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The Romance of Canning

The Romance of Canning
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  • Post #31 - September 28th, 2008, 12:01 pm
    Post #31 - September 28th, 2008, 12:01 pm Post #31 - September 28th, 2008, 12:01 pm
    I just this second looked at the links provided by LAZ above from the Ball canning company - they have recipes for waterbath-canned pasta sauce and a recipe for herbed tomato juice which I'm guessing will work with tomatoes as well. Stupid me for looking elsewhere first.
  • Post #32 - September 28th, 2008, 8:30 pm
    Post #32 - September 28th, 2008, 8:30 pm Post #32 - September 28th, 2008, 8:30 pm
    aschie30 wrote:...Has anyone used citric acid, in the form of a crushed Vitamin C pill...


    Just FYI, Vitamin C is ascorbic acid, not citric acid. You will probably have to buy the citric acid as a canning supply.

    Interesting that one recommended ingredient for acidification is bottled lemon juice-- is fresh lemon juice too inconsistent? C2, interesting thread!
  • Post #33 - September 28th, 2008, 10:12 pm
    Post #33 - September 28th, 2008, 10:12 pm Post #33 - September 28th, 2008, 10:12 pm
    JenM wrote:
    aschie30 wrote:...Has anyone used citric acid, in the form of a crushed Vitamin C pill...


    Just FYI, Vitamin C is ascorbic acid, not citric acid. You will probably have to buy the citric acid as a canning supply.


    The cheapest method to purchase Vitamin C from a vitamin store, then crush them. Fruit Fresh overall is pretty expensive if you need it in any volume, which often is the case in canning.

    Interesting that one recommended ingredient for acidification is bottled lemon juice-- is fresh lemon juice too inconsistent?


    I don't know, though I would not be surprised if that choice is based on convenience and price.

    Glad you liked this thread.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #34 - September 28th, 2008, 10:15 pm
    Post #34 - September 28th, 2008, 10:15 pm Post #34 - September 28th, 2008, 10:15 pm
    Too many of the recommendations for lemon juice in canning or preserving seem to assume that it is too much trouble to squeeze a bunch of lemons. Around here peak canning season is late summer and early fall which are also the worst seasons for fresh (as opposed to storage) lemon supply. Use lemon juice if you are working with peaches because they generally need both ascorbic acid (vitamin C) to retard browning and citric acid to lower pH. Fruit Fresh is a good way to get ascorbic acid for antibrowning action.

    Any Middle Eastern grocery store will carry citric acid.
  • Post #35 - September 29th, 2008, 7:06 am
    Post #35 - September 29th, 2008, 7:06 am Post #35 - September 29th, 2008, 7:06 am
    JenM wrote:Interesting that one recommended ingredient for acidification is bottled lemon juice-- is fresh lemon juice too inconsistent?


    It didn't elaborate, but my Ball Blue Book of Canning specifically did not recommend fresh lemon juice, instead recommending bottled lemon juice and/or vinegar with a minimum of 5% acidity.
  • Post #36 - September 29th, 2008, 8:05 am
    Post #36 - September 29th, 2008, 8:05 am Post #36 - September 29th, 2008, 8:05 am
    If you look in the kosher food section of most mega marts as Alton Brown says you will find sour salt. This is citric acid in granular form and relatively cheap. I use it for sweet and sour meatballs, cabbage borscht and stuffed cabbage. Recently had to buy a bottle and since I'm past retirement age I think I got a lifetime supply for about $2
    Paulette
  • Post #37 - September 29th, 2008, 3:09 pm
    Post #37 - September 29th, 2008, 3:09 pm Post #37 - September 29th, 2008, 3:09 pm
    According to this article, high-acid foods that are safe for waterbath canning have a PH of 4.6 or lower. Wouldn't it make more sense to purchase an inexpensive ph test kit and test a small portion of your food before tinkering? Interestingly, baking 911 suggests that fresh lemon juice may be more acidic than bottled, but not as consistent (though, according to them, it errs on the more acidic side)

