I Need to Learn about Canning

Discussion in 'Canning & Storage' started by rabbithutch, Sep 27, 2016.

  1. rabbithutch

    rabbithutch Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Although the smoker wasn't involved, I spent an afternoon in the kitchen today. I boiled 2 whole chickens, added a couple of pounds of pulled pork smoked a few weeks ago, and made between 4 and 5 gallons of Georgia Style Brunswick stew. In addition to the meat and chicken stock it contains whole stewed tomatoes, whole kernel corn, shoe-peg corn, lima beans (growing up in the South, I call them butter beans), potatoes, and a small amount of mirepoix plus barbecue sauce, Worcestershire, ketchup, coarse ground black pepper, salt, dried red pepper flakes and about a cup of Sriracha sauce. I list all the ingredients because I really need to learn how to put this stuff up. I thought I'd use quart-size Mason jars.

    When I was small kid - in the 40s- my dad raised a big garden and when things came in big several neighbor families would get together and can vegetables. I remember corn, okra, tomatoes, green beans, butter beans and squash. The problem is I was too young to pay much attention therefore learned nothing about the process. I do remember they made a big deal of boiling the jars and lids before filling them, but I don't know anything about the process from there. I recall in one of the deep dark recesses of my brain that special care has to taken with anything that has tomatoes in it. I'm not sure why but something about an acidic process creating something bad, comes to mind.

    Can anyone here point me in the right direction to learn about canning this stew?

  2. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Dave Omak has some great info and is knowledgeable on the subject. I too have been doing some research on the subject for future garden preservation...JJ
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2016
  3. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Hey RH..... Canning is "fun" to do...  You know what you got when done....     

    Do you have a pressure canner ???    What size ???    How many quart jars will it hold ???   What heat source you got... gas... electric...
  4. rabbithutch

    rabbithutch Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Howdy, Dave!

    I do not have a pressure canner. I have an electric stove but I've got a propane 2 burner outdoor stove.

    I did some looking around at pressure canners - which I think is what I need for a pork and chicken stew with veggies - and can't see my way to buying in just for this batch. As we don't have a garden, more canning is unlikely any time soon.

    Are there reasonable alternatives to pressure canners?
  5. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    No alternative....  must be a pressure canner....  

    I bought an All American Canner 38 years ago...    Top of the line American made thing...    Still using it...   In fact, I found one at a garage sale that was older than mine...  probably 50 years old...   Cleaned it up and the daughter has it...

    Well, think about what your long term plans are...  Want to teach kids, grandkids how to do stuff ??  The propane camp stove should work fine for controlling the cooking time stage...  A very finely adjustable flame sure helps to keep the temperature even...  Fluctuating temps causes pressure changes inside the canner and jars... You can preheat on the stove...  that works fine...   I've seen folks can on electric stove tops...  Depending on the model stove, she had to stand there turning the electric burner up and down... up and down, to keep the pressure as constant as she could...   PITA but doable....

    You may be surprised at all the stuff you can pressure can....  vegetables, meats, fish, oyster, dinner....    I used to can elk meat, potatoes, carrots etc... then on a hunting or fishing trip, throw the meat, veggies etc. into a pot and instant awesome dinner....  I smoked some oysters when relatives were here...  smoked up 5-6 bushels on the big brick smoker/BBQ....  Had a bunch left over....  I canned them in 1/2 pint jars with some peanut oil in the jars....  they were so awesome...  better than any store bought...  home smoked salmon or tuna is sooo good....  I used to fish out of Newport Oregon....   caught halibut, salmon and albacore tuna... canned it all....   That tuna was NOTHING like tuna in a can from the store...

    If you live in an area that has a fishing fleet, sometimes you can walk the dock and buy fish at half price or less...  when tuna fishing was slow, we bought tuna at the dock for $2 / pound...   that was a few years back but the same deal applies...

    We canned Dungeness crab...   I walked down the dock during crab season with an empty ice chest...  talked to a crabber and he had his live well full....   I asked him if he would sell me $100 worth of crab....   handed him the cooler and stood back....   he had just sold crab to some other folks for $5 apiece live....   he put 37 crab in my cooler for $100....   I never asked the price before hand...   just explained I'd like what ever he could afford to sell.....   We used to glean the carrot fields the canneries had planted...  the best carrots I ever ate... they were about 3-4" in diameter and 12" long... over 1# each....   they were sweet and delish...  what we didn't bake, we canned....   some were cut in half from the harvester but they still ate good.... 

