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Preserving Foods #10: My Tips & Tricks re: Pressure Canning

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Blog entry by MsDebbieP posted 10-07-2012 04:18 AM 3135 reads 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 9: Pressure Canning - Take 3 Part 10 of Preserving Foods series Part 11: Food Storage - Vacuum Pump »

I have now used the pressure canner three times and I wanted to record the little tips that I have learned through reading and through experience.

(Edited Addition: Purchase the meat etc at the end of the week so canning can be done on the weekend when the cost of electricity is the cheapest – Ontario, Canada)

Preparing the Canner
1. Check the valve to ensure that it is not blocked… can you see through it?
2. Check the gasket. (The “All American” style doesn’t have a physical gasket so you create it by wiping a bit of olive oil along the top of the pot, where it starts to curve outward to hold the lid.)
3. Add water … about 3” deep (that’s the length of my finger)... and add vinegar to prevent mineral buildup on the jars.
4. If you are filling the canner with hot jars, heat the water in the canner so that the jars won’t crack. If the contents of the jars will be cold, don’t heat the water yet. (Note: for hot water, I use water from sterilizing the jars.)
  • Note: adding the boiling water to raw meat will not heat the jar up so treat it as a “cold” jar.
Preparing the Jars
1. Clean the jars. (Somewhere I read that you don’t have to sterilize them as the cooking will be doing this.) Use your own judgement on this.
  • Note: wide-mouth jars are imperative for canning meat—you want to be able to get the stuff back out!
  • Tip: if you sterilize the jars in a “water bath” container, add vinegar to the water so mineral deposits aren’t left on the jar. After sterilizing, the water can be used in the pressure canner AND if you save the water til the next day it can be used to clean the jars before storing.

2. Keep them warm until ready to fill. (Note: my sink holds, (just), 14 pints – the capacity of my canner. I put the jars there and fill them with boiling water.
3. The snap lids need to be hot to relax the sealant… but do not boil.
4. Have the jar lids, snap lids, and canning tools in your “filling” location.
5. I then fill my second sink with a bleach/water solution. This makes it handy for a quick cleaning of any tools that I happen to drop or a quick cleaning of hands as needed. Don’t know what difference this makes but it seems like a good idea.

Preparing the Food
1. My canner holds 14 pints (wide mouth).
  • That is about 14 lbs (6.3 kg) of meat
  • 10 lbs (4.53kg / 160 oz) of beans (for 2/3 c per pint)
2. Disinfect your work area and tools – especially when working with meat.
3. Fill the jars with contents as per recipe requirements
  • Note: Meat: stuff it in the jars and fill with boiling water/broth. Leave 1” headspace (below the rings).. and more if the contents if fatty. It will not hold much water.
  • Use a non-metallic tool to poke around the contents, letting out as much air/ bubbles as possible.
Prepare for Canning
1. Wipe the jar lid clean. (Use a cloth dipped in water/vinegar mix. The vinegar helps cut through oils etc.)
2. Add lid and finger tighten …. not too loose, not too tight… do it “just right”. (NOTE: if you are using the Tattler lids, sit the jar on a cloth and put the lid on with one hand.. when the jar starts to spin then it is tight enough)
3. Place jars in the canner.
  • Note: if you don’t have enough jars filled, to fill the canner row, add jars of water, with just the lids (not snap rings) to fill the empty spaces. This prevents the jars from jumping around and potentially breaking.
The Canning
1. Follow the canner directions, safety, and recipe directions carefully.
  • Note: never get too confident with this. Focus on doing it properly.
2. Maintaining the pressure
  • bring the water to a boil and let the steam escape for 10 minutes.
  • now add the weight/cap to bring up the pressure
  • when the desired pressure has been reached, start the timer
  • adjust the heat source to maintain the correct pressure. I find that I need to slowly lower the temperature on my electric stove, eventually ending up at “6” to keep at 10 psi pressure.
  • when the time is up, turn off the heat. That’s it.
  • when the pressure is absolutely “0” remove the lid, carefully, letting the heat move away from your body and water drip into the pot

The Cooling
1. a good cooling system is a wire baking rack covered with a towel. The towel not only absorbs the water from the jars but it also creates a soft buffer for the jars
2. carefully remove each jar, ensuring you don’t bump them around—we don’t want any cracking! (NOTE: if using the Tattler lids, tighten the lids at this point)
3. place the still-boiling jars onto the cooling area. (If using the Tattler reusable lids, tighten them at this point.)
4. let the jars sit for 24 hours.

