Friday, 11 December 2009

How I can can

I am trying to do low acid foods, so I can't just water bathe them, which is a bit of a pain.

I had to purchase a pressure canner. I bought a Presto one from eBay for £83 - an amazing BARGAIN as getting it from USA would be about £150 with postage and customs as you cannot buy them in the UK.

So here's how I do it:

1.) Make my tomato sauce
4 tins chopped tomato
5 cloves garlic
1 onion
2 tbsp salt
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp white pepper
1 pint of vegetable stock (from vegetable cooking water or similar)
(if not canning I use 10 tbsp olive oil - pressure canning CANNOT use oil in this recipe as seals cannot be made)
Blend when cooked

2.) cook 1kg cannellini beans (small white - half size of kidney beans) in pressure cooker for 10 mins
3.) combine above in huge Vat
4.) remove hot jars from dishwasher (after hot sterilize cycle)
5.) fill jars with hot beans
6.) centre flat lid on jar and screw down bands
7.) put 3 quarts (6 pints) boiling water in my canner & insert rack for first layer of jars
7.) place jars in pressure canner - (mine fits 20 pint mason jars on 2 layers)
9.) place lid on and ignite burner with weight OFF
10.) bring canner to boil until steam is exhausting from vent hole - Vent for 10 mins
11.) place weight onto vent and bring to pressure (beans - 11psi as I am at sea level here)
12.) when pressure reached, time 'Botulinum Cook' for 90 minutes (specifically for beans) - this is because the product is dense and a heat of 125 Degrees Celsius must be reached for 3 minutes throughout entire jarred product for security.
13.) let pressure subside and then remove jars with jar lifters and set aside to cool
14.) when cool, remove bands and check seals are popped concave and sealed tight.
15.) wash bands and store leaving all jars in dark pantry cupboard until use.
16.) important to store without bands so that if botulinum toxin does grow the seals will readily break letting you know (not necessary with high acid foods/fruits and toms)

The jars I bought today that you can see in the picture are 1 piece lids and jars. They screw down and stay intact, making a hermetic seal on cooling. The important thing with these types of jars is to check for the THUNK at opening. If there is no resistance, then the seal is not intact and could be potentially dangerous.

I think its basically the same, but its a HELL of a lot cheaper than mason jars. We import those, so its immediately more expensive. The replacement lids and bands for cinch seal jars are £6.99 for 12. I bought 40 lids for £3.50 this afternoon which is more my style! HA HA

I will save my mason jars for meats and things I know will be potentially hazardous as Mason jars are the industry standard for pressure canning (hee hee, what a swot I am!), but will use the others for pickles, jams, butters etc.

So, water bathe is practically the same, but its the heat needed. My cousin from California just spent a weekend canning tuna her husband caught. How cool is that. Practically free food!

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