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Glimpse of Yesteryear
October 31, 2013 by karen | No Comments

By Jacquie Foote As we have seen, canning waxed and waned during the 20th century, losing popularity as cities grew in the early 1900s, gaining…

By Jacquie Foote

As we have seen, canning waxed and waned during the 20th century, losing popularity as cities grew in the early 1900s, gaining it back during World War I, the Great Depression and World War II, losing it again in the ’50s, gaining it in the 70s and then losing it again in the 80s and 90s.

Now, in the second decade of the 21st century, once again, home canning is on the rise (another economic downturn is likely the cause) and treasured family recipes and canning tricks are being shared by those who, wisely, have nurtured the skill. So, naturally, the federal government has come out with some new guidelines for home canners.

Four major guidelines are:

The open kettle method is not recommended for it presents a serious food safety hazard.*

All high acid foods should be processed in a hot water bath canner.

All low acid foods should be processed in a pressure canner.

Oven canning should be avoided as oven temperatures vary too much.

The National Home Canning center, a partnership between the USDA and University of Georgia, provides a list of things one should not can at home. (Commercial canning equipment often hits high temperatures that home canning equipment cannot match and operates in a sterile environment. It includes lab testing of representative homogenized batch samples for pathogens, also not available to home canners.)

The NHCC no-no canning list includes:

Herbs or vegetables in oil or oil infusions. (Instead, make flavored vinegars.)

Canned breads.

Canned chocolate sauces and fudge sauces. (Neither the USDA nor its partners in the land-grant university-based Cooperative Extension System have found safe tested recipes for these products.)

Pumpkin butter

Canned gifts made in decorative, untested jars. Only use recommended jars and lids.

The USDA says that it is not a good idea to use canning recipes from before the mid-1990s. Many recipes passed down through the years or found in older cookbooks do not include instructions for processing. There is fear that the people using these older recipes will simply can them by the open kettle method, seal and store. The USDA feels that foods prepared in this manner present a serious health risk, particularly low acid foods. Remember, high acid foods should be processed in a hot water canner. Low acid foods should be processed in a pressure canner. For processing times, consult recipes that give processing times or see federal guidelines.

* In open kettle canning, food is cooked in an ordinary kettle, then packed into hot jars and sealed without processing. The temperatures obtained in open kettle canning are not high enough to destroy all spoilage and food poisoning organisms that may be in the food. Also, microorganisms can enter the food when it is transferred from the kettle to jar and cause spoilage.

For information on the events at the Geauga County Historical Society’s Burton Century Village Museum, call 440-834-1492 or visit www.geauga

historical.org.

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