When it comes to canning, foods are divided into two categories. Low acid foods have a pH 4.6 or above and high acid foods have a pH of 4.6 or below. In general, fruits fall into the high acid category. But, there are some exceptions.
Melons, including watermelon, honey dew and cantaloupe, are examples of low acid fruits. They have an average pH of 6.2. So, to can them, significant amounts of acid and sugar must be included to safely can them in a boiling water bath canner. In March of 2011, there was an outbreak of botulism linked to watermelon jelly sold in Canada.
So, it is important to choose recipes from trusted resources in all canning, and especially with low acid foods. A good recipe for Watermelon Jelly can be found in the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving or at www.bernardin.ca/recipes/zesty-watermelon-jelly.htm?Lang=EN-US. Bernardin is the Canadian brand of Ball canning products.
Remember, while tomatoes are classified as a vegetable, they are botanically a fruit. Acid, either lemon juice, vinegar, or citric acid, must be added to tomatoes for safe canning. Details can be found at www.bookstore.ksre.ksu.edu/pubs/MF1185.PDF.
There’s now an app for that! Oregon State University has created a free app for your mobile device for instructions on canning vegetables, fruits, meats and fish.
This app is intended for people with previous canning experience. It has reminders for essential steps in the canning process. It also includes altitude adjustments and a built-in timer for the product you are canning.
Food preservation classes are for anyone! If you are a new FCS Agent, a 4-H Foods leader or member, or just want to learn about food preservation, sign up! The current list of classes I have scheduled are as follows:
April 12—Olathe, KS, contact Crystal Futrell, 913-715-7000
May 1– Lincoln, KS, contact Ashley Svaty, 785-524-4432
May 23—Osawatomie, KS, contact Franny Eastwood, 913-795-2829
May 24—Lawrence, KS, contact Susan Johnson, 785-843-7058
June 28—Grantville, KS, contact Cindy Williams, 785-863-2212, or Susan Fangman, 785-232-0062
Soup is a tasty winter meal. But not all types of soup can be safely canned at home. Here’s some cautions for creamed soup.
Creamed soups are best preserved by freezing for safety.
Creamed soups are thickened with flour or other thickeners. These slow the heat transfer through the jar. This could lead to botulism. The safest choice is to add thickening agents when preparing the soup to eat.
All dairy products are low acid foods and should never be canned. Add these to soups just before serving.
Noodles, pasta, rice, dumplings, barley, etc. should not be canned. These foods interfere with heat transfer through the jar. Add these just before serving.
Thickened or creamed tomato soup should not be canned. Instead, can tomato juice, tomato vegetable juice blend, or crushed tomatoes (without added vegetables). When ready to make the tomato soup, add seasoning, vegetables, and thickeners, as desired.
So what soups are safe to can you ask? Vegetable soups with or without meat or meat broth may be safely canned using the process time that takes the longest time as an individual ingredient. Most soups will take 60 to 90 minutes to process in a pressure canner depending upon size (pints or quarts) and ingredients. Never can soup in half-gallon containers. Use caution to avoid packing ingredients into the jars. For vegetable soup, fill the jars half full of solids, add broth allowing 1 inch headspace and process in a pressure canner. Space is needed for the hot liquid to circulate between the food particles. Pieces of cooked beef or chicken can be added to the vegetables to make a vegetable meat soup.
People often think that they can save money by buying larger containers of canned food, transferring the contents (or leftovers from the first use) to smaller jars and re-processing it. Others wonder if this is a way to save leftovers from any size can for a longer time than they will keep in the refrigerator.
There are three main problems with doing this:
There are no safe tested process to do this. The way heat goes through a jar of already canned food is different than fresh food. The food will become very soft and compact more. This could lead to underprocessing and spoilage.
There is no cost savings in re-canning foods.
The food quality will be greatly reduced. Nutrients will be lost and more textural changes will occur.
Fall hunting season is quickly approaching! Venison offers variety and an unusual flavor to the fall and winter table. When handled properly it can make an excellent meat. It can be refrigerated or frozen as meat cuts or sausage. It can also be preserved by canning, curing, or drying.
The following resources can help you get your supplies ready and help you decide which method is best for your family.
Pink, red, blue or light purple discoloration sometimes occurs in home canned apples, cauliflower, pears, peaches or beets.
Keep all produce cool after harvest. When using the hot pack method, do not overcook or heat to too high a temperatures. Excessive heat changes natural food pigments. Use correct processing methods and time to reduce discoloration.
If the fruit grew in dry weather, it often turns pink and cannot be prevented.
While the color doesn’t look right, the pears are safe to eat.
Instead of canning plain applesauce or other plain fruit, try mixing it up to make a mixed fruit puree. While this can be done for many fruits, some fruits should not be used because no home canning recommendations are available for purees of these products. They include bananas, figs, Asian pears, tomatoes, cantaloupe and other melons, papaya, ripe mango or coconut. These are best preserved by freezing for safety.
Many parents want to can their own baby food. Fruit is the only food that can be safely processed as a puree. Follow the recommendations from: