Tag Archives | canning questions

Canning Questions, Communities, and Social Media

plate of tomatoes

We’ve hit that point of the summer when the number of canning questions arriving in my inbox each day is outstripping my ability to answer them in a timely manner. I hate that it can sometimes take me up to a week to answer your questions and so I’ve been searching around, trying to find a good solution.

It used to be that the Food in Jars Facebook page was a good way to the readers of the this site to engage with one another and get answers from a community of canners. However, Facebook has evolved in a way that has made it harder to use it in that manner.

Recently, Google Plus introduced Google Communities and it appears to be just the sort of thing I’ve been looking for. So I’ve created a little FiJ community and I’m throwing open the doors, in the hopes that it might just be a good place for ask questions, get answers, and share some favorite recipes. I’m hoping some of you will join me over there and help turn it into a vibrant place for conversation.

While we’re talking social media, don’t forget that you can also find me on FlickrTwitterPinterestInstagram, and Tumblr if you’re so inclined.

Finally, I’m headed to Boston tomorrow for three classes and a canning demo. There are still spots available in my dilly bean class tomorrow night (6-8 pm) at MassHORT as well as my Saturday morning jam and pickle class at Create a Cook. For those of you on a budget, I’m doing a free demo on Friday afternoon at  at the Hudson Public Library in Hudson, MA. The demo starts at 2 pm.

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Some Canning Questions/Answers

cranberry apple jam

More than three weeks ago, I asked for your burning canning questions. I intended to be a good canning blogger/teacher and respond right away to those queries, but then life intervened and I’m only now finally circling back around to get you some answers. So here we go…

Jewel asks: I have a few sauce, chutney, and jam recipes that are not specifically meant to be canned, but that I would love to put up. In most cases I believe that the sugar content is high enough for water bath canning, but I want to be safe. Is there a way to tell if a recipe is appropriate for canning? Can you point me in the right direction?

Answer: The best way to determine if your recipes are safe to canning is to look for comparable recipes that have been designed to be canned and determine from there whether the proportions of fruit, sugar and vinegar (in the case of chutneys) are similar to your recipes. I know I always mention it, but my favorite volume for this type of comparison research is So Easy to Preserve.

If you can’t find a similar recipe but are determined to water bath process your recipes, Steve Dowdney includes instructions in his book Putting Up that can walk you through the steps of checking the pH level in your product, in order to determine whether they’ll be safe for water bath processing.

Deb asks: I made applesauce recently. All the jars sealed very well, in a couple the applesauce came up and out of the jar a bit before sealing. I imagine there is applesauce caught in the lid seal area. I can pick the jars up by the lid edge, so they are very tight, but are they really ok?

Answer: It is totally normal to have some siphoning (the technical canning word for when some of the contents of the jars seeps out during processing) with applesauce. However, as long as the jars seal post-processing, they are still safe and shelf-stable. When filling the jars, make sure that you leave 1/2 to 3/4 an inch of headspace, as it will help prevent the siphoning, but rest assured that your applesauce will be perfectly safe for storage in your pantry (or, in my case, the back of my coat closet).

Tracy asks: Tiny bubbles appeared in my applesauce a day or so after canning. Is this normal?

Answer: Yep, totally. I also find that I get tiny bubbles in my processed sauerkraut and in less juicy whole tomatoes.

More q&a after the jump…

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How to Check That Your Seal is Good

concave lids
I got a question tonight from a reader of this blog about seal quality and as I was writing her back, I realized that there may be more of you out there who could benefit from a brief seal-testing tutorial.

When it comes to canning, sometimes you miss the pinging sound that gives you auditory confirmation that your jars have sealed. Just because you didn’t hear it doesn’t mean that the jars didn’t seal. Here are some ways to test….

  1. Press down on the center of the lid. Does it move up and down or does it feel solid and concave? Solid and concave means a good seal, movement means no seal.
  2. Tap on the lid. Does it sound tinny or hollow? Tinny means sealed, hollow means poor or no seal.
  3. Unscrew the band you used to hold the lid in place during processing. Now attempt to pick your jar up holding onto nothing but the lid. If you have a good seal, you should be able to do this easily. You’ll know pretty much right away when you remove the band whether your seal is good.

How else do you guys check your seals? And, while I’m answering questions, who else has got one?

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Taking Canning Questions at The Kitchn

pint of Seckel pears

For those of you who regularly read The Kitchn, Apartment Therapy’s food-focused blogging wing, you might have noticed my smiling face over there late last week. That’s because all this week, I’m going to be dropping in on Faith, Sara Kate, Dana, Kathryn and the rest of The Kitchn crew to answer the questions their readers have about canning. The Kitchn is one of my favorite food blogs, so I’m totally delighted to be talking about canning with their lovely community.

If you’ve got a canning question and you’ve felt shy about asking it here, feel free to hop over there and leave a note. I’ll do my best to reply!

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