    Hey, you can run into all kinds of deals....  with a canner, you've got a way to preserve it and get it cheap...  during the summer, I'd wash jars the night before in the dishwasher.. and have them ready for the next night....  get home and preheat the canner on the stove while I went out in the garden and pick out the veggies to can ...   pack the jars and put them in the canner...  I had a TV in the kitchen and watched baseball and kept an eye on the canner...  even drank a cold one...  In about 2 hours, the veggies were done....    kept me out of the bars... and I had great food...

    Holey krap....  quite the story huh....   anywho, think about the possibilities...   It's time consuming but rewarding....   I'm here to help....

  6. betaboy

    betaboy Meat Mopper

    If all you're doing is veggies, you can do "water bath canning". Its the only kind of canning my mother ever did for our tomatoes and other garden produce. Green beans always got frozen though.

    Sorry for lack of detail but I have to be heading out. Good luck!
  7. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    A great resource is your counties local extension office. They will be able to tell you specific pressures and times for pressure canning in your area. With water bath V you really need to stick to the tried and true recipes, as acidity is very important.

    With pressure. Among you are more free to experiment with meats, veggies, etc. I too was in the ocean fishing industry for most my youth. We pressure canned everything. As Dave said, the tuna is nothing like what you get in the store. We still buy 100+ pounds every other year to can. We try and keep a 4 year supply. As it ages it gets better. Nothing in the jars but tuna. Same goes for salmon. Good stuff.

    The American canner is the top of the line. It will cost you more up front, but it will
    Last a lifetime.
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2016
  8. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    RH, morning.....  You will find misinformation in a lot of places...  Please verify "home canning techniques" before you proceed...   Below is an example of home grown veggies and how to can potatoes correctly and why.....


    Vegetables and Herbs


    Avoid Botulism: Do Not Can Potatoes in a Hot Boiling Water Bath Canner

    Suzanne Driessen

    Potatoes are a popular low-acid vegetable grown in Minnesota gardens. Canning potatoes for later use is popular, but so are outdated and risky recipes. Be sure to use current recommended tested recipes to insure a safe product.

    Do not can potatoes in a hot boiling water bath canner. Pressure canning is the only safe method of canning low-acid foods like vegetables, meats, poultry and seafood. Clostridium botulinum bacteria are the main reason why these low-acid foods must be pressure canned to be safe. The spores of Clostridium botulinium can only be killed at temperatures of 240 degrees F. This temperature can only be reached in a pressure canner.

    How to Can Potatoes:

    1. Wash and peel potatoes. Place in ascorbic acid solution to prevent darkening. Drain.
    2. Place potatoes in a pan of hot water, bring to a boil and boil whole potatoes for 10 minutes; ½- inch cubes for 2 minutes.
    3. Drain. If desired, add salt: 1/2 teaspoon per pint and 1 teaspoon per quart.
    4. Fill jars with hot potatoes.
    5. Cover hot potatoes with FRESH boiling water, leave one-inch headspace. Caution: Do not use the water you cooked the potatoes in; it contains too much starch.
    6. Process in a Dial Gauge Pressure Canner at 11 pounds pressure or in a weighted gauge pressure canner at 15 pounds pressure. Process pints for 35 minutes and quarts for 40 minutes.
    Revised by Suzanne Driessen 2016
    grillard likes this.
  9. rabbithutch

    rabbithutch Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Thanks for the information, guys! I've taken it to heart.

    Because I don't have a pressure canner nor access to one, I guess this stew will have to go in the reefer instead of being canned for regular shelf storage. That will limit how long I'd keep it, of course.

    I read that the rule of thumb is that it's OK to can high acid foods in a water bath and that low acid foods require pressure canning. I don't have enough knowledge to use that; so I'd check online sources - including you guys - before canning anything. I might just give a try to making some jelly later.

    I've starting watching CL for pressure canners but haven't found one I can afford yet. Probably the wrong time of year, but I'll keep looking.

    Again, thanks for the information.
  10. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Freeze it. We vac pack soup and stew all the time. Place the soup or stew in your vac pack bag. Close bag with a binder clip or something temporary. Put in freezer. Once frozen remove bag and vac pack. You can reheat the whole bag in a pot of simmering water (great when camping). Or thaw and pour into pot and reheat. We do this with soups, stock, broth, stew, etc. you can also freeze in jars also. Don't fill completely full, place lid on and freeze. Vac packed soups keep for over a year in the freezer.
    bdskelly likes this.
  11. rabbithutch

    rabbithutch Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Thanks, guys!!!!