    I was also wondering why Cream of Tartar (which is a wine by-product) isn't recommended as an acidifier, as that's what it was originally used for in wines? Or wine itself: this article suggests that a typical California Chardonnay has a PH of 3.4, more acid than bottled lemon juice - and sweeter wines tend to have an even lower PH (though I don't know what happens after you cook off the alcohol, which I assume you don't want volatile ingredients when canning) I'd rather cut my pasta sauce with wine than with lemon juice...though I suppose all this is better asked at the Extension website.
  • Post #38 - September 29th, 2008, 3:20 pm
    Post #38 - September 29th, 2008, 3:20 pm Post #38 - September 29th, 2008, 3:20 pm
    aschie30 wrote:
    JenM wrote:Interesting that one recommended ingredient for acidification is bottled lemon juice-- is fresh lemon juice too inconsistent?


    It didn't elaborate, but my Ball Blue Book of Canning specifically did not recommend fresh lemon juice, instead recommending bottled lemon juice and/or vinegar with a minimum of 5% acidity.


    My book recommends bottled lemon juice because the acidity level is consistent.
  • Post #39 - September 29th, 2008, 5:10 pm
    Post #39 - September 29th, 2008, 5:10 pm Post #39 - September 29th, 2008, 5:10 pm
    HI,

    Extension offices will provide answers with their researched based information. If they have no information available to them, then they won't recommend any variant.

    Lemon juice is so common, you will likely sensory negate it out. Inconsistent acidity in lemons is not a surprise, since it also applies to tomatoes, which is why added acid (bottled or vitamin C) is required.

    Canning and food preservation is much more science than art, I am inclined to stick to research based information. I'd rather not have my efforts wasted in spoilage or, worse yet, illness.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #40 - September 29th, 2008, 8:50 pm
    Post #40 - September 29th, 2008, 8:50 pm Post #40 - September 29th, 2008, 8:50 pm
    My first attempt at canning did not go badly, indeed. The hardest part was sourcing the equipment. But not terribly time consuming. Here are my crushed tomatoes au jus after processing:

    Image

    This weekend, I might do some more. I think I'm hooked. :)
  • Post #41 - September 29th, 2008, 9:48 pm
    Post #41 - September 29th, 2008, 9:48 pm Post #41 - September 29th, 2008, 9:48 pm
    I had a "romantic getaway" this past weekend: 8 jars peach chutney, 3 jars pesto, 6 jars salsa. It is kind of addictive. I'm thinking about pickled spiced crabapplesfor next weekend.
    Man : I can't understand how a poet like you can eat that stuff.
    T. S. Eliot: Ah, but you're not a poet.
  • Post #42 - September 30th, 2008, 10:07 am
    Post #42 - September 30th, 2008, 10:07 am Post #42 - September 30th, 2008, 10:07 am
    For Your Canning Consideration . . .

    Image

    I could not find jar lifters anywhere and I was a little nervous about using them anyway. I'm not so good with tong-like things and I could see dropping the jars into the boiling water or otherwise having a hard time maneuvering them.

    In come these silicone gloves, which I found at Sur La Table. They cover your arms pretty well, which is good for any errant splatters of water . . . but they are also advertised as being "waterproof," and heat-resistant to 675 degrees. (My canning temperature was 180 degrees.)

    Call me reckless, but how thrilling would it be to use your hands to reach into near-boiling water to put your jars in there and then take them out? Yeah! Also, the picture on the tag showed someone pulling a lobster out of a hot pot of water, so I figured if anything happened to me, that would be exhibit A in the lawsuit that would be filed.

    So, how'd it go? It was thrilling. Gloves not quite as waterproof as I'd like and the term heat resistant only means they won't melt but not that they won't conduct heat. Did I get burned? No, but there were times when my hands definitely got hot. Looking at them afterward, there were no immediate visual effects, and my hands weren't even red. I'll use them again. :)
  • Post #43 - September 30th, 2008, 10:23 am
    Post #43 - September 30th, 2008, 10:23 am Post #43 - September 30th, 2008, 10:23 am
    aschie30 wrote:(My canning temperature was 180 degrees.)


    How were you processing your jars?

