Canning on Empty??
I’m having a problem with canning. Most all the liquid in my jars is gone when I open up the pressure canner. All my friends have beautiful jars of vegetables while mine look pretty pathetic. What am I doing wrong?
Loss of liquid can come from several reasons. The first and foremost is too much variation in the pressures during the canning process. Let’s say you’re supposed to can your green beans at 10 lbs of pressure for 20 minutes. You bring your canner up to 10 lbs of pressure and start timing. You get distracted and the next time you read the gauge, you’re bumping 15 lbs of pressure, so you quickly turn the heat down to get the pressure reading where it needs to be. Then, before you know it, the needle has dropped below 10 lbs, so you crank the heat up once again. You go through this yo-yo adjustment during the whole 20 minutes and when you finally do open the canner up, all the liquid from your jars is in the canner. Consistent pressures are the key to successfully canning.
Another thing that will push that liquid out of the jars is trying to hurry along the cooling down process. If you fiddle with the pressure relief valve or open the lid before all the pressure has dissipated, you’ll find dry jars as well.
You can also have a problem if you overfill your jars. Remember, that headspace is to give the liquid room to expand. If you fill the jar too full, the liquid will push right out of the jars.
Thanks for writing,
Why Isn’t A Water Bath Canner Good Enough?
My grandmother canned green beans, meat, and everything else in a water bath canner and never had a problem with tainted food. She fed her family for years out of her food stores. I don’t see why someone HAS to have a pressure canner to put up food.
My grandmother and her family used an outhouse. Today we have indoor plumbing. There’s no question that indoor plumbing is much safer and healthier for the people living in the house. Too many possible diseases and illnesses could be spread by the improper caretaking of an outhouse. Canning is much the same way. Just because water bath canning was the method used in the absence of pressure canners doesn’t mean it was as safe. Boiling temperatures will kill many things, including some bacteria, but it won’t touch botulinum spores. You need consistent 240 degree temperatures to do that, and as we know, once water reaches the boiling point of 212 degrees F, that’s as hot as it will go unless it’s put under pressure.
A friend of mine insisted on water bath canning her vegetables because that’s what her grandmother did and it worked just fine. She even added vinegar to the water in the jars to give them a more acidic solution…
She lost every jar of food.
Think about that… all that gardening, hoeing, weeding; all that hard word picking and cleaning and preparing for canning; and all the time spent over that hot stove, all for naught. Pressure canners today are much safer than yesteryear and they have safeties built into them such as pressure plugs that will blow before the canner explodes, that any concerns on that front have been taken care of by new design. And to be honest, a water bath canner is not that much cheaper than a pressure canner, only about a $25 difference if you shop Walmart. My pressure canner will double for a water bath canner when I need one, so actually I have two tools in one. I can’t think of one good reason to take the chance of causing illness in family members from tainted food or loosing all the supplies that you’ve put up simply because a method used 100 years ago was “good enough.”
Thanks for writing!
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