If you are like many canning beginners you are likely to find yourself running a Google search for recipes and how-to-guides. Sadly – and I know its hard to believe – Google doesn’t know everything! From one well practiced canner to a novice, let me share with you some good advice.
Get your hands on a Ball Blue Book and get educated about proper canning methods and safe recipes. Don’t guess, don’t Google and certainly don’t wing it. Botulism is no joke.
First things first, you want to can foods safely. By not using proper methods you risk losing all the hard work and money you’ve put into food preservation. Not only that, you could also lose your life or sicken loved ones with botulism if you don’t know what you are doing. Just because Grandma or Mom used to process foods a certain way doesn’t mean they are safe.
One rule of thumb to consider is whether your foods are acidic (4.6 pH) or alkaline. Foods such as pickles processed with vinegar, acidic tomatoes, juices, high sugar fruit jams or jellies are typically considered acidic. These items can be processed in a hot water bath canner.
Alkaline foods such as green beans, corn, broths or stock, beets and other items containing no vinegars or acidifiers must be processed in a pressure canner with a PSI gauge. Furthermore, pressure cookers are NOT pressure canners. Most electronic cookers do not have the ability to hold steady pressures required for food preservation.
With more and more folks turning to canning and preserving due to COVID19, I can’t tell you how many stories I’ve read on public Facebook forums and posts. I’ve previously blogged about this in The Horrors: Improper Canning and Preserving but I felt the need recently to put a few more links and comments into digital space.