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #44 - September 30th, 2008, 10:26 am
    Post #44 - September 30th, 2008, 10:26 am Post #44 - September 30th, 2008, 10:26 am
    I've fiddled with a number of solutions for the lifting problem, one of which only works with the jelly-size jars - but it works well - I use my spaghetti pot with the built-in drainer - otherwise I've been successful with my kitchen tongs, but I'm usually pretty good with them, YMMV. Unfortunately, it doesn't fit the pint-size jars, and I have an old quart size jar somebody gave me that won't fit in any of my pots. I generally love silicone, (except for bakeware) I have the little pincers that are the same as your silicone gloves but just cover the fingers. They work well when I'm trying to turn over a chicken in the oven or something equally messy, as I can toss them into the dishwasher when I'm done.

    I did two batches: one of Basil-Garlic Tomato sauce from the Ball website that LAZ linked to above, and one of Tomato and Green Chile Salsa, from the NCHFP, following both recipes almost exactly - I did modify the salsa recipe, as the site says you can change the seasonings as long as you don't alter the vegetables in any way; I used a combination of lemon basil, oregano and added dried chili flakes. Both look beautiful - I'll edit in pictures later. I still have over half of my 10-lb box of tomatoes to go (there's a stand at the Evanston Farmer's Market that's selling them for $10.)
  • Post #45 - September 30th, 2008, 10:35 am
    Post #45 - September 30th, 2008, 10:35 am Post #45 - September 30th, 2008, 10:35 am
    Hi,

    I have jar lifters I bought at rummage sales for around 25-50 cents. WalMart has a small shelf of canning supplies that often has these lifters. I know where two are and one is spoken for. If I figure out where someone put them away to help me, then I will pass them onto you both.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #46 - September 30th, 2008, 10:37 am
    Post #46 - September 30th, 2008, 10:37 am Post #46 - September 30th, 2008, 10:37 am
    Cathy2 wrote:
    aschie30 wrote:(My canning temperature was 180 degrees.)


    How were you processing your jars?

    Regards,


    In a boiling water bath. I should clarify that per the USDA instructions, I set the water to 180 but then turned it up after I put the jars in.

    In any case, both the Ball book and the USDA specify 180-212 as the temps at which most bacteria, yeast and molds in acid foods is destroyed, depending upon processing time. Blue Book suggested 180 for acidified tomatoes, but I went higher than that.
  • Post #47 - September 30th, 2008, 10:41 am
    Post #47 - September 30th, 2008, 10:41 am Post #47 - September 30th, 2008, 10:41 am
    Cathy2 wrote:If I figure out where someone put them away to help me, then I will pass them onto you both.


    Well, thank you very much!

    Mhays- I bought my tomatoes in Michigan - 21/lb for $9. I didn't have enough canning jars for all that I made, so some crushed tomatoes went into the fridge for use later this week.
  • Post #48 - September 30th, 2008, 7:49 pm
    Post #48 - September 30th, 2008, 7:49 pm Post #48 - September 30th, 2008, 7:49 pm
    :D Just left Indiana on an apple-picking expedition - more about that later - and saw a "Homegrown Tomatoes, 20lb for $6" and another sign for "canning tomatoes." However, the $1 per lb tomatoes are readily available and are quite good, so I'm fine with the bird in the hand; it's more expensive than canned tomatoes but so, so much better.

    How many jars did you get? I have most of one set of jelly jars and most of one set of pint jars (a few gone as gifts, some still have strawberry jam to be eaten) I'm clearly going to need more. At the Orchard, we asked after jars in the shop (they had the lifter/funnel set, etc.) and the woman said "no - but I've got hundreds in my basement." Looks like we'll be putting up applesauce as well...I'll have to hit Target this week.
  • Post #49 - September 30th, 2008, 8:02 pm
    Post #49 - September 30th, 2008, 8:02 pm Post #49 - September 30th, 2008, 8:02 pm
    Mhays wrote:How many jars did you get? I have most of one set of jelly jars and most of one set of pint jars (a few gone as gifts, some still have strawberry jam to be eaten) I'm clearly going to need more.


