Monthly Archives: January 2013

If you haven’t stored your pressure canner for the season…

Cans of Tomato Veggie Soup

…then it’s a great time to can soups! (And of course, even if you thought you were done for the season and have put it nicely away in storage, then you can still pull it back out.)

To warm up these wintry days, prepare and preserve your favorite mix of vegetables, beans or peas, meat, poultry or seafood into a hearty soup. In order to produce a safe preserved product with these low-acid foods, you’ll need to use a pressure canner. You’ll also want to follow these recommendations from USDA:

If this is your first time canning or you admit that you could benefit from a refresher of the basics, please first read Using Pressure Canners and Principles of Home Canning.

Jars of soup in pressure canner

It is important that you DO NOT add noodles or other pasta, rice, flour, cream, milk, or other thickening agents to your home canned soup. These ingredients effect the heat penetration of the jars during processing and USDA does not offer recommendations for their use. Also, if you do choose to use dried beans or peas, you MUST fully rehydrate them first so as not to alter the measurement of water in the final products.

The procedure is fairly simple: select, wash, and prepare vegetables, meat, and/or seafood as you would for a hot pack. For more information about preparing for hot packs, refer to So Easy to Preserve or the National Center for Home Food Preservation website. If you are including meat, then cover meat with water and cook until tender. Cool the meat and remove any bones. If you are using dried beans or peas, then add 3 cups water for each 1 cup of beans or peas, boil 2 minutes, and then remove from heat. Soak for 1 hour, then again heat to a boil, and drain.

Soup filled jars half and half

In a large stock pot, combine solid ingredients with enough broth, tomato juice, or water to cover them. Boil 5 minutes. Add salt (or other dried spices) to taste, if you like. Fill jars halfway with solid mixture, and then add the remaining liquid, leaving 1-inch headspace. Adjust lids and process using the tables below.

Original sources for this entry come from the National Center for Home Food Preservation website and So Easy to Preserve .

Recommended process time for Soups in a dial-gauge pressure canner.

Canner   Pressure (PSI) at Altitudes

Style   of Pack

Jar   Size

Process   Time

0-2,000ft

2,001-4,000ft

4,001-6,000ft

6,001-8,000ft

Hot

Pints

60* min

11   lb

12 lb

13 lb

14 lb

Quarts

75* min

11   lb

12 lb

13 lb

14 lb

* Caution: Process 100 minutes if soup contains seafoods.
Recommended process time for Soups in a weighted-gauge pressure canner

Canner   Pressure (PSI) at Altitudes

Style   of Pack

Jar   Size

Process   Time

0-1,000ft

Above   1,000ft

Hot

Pints

60* min

10   lb

15 lb

Quarts

75* min

10   lb

15 lb

* Caution: Process 100 minutes if soup contains seafoods.

Putting up what you put up with

Cozy Canner

If you happen to be a home food preserver who tucks away your canning equipment snugly and soundly through the winter season, then you might like to know some tips for giving tender loving care to your equipment as you store it. (Note: it doesn’t really require warm gloves.)

To encourage safe operation of your pressure canner in the coming spring and summertime, clean the vent and safety valve. To do this, pull a clean string or narrow strip of cloth through the opening of the vent. Make sure the safety valve is free of debris and moves smoothly, and then remove it for cleaning (or follow manufacturer’s directions). Next, check the gasket, if your canner has one (some are metal to metal instead). The gasket is the rubber or rubber-like ring that helps seal the rim with the lid. Follow manufacturer’s instructions to remove the gasket for cleaning, and if it needs replacing then you should easily find a new one from the manufacturer or at a hardware store. Once again, follow your particular manufacturer’s directions for how to care for the sealing edges of your canner. If you have a dial gauge canner, be sure not to immerse the gauge in water.

Presto Pressure Canner

If you have an aluminum canner and the inner surface is darkened, clean it by filling it above the darkened line with a mixture of 1 tablespoon cream of tartar to each quart of water. Heat the water to a boil and boil, covered, until the dark deposits disappear. Stubborn deposits may require additional cream of tartar. Once deposits are gone, empty the canner, wash it with hot soapy water, rinse, and dry. A hint for reducing the occurrence of these deposits next canning season: add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar to the water in the canner while you process jars.

