I've also heard that some folks will just wash jars with a conventional dishwasher and then use them hot from that straight into a canning session with no sterilization needed.
When I've tried the hot oven method, I had it way too hot, and the jars broke. Oops. Anyone have any guidelines?
(of course, this is a funny question because a conventional oven and dishwasher, heck they're not that sustainable. but they're great intermediate steps for busy folks. )
despite what our grandmothers may have done all modern recipes I have seen call for some processing of jellies in a boiling water bath. my grandmother used to can tomatoes, soup and other products bly just pouring hot product into the hot jars. I always refer to this as they are all tested for safety. It indicates that if you presterilize the jars you can get away with only processing the jellies for 5minutes as opposed to ten. http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/publications/uga/uga_processing_j_j.pdf
I have amish cook books that have some very questionable canning recipes and have seen many elswhere. The recipes on the usda site and the ball canning site are proven safe in regards to heat conductivity. You will find all kinds of recipes on the net that don't "follow the rules" and hear all kinds of things from old timers. Everybody has a different comfort level as far as what risks they are willing to take. I would encourage you to compare any recipes you plan on trying with the ball or usda website.
A sustainable oven setup would be a cob oven.
Kelda, how hot was your oven when the jars cracked? Is it possible that it was the cold air coming into the oven when you opened it that cracked the glass?
You're right that you don't want to leave them in too long. I once cracked one upon taking it out and setting it on an unheated counter. I had to cool the rest of the jars before I could begin canning.
The way I did it was to just put them in the oven for about 20 minutes or so (I forget what the temp was). Then I took them out and put hot applesauce in them and lidded them immediately. Any that hadn't sealed themselves the next day I put in a water bath.
For the record I think the water bath method is definitely more of a sure bet.
The 175 degrees for 25 minutes, to pre-sterilize the jars, I've felt comfortable with that.
Mostly, in order to use the boiling water bath to sterilize quart jars, man that's a lot of water that has to get hot and boiling for ten minutes. It just barely reaches the lid of my canning pot. And it especially takes so much water because while the jars are empty they're all full of water too. In the boiling water bath after food is added, at least some water is displaced so it doesn't take so long to boil.
I've got a gut feeling it takes less electricity for the warm oven then the ten minute jar sterilization with water. I could just be fooling myself because the oven is less messy (if I don't break any jars!).
But, with all that massive water for the water-jar-sterilization, I did find a way to stack functions. When I add sealed jars that displace water I have to take some water out. I ladle that hot, hot water into a pyrex bowl thing that's holding the lids and rings. That way I'm confident that they're sterilized too, without getting hot enough to melt the seal.
I was so pleased to figure out one little trick, as I'm just a beginner.
A sidenote: I heard that elsewhere in the country a lot of university extensions offer a 'Master Canner' class (like 'Master Gardener' idea). But for some reason Western Washington doesn't have any available. What's up with that? Next time you talk to your extension agent....
just kidding I can stuff like jam, pickles, chutneys, tomato sauce(ie high acid, or etc with the pickles). I just handwash the jars in hot soapy water, rinse and let dry. Fill them when still warm(with boiling product) and water bath them. "YMMV of course/don't do what I do", but it's worked for me.
If I were to do pressure canning of stuff like soup or meat I would def boil the jars and lids first.
For tomatoes and blackberry jelly, (the only 2 things I "can" I pour the boiling product into jars that have been heated in the oven. When they're full, I put on lids and rings, tighten and invert the jars for 1 minute, then stand back upright. Never had a problem with them.
I would say that this method, often referred to as "open kettle" is dangerous for the tomatoes, especially if you grow the newer, low-acid varieties. I'm willing to take short cuts all over the place, but this is a recipe for possible (probable?) food poisoning and I would never advise people to try this. In addition, there is the problem of losing jars to spoilage, which is no fun once you've gone through the work to grow, harvest, and process your veggies. Glad to hear you've been lucky so far!
I am not seeking converts to my way of canning. I was pointing out that not everything you hear/read is true for all instances
I remember my grandmother doing this. She would fry sausage patties that would fry up a little smaller then the wide mouth jars....cook them DONE but not real brown...put them in the jars and then pout hot melted pure lard over them to cover them by an inch. Then she would seal them the pressure canner way 90 min.
BUT she told me HER mother would do it that way JUST USING BIG CROCKS; no seals but the layer of pure lard ! The idea is that the cellar was cool enough to keep the lard layer hard enough to keep anything/ air out. then when they brought a crock upstairs, it didn't last long in the fridge to spoil.
Would I do it that way ?? WOW--I dun know...hafta be living in the boonies with no other way, I think.
The other thing is about the method of heating. I have always found an electric range to be a very slow way to bring canning pots to temp. We purchased a nice three burner propane "table-top" stove for blizzards and power outages. I get the most use out of it when canning, though. It will quickly bring a large pot to boil and then I can hold it for the processing time at the lowest setting. Much more effective and more bang for my energy buck. And since most of my canning takes place in summer, I open all my windows and I never have an exhaust problem.
A friend of mine seals jams by filling them hot and turning them upside down once the lids and rings are on tight. Not as pretty with the air bubble at the bottom, but works. That requires a very hot fill, and I guess I'm a little slow, so I boil them a few minutes.
Check the seal by hanging the jar by the lid from your fingertips, so all the wieght is suspended from the lid (is that clear?). That will catch the occasional jar where the lid's down but the seal is too light.
Made quince jam this morning. Thought it would turn pink, but it didn't. Tastes delicious! Still using white sugar, so another step to go for me in sustainability...