    21/lbs tomatoes yielded 12 pint jars + about 1 quart in the fridge. I have 12 1/2 pint jars ready for something else (possibly chili sauce and/or apple butter) when the urge strikes again.

    Addicting, huh?
  • Post #50 - September 30th, 2008, 8:27 pm
    Post #50 - September 30th, 2008, 8:27 pm Post #50 - September 30th, 2008, 8:27 pm
    Wait 'til you start eating them! Last year, I only canned about five jars of tomatoes...but they were soooo much better than grocery-store canned tomatoes in every way that I deeply regretted giving so much of my harvest away. You bet, I'm hooked - plus it satisfies the hoarder in me in a socially acceptable manner. (I actually calculated that we use about 40 jars of pasta sauce/tomatoes per year...and began to seriously consider the ramifications of doing that, but came to my senses as my 8 jars took me a whole day :D )

    I just bought 15 pounds of the most beautiful Japanese-hybrid apples (those Japanese know their fruit) about half Jubilee Fuji and half Shizuka (Golden Delicious and Indo cross) and I'm planning what to do with both these exquisitely balanced apples - chunky applesauce with bay leaf? Frozen apple pie filling? Apple butter? The mind boggles.
  • Post #51 - September 30th, 2008, 8:36 pm
    Post #51 - September 30th, 2008, 8:36 pm Post #51 - September 30th, 2008, 8:36 pm
    Mhays wrote:I just bought 15 pounds of the most beautiful Japanese-hybrid apples (those Japanese know their fruit) about half Jubilee Fuji and half Shizuka (Golden Delicious and Indo cross) and I'm planning what to do with both these exquisitely balanced apples - chunky applesauce with bay leaf?


    Wouldn't Sparky like apple juice this winter? :)
  • Post #52 - September 30th, 2008, 9:01 pm
    Post #52 - September 30th, 2008, 9:01 pm Post #52 - September 30th, 2008, 9:01 pm
    I'm smiling as I read these posts. I haven't canned in years, and your creative endeavors are stirring me into revisiting my past addiction :) I have just dusted off the book that inspired many of my canning and preserving - Fancy Pantry by Helen Witty. Terrific recipes such as:
    - Peach or Nectarine Jam with Brown Sugar
    - Tarragon-Pickled Flame Grapes
    - Red Rosemary Jelly
    - Escoffier's Condiment of Sweet Peppers

    In terms of equipment, I used canning jar lifters which always appeared to be readily available. Without these, I found removing the jars rather cumbersome and somewhat dangerous. Another very useful tool was a magnetic jar lid lifter. This tool was not as easily available, but for a dollar or so, made lifting those sterilized lids from boiling water a breeze.

    Other than driving to Michigan, any local suggestions for sourcing inexpensive fruits and vegetables?

    Jyoti
    Jyoti
    A meal, with bread and wine, shared with friends and family is among the most essential and important of all human rituals.
    Ruhlman
  • Post #53 - September 30th, 2008, 9:07 pm
    Post #53 - September 30th, 2008, 9:07 pm Post #53 - September 30th, 2008, 9:07 pm
    Oddly enough, Jyoti, this past week I picked up some very nice local Jonathan apples (excellent for sauces, etc.) at the Jewel, of all places. Finding it odd that Jonathan apples were in a grocery store, picked up the bag and noticed the label had a farm address in Illinois (fortunately for our now-groaning pantry, those apples went to Sparky's classroom where they're studying Johnny Appleseed. I think they made applesauce.)

    I wonder how often that happens without anyone knowing.
  • Post #54 - October 1st, 2008, 1:42 am
    Post #54 - October 1st, 2008, 1:42 am Post #54 - October 1st, 2008, 1:42 am
    jygach wrote:I'm smiling as I read these posts. I haven't canned in years, and your creative endeavors are stirring me into revisiting my past addiction :) I have just dusted off the book that inspired many of my canning and preserving - Fancy Pantry by Helen Witty.

    Wonderful book. It goes far beyond canning and preserving, and I mostly used it for small-batch stuff.

    My preserving bible back in my Earth Mother days was Putting Food By, which covers canning, freezing, drying and more.

