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jar sterilization- cheating  RSS feed

 
Kelda Miller
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I've seen some folks prepare for canning by sterilizing jars, lids, etc. in a warm oven. This gets around needing to boil a pot of water, and I've heard No water bath is then needed if the jam is hot, goes into a hot jar, and all seals okay.

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. )
 
Leah Sattler
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If you are going to process in a boiling water bath or a pressure canner then that will sterilize the jars and the food at the same time. If it didn't the whole point of canning would be missed! some things must be hot packed and in that case you want to have hot jars and lids available. With cold pack items I just make sure they are clean. For hot pack I usually just keep my jars and lids in the water I am prepping to can with. I'm going to get it hot anyway.

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.
 
paul wheaton
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I was about to say a few things, but everything I had to say appears to be covered in the pdf!

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?




 
Leah Sattler
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were the tops on the jars? expanding air trapped in the glass could have cracked them.
 
Kelda Miller
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no tops were on the jars. yup the cold air coming in might have done it. it seems like me just handling it. it was a great mistake to learn from
 
Dave Boehnlein
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I've done the waterless method for the jars (not the lids though...the rubber seal would melt...for those you still need to have a small pot of boiling water).

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.
 
Kelda Miller
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Alright: I'm getting better this year. No broken jars!

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....
 
Leah Sattler
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If you do the water again don't forget to add a bit of salt to the water, it will boil faster. Also you could try nuking it in the microwave to get the water near or at boiling before putting it in the pot.
 
Ken Peavey
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I boil the jars and lids.

My sisters kids might eat something from my jars.  Its not worth taking a shortcut in sterilizing a jar.  We're talking a pot of boiling water and a couple of minutes wait.  This is not a hassle.
 
Emerson White
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Location: Alaska
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With Jams and jellies and tomato based sauces as well as pickles you are relying on sugar content and acidity to prevent botulism poisoning down the road, because Clostridium botulinum doesn't grow well in those conditions, so sterilizing is not the right word, sanitizing it. In that case a hot jar from the dish washer is just fine.
 
                              
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Location: Coast Range, Oregon--the New Magic Land
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WHA? I just spray my jars with Lysol...











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.
 
Ken Peavey
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Larisa Walk
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We never sterilize jars. We just wash jars thoroughly as soon as they get emptied, make sure they're dry, then stack them on a wire shelf, upside-down, until next canning season. But one of our primary goals in canning food is to save energy, both ours and the Earth's. So our first priority is solar drying. If the weather sucks or we're trying for tomato sauce instead of dried ones we do steam-canning. You only boil about an inch or so of water instead of bringing a whole pot of it up to temp. Pressure cookers used to come with instructions on how to do this, but we use both a dedicated steam canner and a pressure cooker with the steam weight removed. Processing times with steam are the same as for boiling water and you save a WHOLE LOT of energy. For details on what we do, including steam-juicing photos, check out our web page at http://www.GeoPathfinder.com/9473 .

Bob Dahse.
 
                                
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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.
 
Larisa Walk
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rockguy wrote:
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!

Larisa
 
                                
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Geez lady, what would make you think I'd do that with low-acid anything? 
 
                                    
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Location: Ishpeming, Michigan
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This is the one area in saving time and energy where I won't cut any corners. After all, the time saved could end up being a whole lot of time wasted being sick.
 
                                
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Well, the way I look at it if the jars and the food and the lids are at 212F, they won't get any hotter if I boil them for an hour. Any stray microbes in my local environment that aren't killed/inhibited by those temps and acidity will probably kill me eventually, jars or no jars. However I know y'all are stuck in your way of thinking and since I am a strong supporter of freedom of speech, I will be the first to agree to disagree.....
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
 
                                    
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@ rockguy...I've read in old books how if you had mold on top of your jams to just scrape it off and use what's underneath...all those ppl survived so I guess there is more than one way to do things.I'm just very careful because it's been pounded into my head since I was very young.My aunt learned the hard way when she sent my cousin to bed without dinner after he stayed out way passed dinner time one night so he went and got a jar of tomatoes off the canning shelf and ate the whole thing. Not sure exactly what kind of poisoning he got as I was very young at the time but his blood was poisoned and he was very sick. I agree to disagree and no offense is meant with this comment...just an explaination of my own paranoia.
 
                                
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We're cool, Sue. I think tho that I will withhold my method for canning sausage patties in lard, something I no longer do but never had a problem with "back in the day". Even now, I can't believe it never went horribly wrong.
 
charles c. johnson
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rock i wish you would share ur method lol that sounds neat
 
                                    
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Canning/preserving sausage patties in lard.

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. 
 
Joe Skeletor
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Location: Blue Island, Illinois - Zone 6a - (Lake Effect) - surrounded by zone 5b
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What you've described is a very traditional way of preserving meats in their own fat, usually with added salt....Confit. The most well-known of which is Duck Confit.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confit
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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And an important part of confit is that the meat, the container, and the fat are all heat-sterilized together. I bet it doesn't last long in the fridge, because it begins to spoil once the fat layer is broken. Re-heating it would presumably re-set the clock on it.
 
                        
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A couple of thoughts, one is with regard to adding salt to your water to make it boil "faster". You are also making it boil at a lower temp. This doesn't save anything as you will need to boil it for a longer period of time to achieve the same effect as allowing it to boil at 212. The same thing happens at altitude. I do a lot of canning but because I'm at nearly 10,000 feet, I have to extend all my processing times by 33% or more since water also boils at a lower temp at altitude.

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.
 
kent smith
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Location: Pennsylvania
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I agree with the not adding salt to the canning water, you might as well cut the canning time in half and hope that you are still getting the center of the contents of your jar to temp. By lowering the boiling temperature it will take longer to get the contents to temperature and to sterilize the contents of the jars. I realize that statistically you can get away with cutting corners sometimes when canning, but is it worth it?
kent
 
Dw Cress
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I love it when I am able to contribute

This guy is like the Bill Nye of cooking

Good Eats S2E10P1: Urban Preservation I - Jam Session
part 1 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zlIVZax10iw
part 2 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zlIVZax10iw
 
Gary Hesson
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Fill your sink with water....add 2 cups of bleach and add your jars. Let jars sit covered for 1 hour.......Rinse and dry. Before using wash your jars in a dishwasher or by hand. Easy Breezy. this is the same method Gerber uses for their baby food jars.
 
Jay Green
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We just wash our jars in soap and bleach water. That has always served us well.
 
gani et se
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I hate bleach, so avoid it. I pour boiling water in the jars just before the canner to gets all the way to the boil, then I empty them just before I fill them. I put the water in the sink because I will surely have dishes to rinse, and the canner water becomes wash water once it's cool enough.
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...
 
Consider Paul's rocket stove mass heater.
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