Vegetables and Fruit forum: So I bought a canner

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Name: Wes
Ohio (Zone 6a)
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Wes
Jun 12, 2015 11:45 PM CST
Just a basic water bath type with accessories for $5 at a garage sale. In the past I've only frozen veggies with good results but I've had an interest in canning for a long time and frozen jalapenos are just a little too "raw" for my tastes. It's not the heat, I just prefer the pickled varieties from the grocery. Definitely my preference for pizza, huge difference in the flavor.

Looks pretty easy, so I picked up some jars at Tractor Supply. Obviously I'm going to want to try some tomatoes and salsa. Ball's website had an interesting recipe for pickled cherry tomatoes ("Dilly tomatoes"). I'd like to try a few things once the harvest begins.

One thing I've found via Google is conflicting information and lots of it. For instance one of my first hits on spaghetti sauce explains why you can't can your own. It gets deep fast regarding acid levels for safe canning and in comments gets into Ph and more. Interesting reading but I'm sure I can at least can a good start to a good sauce. Adding ingredients is part of the fun in cooking for me.

Are there any definitive, trustworthy sites or particular books those of you who can use? I realize for a lot of you it's just a learned skill that you acquired growing up but I'm sure there are some novices that might point me in the right direction. My mom still has the basics but with that said she hasn't canned since she married away from her parents farm a few years back, lol. Big Grin

Any leads/assistance much appreciated! Smiling
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GoatDriver
Jun 13, 2015 4:59 AM CST
This book will take care of most of your canning needs....

http://www.amazon.com/Ball-Complete-Book-Home-Preserving/dp/...
Name: Karen
Minnesota (Zone 4a)
Region: Minnesota Garden Art Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Cookies4kids
Jun 13, 2015 5:57 AM CST
I do a lot of canning, and when I want a recipe for something a little different, I do an Internet search. That never lets me down!! I can my own marinara sauce with no problems, but maybe there is something different about spaghetti sauce??
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Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Weedwhacker
Jun 13, 2015 7:56 AM CST
Wes, I've done a fair amount of canning over the years (both water-bath and pressure canning), and I agree with GoatDriver that the Ball canning book is an excellent reference, although my personal favorite is "Putting Food By" http://www.amazon.com/Putting-Food-Fifth-Ruth-Hertzberg-eboo...

Anything acidic is easy to can because the risk of spoilage is much lower. Things like low-acid vegetables (such as beets, carrots, beans) need to be pressure canned to be safe. I believe the problem with canning homemade spaghetti sauce applies to sauce that contains meat, which has a high risk of spoilage. There are a lot of recipes "out there" that use pretty questionable methods of canning, and improperly canned food can contain some pretty nasty organisms -- so, although you could certainly find many people that would disagree with me on this point, I would much rather err on the side of safety and decrease the chance of someone becoming ill from food that I canned. Smiling
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Name: Karen
Minnesota (Zone 4a)
Region: Minnesota Garden Art Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Cookies4kids
Jun 13, 2015 9:19 AM CST
I agree, Sandy, that safety is always the first consideration when canning. I learned to can from my MIL eons ago, and she was the queen of canning in my book. She canned everything in sight for a family of 16, and I doubt she had many failures in the zillions of jars on her basement shelves. I like to try different recipes which I seldom find in the Blue Book, so I resort to asking other avid canners for help. I figure if they are still around to share the recipes. It must have been ok, lol.
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Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
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Shadegardener
Jun 13, 2015 9:31 AM CST
You could continue to freeze the lower acid produce like green beans and learn to can the higher acid produce like tomatoes.
Name: Linda
Carmel, IN (Zone 5a)
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mom2goldens
Jun 13, 2015 6:43 PM CST
You may also want to check your state extension office....they may have some publications on safe canning. As a really paranoid beginner canner, I also rely heavily upon the tried and true Ball canning recipes. Not willing to experiment much at this early stage in my canning.
Name: Wes
Ohio (Zone 6a)
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Wes
Jun 13, 2015 11:28 PM CST
I appreciate all the input! Thumbs up

Info available on the 'net is just too overwhelming from (my) beginner's point of view although I did find a great number of printable labels. Easier to follow the advice of a few ATP members than drive myself crazy reading every article on the web. Old-fashioned I know, but I find books every bit as invaluable as the web.

I'll update with my progress in a couple of months. Smiling
Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
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Bonehead
Jun 15, 2015 4:23 PM CST
Family recipes are great but please double check your processing times with either Ball or your extension folk. They will follow USDA safety guidelines. For mixed products like salsas, you will want to process for the longest time of whatever your ingredients are. I like to use my pressure canner for anything questionable. And be cautious of low acid tomatoes, they often need a splash of lemon juice. Have fun with it.
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Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the first seed swap Region: United States of America Region: Michigan
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Weedwhacker
Jun 15, 2015 6:49 PM CST
Bonehead said:Family recipes are great but please double check your processing times with either Ball or your extension folk. They will follow USDA safety guidelines. For mixed products like salsas, you will want to process for the longest time of whatever your ingredients are. I like to use my pressure canner for anything questionable. And be cautious of low acid tomatoes, they often need a splash of lemon juice. Have fun with it.


Very well put, Deb -- I agree

All of my canned tomato products (regardless of what type of tomato used) get a hit of vinegar or lemon juice.


"Blessed is he who has learned to laugh at himself, for he shall never cease to be entertained."
- John Powell / Cubits.org - A Universe of Communities
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Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Jun 16, 2015 7:52 AM CST
How much vinegar or lemon juice do you all use for tomato canning?
Name: Wes
Ohio (Zone 6a)
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Wes
Jun 17, 2015 3:36 AM CST
Shadegardener said:How much vinegar or lemon juice do you all use for tomato canning?


Listening, and thanks Deb!

Equipment, tools, and time to prepare. I'm reading all I can before "I can". "Once" will get me going.

I just wanna preserve for home use, different recipe ingredients. I come from a family of pig farmers and coal miners.
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Name: Karen
Minnesota (Zone 4a)
Region: Minnesota Garden Art Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Cookies4kids
Jun 17, 2015 5:13 AM CST
Wes when you decide on some favorite recipes, I hope you will share them with us . It's always fun to find something new that you really like. I have always made the sliced refrigerator pickles, and last year I tried one of Emmeril Lagasses recipes . They were way better than my old "favorite" so they will be on my list again.
Happiness is doing for those who cannot do for themselves.

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