Canning Myths Busted: Canning is Safe
One of the biggest reasons that only about 20% of the population in the US cans (puts food into jars) is concerns over safety. In this post, I aim to explain why if you follow the rules (the way you might observe the speed limit and wear a seat belt) canning is absolutely safe.
One way you can feel assured when you start canning as a beginner is by knowing about temperature and its role in killing the bugs that might make us sick. Note a few important temperatures in the infographic below:
212 degrees F is the temperature at which high acid foods like many fruits (discussed at length in my post here) are safely canned in a water bath (boiling water + jars full of hot, delicious food). This temperature is where bacteria, yeast, and molds cannot live inside the jars of food.
24-250 degrees F is where low acid foods (think lots of veggies and meats as mentioned here) are canned in a pressure canner (this is a big pot that has a lid that locks on and a pressure gauge- I haven’t written a post about these bad boys yet but I will soon:) safely and where all spoilers are killed that may be lurking inside the jars.
Adjusting for altitude: This is not as scary as it sounds. For every 1000 feet that you live (and thus are canning) above sea level, add 5 minutes to the processing time (the time the jars filled with food are in the boiling water bath). That means that if you live at 4000 feet above sea level, you will add 20 minutes to the processing time. It would likely behoove any high altitude canner to check with their local cooperative extension for specific recommendations.
The other element that a canner should consider is acid. If the last time you thought about acid it was in science class and you were holding a piece of litmus paper and a hypothesis worksheet, never fear: You simply have to follow a recipe from a trusted source. That’s all you have to do. You don’t have to understand the concept at all: You just need to follow a recipe from a good canning book published sort of recently- say, in the last 10 years. Here are a few that I love and recommend:
If all this is still a little hazy and seems too reminiscent of the witches in Macbeth chanting, “bubble, bubble, toil, and trouble” then head here: http://nchfp.uga.edu The National Center for Home Food Preservation is THE resource for those who want to learn more before taking the canning plunge.
Okay, Wildflowers~ I need your help. I want to hear from you and to encourage you to give me a little feedback, I have partnered with Mason Jar Lifestyle, an awesome company that sells all kinds of a functional and fashionable Mason jar and canning goodies. I wrote a guest blog post for them here and because they are so bad, they shared some goodies with me and my readers. You should check them out- you will thank me later 🙂