Storing
1. First … check the snap lids. Have they sealed securely?
2. Wash the jars off with hot soapy water to remove any food residue – we don’t want to attract pests
3. Label the jars
  • Contents
  • Date
  • Batch number—you want to know this in case one is bad when you open it. You will know which other jars to keep an eye on.

4. Store in a cool/dry/dark location.

Post Canning
1. When you start running low on something start looking for those big savings so you can get stocked back up!
2. Enjoy your meals.

More Tips (edited 2013)
This information is from a University/Agriculture website re: food preservation
1. if you are processing the canned food for more than 10 minutes you do not need to sterilize the jars first (have them hot and washed well .. you don’t want to put cold jars into hot water or put hot food into cold jars)
2. if you are making juice using a steamer, you do not need to do the hot water bath afterwards as the steamed juice is hotter than boiled juice

GATEWAYS
This is a GATEWAY to everything posted at GardenTenders.com tagged as “PRESSURE CANNING”

Feel free to add any info (technical or practical) here as well.

 

-PLANT INFO MASTER LIST http://gardentenders.com/topics/1678

-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)



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MsDebbieP

14694 posts in 3873 days
hardiness zone 5b

gardening is a journey, a journey of learning how to connect with and support Mother Nature

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9 comments so far

View Bon's profile

Bon

7374 posts in 3653 days
hardiness zone 5a

posted 10-07-2012 05:59 AM

I like the idea of canning meat.What meats have you tried canning so far Debbie.

-- Bon,Hastings,Ont.....zone 5a....Always room for one more

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

14694 posts in 3873 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 10-07-2012 06:21 AM

I did peameal bacon, smoked ham, and the pork tenderloin.
Haven’t opened a jar yet, though…. hope they turn out ok.

-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)

View Iris43's profile

Iris43

3811 posts in 3502 days
hardiness zone 5a

posted 10-07-2012 06:37 AM

Very good, MsDeb. You have careful and helpful advice. I am enjoying your tutorial…..almost as much as you are going to enjoy the delicious recipes you can make and eat from all this careful food processing. ‘Winter come on and do your worst! MsDeb is ready for you!’ LOL

I know you are going to be surprised at the flavour your have captured.

-- 'To plant a Garden is to believe in Tomorrow'

View Bon's profile

Bon

7374 posts in 3653 days
hardiness zone 5a

posted 10-07-2012 06:42 AM

I have had canned deer & moose meat and it was absolutley delicious.Hope yours tastes great too.

-- Bon,Hastings,Ont.....zone 5a....Always room for one more

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

14694 posts in 3873 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 10-07-2012 08:01 AM

I can’t wait to try the pork tenderloin with some barbeque sauce ..

-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)

View sharad's profile

sharad

1671 posts in 3090 days
hardiness zone 11

posted 10-07-2012 08:18 AM

Debbie, your systematic description of the canning process is admirable. You have not left any point. How long do you guess these canned products should last without any deterioration in taste, color and texture?

Sharad

-- Bagwan-- “If someone feels that they had never made a mistake in their life, then it means they have never tried a new thing in their life”.-Albert Einstein

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

14694 posts in 3873 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 10-07-2012 10:40 AM

I’ve read that bacon will keep for 8-10 years.
I’ve also read that meat will keep 6 months, 1 year, 2 years…

My goal is for it to keep until the next really good sale comes along and I can do it all over again :D

-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

14694 posts in 3873 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 08-06-2013 05:07 PM

free books for canning food http://jubilee101.com/subscription/food-preservation-books/

-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

14694 posts in 3873 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 08-10-2013 06:02 AM

I have used the tattler reusable lids now and they are great.
A great tip for putting on the lids is put the jar on a cloth and tighten the lid with one hand. When the jar spins it is ready to go into the canner. After canning, when you remove the jar from the canner THEN you tighten the lid.

-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)

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