    I still do small projects, but although these posts make me remember the satisfaction of rows of filled jars, it hasn't been so long that I don't also remember how much hot work serious canning is. (It's much more pleasant if you can get a friend or two together and share the produce and the effort.)

    jygach wrote:Another very useful tool was a magnetic jar lid lifter. This tool was not as easily available, but for a dollar or so, made lifting those sterilized lids from boiling water a breeze.

    Easy to improvise if you don't have one. Tie a magnet to a piece of kitchen string.
  • Post #55 - October 1st, 2008, 7:34 am
    Post #55 - October 1st, 2008, 7:34 am Post #55 - October 1st, 2008, 7:34 am
    jygach wrote:Other than driving to Michigan, any local suggestions for sourcing inexpensive fruits and vegetables?


    VI suggested that Caputo's had bushels of local tomatoes for cheap.
  • Post #56 - October 1st, 2008, 9:17 am
    Post #56 - October 1st, 2008, 9:17 am Post #56 - October 1st, 2008, 9:17 am
    My go to source for canning and other hard to find kitchen supplies is Lehman's Non-Electric

    Their prices are reasonable and I've always experienced very helpful customer service. I've ordered everything from pie birds to chicken crates (Boy, do I wish I had room for actual chickens!)

    Hope this helps.
    "The only thing I have to eat is Yoo-hoo and Cocoa puffs so if you want anything else, you have to bring it with you."
  • Post #57 - October 1st, 2008, 11:41 am
    Post #57 - October 1st, 2008, 11:41 am Post #57 - October 1st, 2008, 11:41 am
    The Ace Hardware at 3011 N Clark St (773-348-3333‎) tends to have a good selection of canning supplies. I bought a nice set of tongs there last year for a few bucks.
  • Post #58 - October 7th, 2008, 8:46 pm
    Post #58 - October 7th, 2008, 8:46 pm Post #58 - October 7th, 2008, 8:46 pm
    As promised:
    Image
    To the right, in the 1/2 pint jar, is Tomato and Green Chile Salsa, while center and left are Basil-Garlic Tomato Sauce

    All of it turned out really well (I ate a whole jar of the salsa by myself today - just checking to see how it tasted :wink: ) The salsa is vinegary and velvety, not traditional but still far and away better than storebought. The lighter jar in the middle is my first try at the Basil-Garlic sauce; I cooked it in a pot on the stove and didn't emulsify it much - we tried one jar, and I found that we needed a lot more sauce than usual as it was fairly light (good flavors, though.) For the second batch, I halved and seeded the tomatoes (into a sieve over a bowl, per C2) and put the cut side down on a rack over a cookie sheet (per Dobra,) and then high-heat roasted them for about 20 minutes until the skins browned and came off easily. I deglazed the cookie sheet with the recovered juice, and then sieved about half of the tomatoes directly into my cooking pot, which accounts for the difference in color. These were waterbath-canned per the instructions in the recipes.
  • Post #59 - October 7th, 2008, 8:53 pm
    Post #59 - October 7th, 2008, 8:53 pm Post #59 - October 7th, 2008, 8:53 pm
    Hint to home canners:

    Look in the discount bins for jars and other canning supplies. This is the time of year that traditional retailers markdown the supplies.
  • Post #60 - October 8th, 2008, 1:26 am
    Post #60 - October 8th, 2008, 1:26 am Post #60 - October 8th, 2008, 1:26 am
    Hi,

    I am finally going to bed. I just canned 11 quarts and 1 pint of Roma tomatoes. I have a pitcher filled with fresh tomato juice for tomorrow's breakfast.

    Tomorrow, I finally do the Concord grapes for pie filling and maybe juice.

    Sunday evening, I pasteurized 7 quarts of fermented dill pickles and 9 pints of sweet pickles. I have more than a quart of the dill pickle juice that is destined to be the base for Polish pickle soup.

    My last major project for this year is fermenting 20-30 pounds of sauerkraut. My favored source for winter cabbage only had seven pounds last weekend. I'm sure there was more but a self-service farm stand does not always have a person to make inquiries to. I couldn't wait for him to drop in.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast

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