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Dear Editor,

Periodically you advertise the complete canning/food preservation DVD set. Does it cover hot water bath canning for low acid foods – specifically how long each item needs to be cooked in the hot water bath? I have consulted old Kerr and Ball canning booklets as far back as the early 1970s and have checked the Internet, but all I can find is the pressure-cooker method for items of low acidity.  I know that green beans, peas, corn, beets and carrots – which I believe are low acid – can be processed by hot water bath because I watched my mom do it back when I was too young to pay much attention, except that she had that pot going for days.  I also know she used the hot water bath method because she was afraid of pressure cookers and she would not have used a pressure cooker if we had owned one…. and whatever she did was successful since we lived on all those jars of stuff she canned for years and, obviously, I survived it.

I’d appreciate any help you can provide.

Searching
Dear Searching,

Low-acid foods cannot be water bath canned. Yes, people did it for years and some continue to do so, but they are quite lucky they don’t get sick and die. With the increased prevalence of food-borne illnesses and antibiotic resistant bacteria, I wouldn’t even begin to suggest that anyone can low-acid foods in a water bath canner. Not only that, the most serious illness, botulism, is actually from a spore that reproduces in anaerobic environments – which is the environment you have inside a canned jar of food. If you don’t have sufficient temperatures (which water bath canners cannot reach) to kill the spores, they will reproduce, and they don’t give off signs either. It’s not a spoilage, rotten food, thing. Of course, once these spores have reproduced sufficiently, the toxins and gases they emit will pop the lids of the canned jars and then it will be obvious there is a problem. But until then, you risk the health and lives of your family members trying to water bath can low-acid foods.

So no, there are no timetables or instructions for canning low-acid foods via the water bath method in the canning DVDs.

The Editor

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Dear Editor,

I saw several weeks ago where Southern California Girl asked readers for tips on ways to cook greens. The responses were great—I’ve even added a few new recipes to my own collection now. I was wondering—do your readers have any suggestions for ways to cook venison? My family enjoys eating the deer my husband hunts, but I’m beginning to feel like I cook it the same ways over and over again. Does anyone have some recipes they’d like to share?

Southern Country Girl

Dear Southern Country Girl,
I’m publishing your letter and asking readers to contribute their favorite ways to prepare venison. I hope our readers are as generous with their recipes as last time—I would love to have a few new ways to prepare venison myself!

The Editor

If you’d like to contact the editor, please send an email to [email protected]

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