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Canning/bottling challenged  RSS feed

 
Charli Wilson
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Location: Derbyshire, UK
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Bottling/canning really confuses me! I think partly because the vocabulary between the UK and the US is different (I think what in the US is called canning, is bottling here in the UK), and things like pressure-canners don't exist here. I've also no idea what a mason jar is.. I don't know if we have them, or call them something different.

Can anyone give me a complete dummies-guide to trying to bottle/can raspberries? My past attempts have always gone mouldy.

I have a massive stock pot, I have clip-top glass jars and some screw-top balls preserving jars.

Charli
 
James Freyr
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Location: Middle Tennessee
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Hi Charli! I think I can help a little bit. Those Ball preserving jars you have are mason jars. Mason is a brand of jar, but the word mason has become a term for all canning jars, kinda like in america we use the word Kleenex for a tissue, though kleenex is a brand.

The one critical thing to successful canning with Ball (or Kerr or any other brand) is you have to use new lids every time. The rings can be reused many times. New lids are cheap, and it's not worth the risk of trying to reuse lids to save money and end up in the hospital with  food borne illnesses, including but not limited to botulism.

The key to safe canning that won't make people sick is to follow the guidelines on canning time. It varies depending on the kind of food being preserved, and your altitude above sea level. Another key is acidity. Often recipes require adding lemon juice or citric acid for example, to get the pH of the food in the jar low enough so nasties won't grow and make people sick. Here's a link to Ball's preserving site with some pdf's on how to can.

Pressure canning is different than water bath. Pressure canning is needed to can things like meat for example. The pressure inside the vessel will raise the boiling point of the water inside to 240 Fahrenheit (or about 115 celsius) or higher, necessary for safe preserving of certain foods.

With your massive stock pot, you're ready to do water bath canning. Maybe you need a few tools like the thing that safely grabs the full jars to remove them from the bath when the processing time is over. Let me know if you have more questions and I will do my best to help!
 
Charli Wilson
Posts: 314
Location: Derbyshire, UK
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I've borrowed a jam funnel, and a jar-holdery device! And I have 2kg of raspberries and wineberries to try this on.

First batch:
I've made sugar syrup- 250g of granulated sugar to 600ml of water

But.. how do you stop the fruit floating! I put the fruit into steralised jars, pouring hot syrup over.. and the fruit floated! The cans are in the water bath now, does it matter if they don't sink?
 
James Freyr
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I would think it does not matter if the berries don't sink, but don't take my word for it. The science part of my brain says "well, they're in the canner being exposed to high temps so all the undesirable microbes are being killed so all should be well". I don't know if those submerged in syrup will end up with a different texture or not as compared to the ones floating. So on the subject of produce being buoyant in their jars, my wife likes to make refrigerator pickles and pepperoncini's because they don't lose their crunch. We've so far been unable to heat process pickles and pepperoncini's that don't turn into floppy rubber things. We discovered last year making delicious crunchy pepperoncini's that they like to float (even after being pricked with a knife) and the ones that don't get submerged in the vinegar & spice solution don't turn out right, in fact developing little mold spots since they're not in contact with the vinegar, so my wife did some research on the interwebs and discovered these nifty inventions. They work great for keeping things submerged, and are suitable for heat processing, and my favorite part, are made of glass and are therefore inert and won't leach toxic ickiness into our food.
 
Stacy Witscher
Posts: 128
Location: SF Bay Area
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Hi Charli, fruit will often float in syrup, the parts above the syrup can mold, but mostly I've found that they just discolor and sometimes the texture is a little off. 

James - I've had the best luck keeping pickles crunchy utilizing the low temperature pasteurization method. It's a little more fussy, but I do like a crisp pickle. I do half of my pickles just as refrigerator pickles and half low temperature pasteurization for shelf stable pickles.

Good luck with your canning endeavors.
 
James Freyr
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Hey Stacy I've never considered low temp pasteurizing for shelf stable pickles. Will look into that. Thanks!
 
Charli Wilson
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Location: Derbyshire, UK
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They don't look very pretty...



I can't find any jar weights here, I'm going to try making my own ceramic ones though.
 
Thyri Gullinvargr
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This site has some options that are intended for fermenting but I'm guessing could be used for canning. Examples are using an apple slice or a smaller jar as a weight.
https://www.farmcurious.com/blogs/farmcurious/58156485-diy-fermenting-weights

Here's another option, although "seat belting" wouldn't work with your raspberries. You could use an apple like the first site though...
http://www.wellpreserved.ca/how-to-stop-pickles-and-fruit-from-floating-when-preserving/
 
James Freyr
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I think your raspberries look beautiful
 
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