To absorb moisture and odors, store the canner with clean paper towels in the bottom and around the rack. Rest the lid on the canner upside-down, so that it does not seal and trap moisture. Designate a clean, dry storage area and use boxes, racks, or other organizational accessories to create a food preservation storage center to which you can also add other cleaned equipment and utensils.

Jars, bands, and more

Inventory your jars, checking for chips and breaks. Wash and dry jars and remove any ring bands that may be screwed onto the jars. Wash and dry the ring bands as well, checking for dents and rust. If cared for properly, jars have the potential to last indefinitely, and bands can be used over and over until they rust or get bent. Remember though that flat lids are to be processed in a canner only one time, then discarded (or used creatively for non-canning purposes) after that jar of food is consumed.

Remember too, if you have a dial gauge pressure canner, to mark your calendar now for a time to have your gauge tested in the early spring. Contact your County Extension Agent for information about checking its accuracy. In case it is off by more than 1 pound of pressure, allow enough time to replace the gauge by checking it well in advance of your canning season.

For original source of this information, go to When It’s
Time to Store Canning Supplies…
on the National Center for Home Food Preservation website.

What you can do when you can’t can

Now that you know better than to can nut meats (except for green peanuts), what will you do to preserve those delicious fresh pecans, chestnuts, and other nuts? For ease and satisfaction, freeze!

Here are freezing tips specific to a few different types of nuts:

Chestnuts

Select fully mature chestnuts and slit their shells to prevent exploding during heating. Spread chestnuts in a single layer on a shallow pan and heat in a 400°F oven for 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven, cool, and package in a freezer bag, squeezing out as much air as possible before sealing. If you’d like extra protection, then double-bag with another freezer bag. Put in the freezer.

Pecans

To prevent brittleness while cracking, place nuts in a damp place overnight. Shell the nuts, keeping kernels as whole as possible. Spread in a thin layer to dry for 24 hours, then package in airtight containers and freeze.

Green (raw) Peanuts in the shell

Clean, wash, and rinse fully mature peanuts. Blanch the peanuts in boiling water for 10 minutes. Drain, cool, package in freezer containers then put in the freezer.

Raw peanuts in the shell or out of the shell can also simply be packaged in freezer containers and frozen.

Information in this entry comes from So Easy to Preserve by E.L Andress and J.A. Harrison. (2011). pp. 288-289. Cooperative Extension/University of Georgia.

Whatever happened to canning nut meats?

 

In light of recent research looking at survival of Salmonella bacteria in low moisture foods, our concern has arisen about canning processes for nuts. Even after drying, the nuts may be exposed to moisture during canning processes. Although it is not likely that your particular batch of nuts is contaminated with Salmonella, the risk is present and exposure to moisture could be an issue.

Therefore Cooperative Extension, University of Georgia and the National Center for Home Food Preservation no longer offer a procedure for canning nut meats, with the single exception of our current procedure for green peanuts. USDA canning recommendations are unaffected, as they have no recommendations for canning nuts of any kind.

Alternatively, you can store nuts in sterilized canning jars without putting them through a canning process. To store nuts this way, it’s important that you heat and dry them first. Shell the nuts and spread them in a single layer on baking pans. Then place them in a 250°F oven until they are dry, but not brown or scorched, stirring occasionally. Allow them to cool at room temperature and simply put them in sterilized canning jars, covering with lids and ring bands.

Sterilizing jars provides extra protection against mold spores that could be on the jars. To sterilize jars, submerge them in boiling water for 10 minutes. Remove them from the water and sit them with open end down to allow them completely dry before filling with nuts.

Be aware that with any nuts, rancidity will eventually develop, making the product unappealing though not unsafe. Rancidity occurs in foods when fats or oils are exposed to oxygen over time, causing oxidation which leads to that yucky off-flavor. You might want to buy oxygen absorber packets to put in the jars. They will get rid of some of the oxygen, increasing their shelf-life. These packets are widely used in the food industry in products like bacon bits, jerky, etc.  Multiple sources can be found on the Internet.