muses of the moment

August 25, 2012

Canning Caution

Filed under: Odds 'n ends — totallygroovygirlfriday @ 2:43 am

As you know, groovygirl prepares for hard economic times in other ways besides purchasing physical gold and silver. She gardens and preserves food. It is another passion. But the time for blogging is limited to one subject ­čÖé

However, groovygirl found a recent post on a blog she visits regularly (great blog) that alarmed her. In the absence of generational teaching of skills like gardening, canning, freezing, and preserving food, most people go to the internet for information. Bad information on canning and preserving food can kill you. So, groovygirl has some suggestions.

Click here for the blog post that alarmed her and the author!

Good resources for preserving food:

If you want extensive and reliable information on canning (pressure and water bath) and freezing, go to the library or purchase Ball’s Blue Book. This is put out by the Ball’s Jar Company. (Mason probably has something similar.) Sometimes you get this Guide as part of a kit with a water bath or pressure cooker. It has every vege, fruit, (and meat) covered, recipes, portions, temperatures, cooking times, altitude adjustments, storage times, trouble-shooting, tips, and tricks.

If you are new to canning, when you can something and open it later, have/serve only a small portion. So if you become sick, your body only has to fight a small portion of invaders instead of the whole jar full. This also will alert you to test other jars of the same batch for contamination. (So, label, label, label.) If it smells bad, tastes bad, or has major discoloration or mold, throw it out. Wasted food is better than sickness or death. But if you follow Ball’s directions, you should have no problems.

Another good resource  is Encyclopedia on Country Living. This book covers EVERYTHING from butchering to canning to burying the dead. Yep, everything.

Wild Fermentation covers preserving food with sugar and salt, not heat or pressure. Think of sauerkraut.

And gg’s favorite book with recipes on preserving food with whey is Nourishing Traditions.┬áSome people are allergic to whey, but most of Sally’s recipes can be substituted with salt. What is whey? You know that yellow, thin liquid on top of your yogurt when you open it; that’s whey. Need to make ketchup, mustard, or mayo from scratch? This book tells you how!

A good rule of thumb is:

Use the fermentation process if you want to preserve something for 1-3 months, could be longer if in the frig or cool place. Use canning for preserving 1-2 years. Although gg’s grandmother had canned jars of food that were 10 years old and nothing terrible happened, groovygirl doesn’t recommend storing for that long. The longer an item is on the shelf, the more nutritional value it loses.

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