be afraid


Posted on November 26, 2010 at 5:05 pm

Ah, Thanksgiving. One of the leading causes of leftovers along with Christmas! But leftovers is where the home canner can really shine.

The turkey carcass? Boil it up to make a bone stock and put the squeeze on it. Same with the leftover veggies, you can put them up for later use. You could add some of your freshly made stock to make the vegetables into a rich and nutritious soup. Put that soup on the shelves for later in the year when you can’t be bothered cooking, or even when you are ill.

Got a ham? What are you waiting for – boil those bones and make a stock – then pressure can that bad boy! Yes, even things like Collard or Mustard Greens which are frequently made with pork stock or bacon can be canned.

What about all these lovely buttery, creamy sauces? Can you can them? The answer, sadly, is a categorical NO. Dairy products can’t be canned in any way that the USDA deems “safe”. If you have some butter or cream or milk in there, please don’t even take the chance – freeze it, and avoid that whole “dying from botulism” thing. That’s a once in a lifetime experience of suck!

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A word on food safety

Posted on January 4, 2010 at 9:41 am

So your vegetable garden didn’t do so well. You only got a measly few quarts of home grown veggies to put by. Now it’s the depths of winter and you need some summer veg to make a nice stew. But, oh no! There’s some mold on there! Oh, well, you can just scrape it off, right?

STOP. Stop right there.

Even foods which are considered acidic enough to not need a pressure canning experience – such as tomatoes with added lemon juice or citric acid – can become perilously high in pH if mold grows in there.

Why is the acidity and a proper seal so important? Because if the acidity falls too low, Clostridium botulinum will grow in there. C. Botulinum is the bacterium that produces the botulinum toxin as part of its metabolism. This is what causes the deadly illness called botulism. If you come down with botulism and do not receive immediate emergency medical care including artificial respiration, there’s around a 70% fatality rate.

If your preserved food shows any signs of not being preserved properly – mold, bulging lids, bad smell, sliminess – immediately destroy the food such that it cannot be eaten by humans or animals – give it a hard boil for 15 minutes, then flush it down the toilet.

Whatever you do, do not take any chances with your health or the health of any loved ones (human/furry/feathered/scaled). It really is not worth it.

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