars etc if anyone is interested I can post it tonight.
Absolutely!

Offline phatbeetle

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Re: Preserving/Canning...
« Reply #24 on: October 02, 2008, 07:07:52 PM »
Hey my UK Preserving book has a good explanation of the different types of jars etc if anyone is interested I can post it tonight.

Me too. I want to have a go at canning here.
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Offline Choccie

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Re: Preserving/Canning...
« Reply #25 on: October 02, 2008, 07:22:24 PM »
Me three!  Thanks :D

Offline vnicepeeps

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Re: Preserving/Canning...
« Reply #26 on: October 03, 2008, 05:19:58 AM »
Okay.... I was going to type the whole thing out but I am instead going to do my best to paraphrase what I have gleaned from various sources.

First while the UK is usually really OTT on Health and Safety in many areas there is a distinct difference in what the UK recommends versus the USA recommends in the area of canning. 

Here are some of the key differences you might need to know:

Most UK sources still use the oven method for sterilizing jars.  This basically means washing the jars and lids in hot soapy water, rinsing them and then putting them dry into a cold oven, heat the oven to 110C/225F/Gas1/4 and bake for 30 minutes.  Leave to cool slightly and fill. (This is the method I've heard of the most.)

They also have people that just use the microwave, dishwasher and Milton tablets as well as the boiling water method.

This means you use a pot and some boiling water.  Place jars open end up in a deep pan and pour enough water to cover the jars.  Bring to a boil for 10 minutes.  Remove the jars and place face down on a dry clean dish towel, then turn upright and allow to air dry for a few minutes.  Place lids and seals in simmering water for about 30 seconds draw them out as you are getting ready to seal the jars. (All of this has to be done very quickly from boil to packing). The USDA site and various others have really in depth descriptions of this as it's part of the US recommended method for dealing with jars that will be used to pot jellies.  The Ball books say that oven/dishwasher sterilization is not a good method though many people in the UK and old timers here might argue other wise!

Now keep in mind that for all preserves that will be processed in a hot water bath
10 minutes or longer you don't need to sterilize the jars in this way.  Simply washing them well and then make sure they are heated.  Heating the jars is basically following the process for sterilizing the jars only once they come to a boil you turn off the heat and let sit for 10 minutes. The Ball Blue Book Guide says that for just heating the dishwasher also works.  Here at home we just use the same pot we will be using to process the jars to heat them.  Basically they wind up getting sterilized, but it's better to go over board than under in this case I think.  :P

Now the whole water bath after the preserves are potted or not thing.

Most sources in the UK will say that jams, preserves, chutney's and pickles do not need to be done with a water bath.  The only time the UK seems to recommend it is for canning low acid foods such as veggies and the like.  They also recommend it if you want to extend the shelf life of your preserves (up to two years).  If you choose to use this method you will need to find something similar to US Ball or Mason jars. http://www.ascott-dairy.co.uk/acatalog/Glass_Preserving_Jars.html#aDP263 has several types.  I'd personally use band and lid types.  This site has a great explanation of heat treated methods: http://www.allotment.org.uk/allotment_foods/bottling-canning/Bottling-Canning-Methods.php  This is basically what all US recipes call for unless you are making freezer jams or something to be consumed in short time and kept in the fridge.  Even jams and preserves are processed for 10 minutes in a warm water bath.  Other low acids foods need to be processed longer and in a boiling water bath or pressure cooker.  The US standards are quite stringent on the fact that everything must be processed.

So back to the UK methods.  They also have people who can using old jars and wax seals and cellophane and elastic bands or even liquid paraffin. As far as I can gather both work well so long as you take care to sterilize the jars well and use them according to the directions.  All described again on the old allotments site:  http://www.allotment.org.uk/allotment_foods/jams-preserve/make-jam-jelly-equipment.php

The clamp type jars are also good for all preserves from jams to jellies to bottled fruits and pickles according to my UK book.  It says, "to use, fit the sterilized rubber ring on to the lid before filling the jar to within 1cm/1/2 inch of the top, or to the manufacturer's mark on the jar.  Holding the jar steady with a cloth, clamp the lid shut.  An airtight vacuum will form as the preserves cools."   The book is The Complete book of Preserves & Pickles by Catherine Atkinson and Maggie Mayhew. 

 I've been using a lot of recipes from it and just following the processing times from the US Ball guide.   Now with all the above mentioned jars placing them in a hot water bath to process might not be that great of an idea as you'd wind up with wet preserves.  However, I did find that some people in internet land that managed to use the rubber seal ones with some success.

As as very general guide Jams and chutney are 10 minutes to 15 minutes in a boiling water bath and jellies are 5 minutes. Pickles and relishes are 15 to 20 minutes.  Feel free to pm me for times for other things or more specific guidelines.

I hope all of this makes sense as it's midnight and if anyone finds any problems let me know.

I hope it helps explain the differences.  Really I think if you are making small batches of jams to give away or butters like the pear butter (to die for recipe) above then either of the Lakeland jars is fine. I'd probably go for the rubber ring ones, but that's me.

Good luck and happy canning folks!  We still have a bushel of Granny Smith's and a bushel of pears to get through.   ::)  I made some Pear and Ale chutney today flavored with Cardamom and Ginger.  I pretty much included half the vinegar of the recipe and replaced half with ale.  It's yummy.  I think it will preserve okay with the vinegar and sugar content. 



« Last Edit: October 03, 2008, 05:24:50 AM by vnicepeeps »
The wiring in our brain is not static, not irrevocably fixed.  Our brains are adaptable. -Mattieu Ricard

Being ignorant is not so much a shame as being unwilling to learn. -Benjamin Franklin

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Offline phatbeetle

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Re: Preserving/Canning...
« Reply #27 on: October 03, 2008, 08:18:19 AM »
Cheers for that vnicepeeps!!
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Re: Preserving/Canning...
« Reply #28 on: October 03, 2008, 11:13:39 AM »
thanks so much for all that information!!
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Offline Elynor

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Re: Preserving/Canning...
« Reply #29 on: October 03, 2008, 12:00:18 PM »
Thanks! Very interesting about the clamp-type jars. I've got enough blackberries left for a (small) batch of chutney, so I'll have to see what type of jars I can find locally. I'm not planning to do enough to bother with ordering a dozen jars.