    From what I've read, a rule of thumb is that high acid foods can be done in a water bath and low acid foods require a pressure bath to get temps to 240° F. Because it's a 'rule of thumb' I would check canning guides before canning any food until I gained a lot of experience; so it's a good thing that we have the Internet as a source of information and as a place to learn from folks.

    I've started watching CL for pressure canners.

    I watched videos on the Ball-Mason web page and got a bit confused at lids and rings and tops. I have a couple dozen of their jars in different sizes. They all have the separate lid with a rubber cushion on the edge and the tightening ring. What got me confused was that they actually showed what appears to be a newer version of the old-fashioned rubber gasket sealing ring. I couldn't find any information on their site or elsewhere that explained when each product should be used. I thought the old gasket sealing technology was long gone. All I see in the stores is the 2-part metal ring and flat lid. I did see what appears to be 1-part lids used on some of their screens; so it seems the options are 1-part lids, 2-part lids and screw top rings, and the old gasket that would go under a solid lid.

    Can one of you tell me about when each would be used?

    Again, thanks for the information.
  12. tropics

    tropics Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Hutch I think the one piece lids are used for resealing jars. I could be wrong so I hope someone with more experience will come along

  13. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    I agree with Case...Freeze and Vac-pac what you have, will be good for about 12 months tops. You can then learn/save toward getting and using canning equipment. The All American, new, start at $200 not cheap but that is a once and done and your Grandkids will be able to use it...JJ
  14. rabbithutch

    rabbithutch Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Great suggestion, Case!

    Can you hear the sound of my palm slapping my forehead while I'm saying, "Now why didn't I thing of that?"

    I've got a box of binder clips that will be perfect!

    Thank you, Sir!!!!
  15. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Yes this is the way Grandma and Mom did it but times and knowledge has changed and the " Boiling Only Water Bath Canning " is not considered Safe for low acid Vegetables, Soups and Stews. Botulism is nothing to fool around with and the ONLY reason more of the older generations did not get sick was, Grandma Cooked everything to death and Botulinum Toxin is inactivated by Cooking. Open a jar of water bath veggies and eat raw like in a salad and you may very well need a trip to an ER...If you are still alive!  

    Kind of like SALT ONLY Curing meat. Yeah it was done for generations but we KNOW using Nitrite/Nitrate Cure is safer...JJ 
    grillard likes this.
  16. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Ive had this page of the American Pressure Cooker bookmarked for quite sometime now. For canning I wouldn't go any smaller than the 30 qt. model. When we can tuna, we use 3 canners (Presto) at a time. You have to let the canner cool down and release all pressure prior to opening. If you don't you'll risk breaking the jars.

    For lids, you need the bands and lids, not the one piece lids. For jams and jellies the one piece lids used to be used. Parrifn wax (or something similar)  would be melted onto the top of the jelly then the jar lid went on. I haven't seen that method used in a longtime. Both my mom and grandmothers used to do that years ago. But now its all done with the band style lids.

    Back to the vac pack and freeze thing. I have been buying the Ultra bags from Lisa and I am getting longer freezer life out of them than I used to with the other brands I was using. Just pulled out tomato sauce that was in the back of the freezer. It was from two years ago. tasted just fine. Zero freezer burn.
  17. rabbithutch

    rabbithutch Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    We used to use the parafin wax on top of jams and jellies back in the 50s, too. If you talked about canning, the second thin my mother did - after checking her jars and lids - was to send me to get parafin wax. I noticed that they still have it in our stores near the extra tops and bands. I buy it sometimes to wax drawer runners when I'm out of beeswax.

    The couple rolls I bought from Lisa are the ultra bags. I haven't used any yet, but it looks like I'm about to.
  18. betaboy

    betaboy Meat Mopper

    Don't get me wrong, I know all about botulism (probably why I don't can anything). Just offering a suggesting to look into depending on what is being canned before I had to head out the door, looks like I overlooked the OP saying it was a stew. Mom water bath canned tomatoes (that would be added to a dish to cook again) and would always make jams and applesauce and so on. Never any meat, potatoes.

    All of my taters and onions, carrots and parsnips go in the cellar, beans, peppers are blanched and frozen.
  19. rabbithutch

    rabbithutch Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Follow Up:

    Following Case's suggestion, I put all the Brunswick Stew in vacuum seal bags and used the binder clips to close them, put it in the freezer, then brought them all back out for vacuum and sealing.

    We ate a bit of it that I didn't measure, but I'm guessing that we go about 25 pints . . . maybe more. It will be nice to be able to pull them out and put them in a pot of boiling water when the weather turns frosty.

    Thanks again for the suggestion, Case!

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