On Tue, 10 Aug 2004 12:10:17 +0100, "Rachael of Nex, the Wiccan Rat"
If I understand that you are talking about tomato sauce, then you do
not need a pressure cooker. One cans acidic food like tomatoes and
most jellies and jams, apple butter, fruit pie fillings, crab apples,
etc. in a boiling water bath. All you need is the jars, rings and
lids, and a pot big enough to boil them in. A large cheap ($5.00 ~
2.5 quid) aluminum stock pot bought at a discount store is what I use.
You'll need a rack that fits it (made mine from an old grill, I've
used metal fencing in the past, but do not suggest galvinized
materials). In theory nothing gets into the jars, but still... Also a
pair of jar tongs to move the jars in and out of the hot water. If
your boyfriend is handy he can make something that will do once he has
seen these. However, from a safety standpoint (don't want to drop
those hot jars!) they are worth buying. With this kind of set up,
your canning will pay for itself the first time you do it.
HTH- I love canning, and usually find many people more than willing to
let me pick fruit etc. that is going to waste in their yards.
I hope it works out for you! :-)
Others here say that just a boiling water bath will work
and I'm sure that they are correct for tomatoes since they
are so acidic, but I'm just going by the way mom taught me
to can! <lol> She always used a pressure cooker for everything,
and having it for other things is really nice!
The best yams I ever cooked for Thanksgiving were made in
the pressure cooker! They came out moister and sweeter than
baking, and less messy too. I swore I would cook them that
way forever afterwards. <G> 20 minutes once pressure came up
and they were done perfectly.
On Mon, 9 Aug 2004 12:47:33 +0100, "Rachael of Nex, the Wiccan Rat"
You can often find nice large pressure canners at auctions for VERY reasonable
prices. Sometimes they need new gaskets or something, but often they work fine
as they are. You can also find other canning supplies at auctions, too.
Not a problem for the pressure canners with the weights. ;)
Unless you know exactly how old the pressure canner is, ALWAYS replace the
gasket. Unless you are fond of dents in the ceiling and a decor consisting of
whatever was in the cooker.
Trust me. My one consulation was that it was a rental apartment and I was not
in the kitchen when it happened.....took a lot of spackle to fill the dent in
the ceiling. The top of the stove (where the lid landed) took a lot more work.
I was very, very lucky.
In matters of truth and justice,
there is no difference between large and small problems,
for issues concerning the treatment of people are all the same.
- Albert Einstein
On Sun, 8 Aug 2004 21:37:22 +0100, "Rachael of Nex, the Wiccan Rat"
You might try just getting the sauce to the point where the tomatoes
are boiled down and not adding anything to it before freezing. Once
you're ready to use the sauce, defrost the tomato base and add all the
other ingredients. I have tried it both ways and adding all of the
spices and other ingredients at the time I'm using it seems to result
in a better tasting sauce.
If you are going to purchase a pressure cooker for canning, I suggest
saving until you can purchase a full-size one (meaning for quarts vs
pints). I made the mistake of buying one for pints because it was smaller
and half the price. It was wasted money because it didn't have a *real*
pressure gauge and I was afraid to use the chicken I canned with it not
feeling comfortable with the "keep it dancing" directions for the "gauge."
If you purchase a used one (which I do not recommend), be sure to locate a
facility to test it before buying it so when you buy, you can be certain
the one you buy is in good condition. I remember, as a child, reading the
directions with ours that said dropping one can cause undetectable damage
which can result in an explosion under pressure, which, of course, is why
you use them - to pressure can. As someone else mentioned, the rubber
perhaps should be replaced on a used one (as well as one that has been
owned by self for several years). The dropping thing is always a concern,
but, hopefully, they have been properly handled before they get to us,
especially if we purchase new.
I have canned three of four jars of tomatoes in a stock pot when I didn't
want to waste the water/heat on a full canner. Just be sure to put
something in the bottom of the pan to keep the jars directly off the
bottom of the pan. I used old jar rings. As long as the pan is deep
enough to cover the jars with an inch or two of water, it should be fine.
(Jars have to be upright.) As always, be sure to consult current canning
information, through your local extension agent or FDA.
Now this is one thing I have pondered - I've been doing abit of BWB canning
and I do wonder why the jars have to be upright. Is it something to do with
the vacuum (or at least for what passes as one, as I understand it) that
forms in the jar and it having to be at the top in the same position as one
would store the jar ? I can't think of another reason but I'm sure I'll be
enlightened by someone ? ;-)
Here is a links page with resources for any questions you may have about
canning and food safety:
First of all, the screw bands on jars should only be tightened to fingertip
tightness. In other, words, NOT screwed on tight. If they're too tight, the
jars will explode in the BWB. This has happened to me, and I lost several jars
of cold pack hot peppers.
The boiling water bath serves two purposes:
1. It sterilizes the jars and contents. Always follow recommended times.
2. It allows hot air to escape from the jars, so that when they cool, they seal
properly. If the band is too tight, the air can't escape and the jars explode.
The hot air cannot escape if the jars are not upright. As has been mentioned,
there should be at least an inch of water higher than the jar lids in the bath.
You should be very careful of what you can. If foods are not acidic enough,
even with a boiling water bath, botulism can grow. It's odourless and
tasteless, so you would not know that you are ingesting lethal bacteria. Only
recipes approved for canning should be used. If you're unsure, freeze it
instead of canning it. Why risk death or serious health consequences?
BWB is for acidic foods. Pressure cookers are used to can low acid foods.
Well, my mom used to put peaches and apricots upside down after they set
a seal before taking them to the fair for show. Seems it got rid of the
"juice space" that tends to develop if they are not packed quite tightly
enough, or if she did a cold pack without wilting. She would do cold
packs to preserve color. :-)
The acid has been bred out of many tomoto varieties for at least a
couple of decades. Current canning publications repeat the USDA
recommendations of adding two tablespoons of bottled lemon juice or a
half-teaspoon of citric acid for each quart of tomatoes. If no acid is
added, a pressure canner should be used.
Our friend from the UK should call or visit whatever the UK version of
the agricultural extension service is for their specific guidelines on
I have several volunteer cherry tomoto plants this year that I didn't
weed out. I've never canned cherry tomatoes before but I'll be
experimenting this year. Cherries, incidentally, have a fairly high
Dehydrate! If you have a dehydrator, that is most efficient for doing it.
However, the oven works as well.
Though I use a dehydrator (one of my wisest purchases!), if the weather is
hot/sunny, I set the trays outside in the sun (covered with a sheet,
tucked in as well, to keep out the bugs!) for the initial drying. At the
end of the day, I move the trays to the dehydrator. That cuts down on
both the power used and the heat added to the kitchen.
The advantages of having a dehydrator are many. I did dry zucchini last
week and the chips are fabulous. Now with my *wonderful* (really
wonderful) food processor, I can cut the slices in consistent depths so
everything is ready at the same time which is also an advantage. I even
tried some over-ripe cucumbers . . . not one of my better ideas, but why
not try, after all, the dehydrator was going to be operating anyway.
My problem with tomatoes is that they are so good, I eat half of them
before they get bagged! The same was true with plums as well as bananas
(bananas not home grown).
FYI, my three best kitchen purchases have been the dehydrator, the
vacu-sealer and the food processor . . . totaling changing my eating life
style to the better. Though some $$$ invested (and not all three at once),
I've saved far more than I've spent since buying them as well as eating
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