Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Important changes to The Prairie Girl's Guide to Life

The most important step in canning is achieving a vacuum seal on the jar, which will ensure your food stays fresh and safe. After filling the jars and closing the lid, LISTEN FOR A POP and look for a depression in the lid, which will tell you the jar is vacuum sealed. My mother usually stops here. The USDA guidelines for processing and sealing, however, require an additional hot water bath, directions below.

Additional directions for Applesauce (page 31) and Sweet Treat Cherries (page 40): After filling and sealing the jars, place them back in the boiling water of the canning kettle, taking care to set the jars on the rack so they don’t touch the bottom or side of the kettle. The boiling water should cover the jars by about 1 inch. Leave the applesauce in the boiling water for 15 to 25 minutes, the exact time depending on your altitude (the higher, the longer) and leave the cherries in for 25 to 40 minutes. After the allotted time, remove the jars from the hot-water bath and set on a clean dishtowel to cool. It’s important to check that the vacuum seal has set; listen for a pop as the jars cool and look for a depression in the lid.

On page 28, even though they don’t need to go through a hot-water bath, be sure to check that the seal has set for the Bread-and Butter Pickles as well, by listening for the pop and looking for a depression in the lid.

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