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Everyone can can.

The avalanche of tomatoes and cucumbers is overwhelming. Every time you open the back door, apples and grapes march in by the regiment. Nature has exploded in your yard. Don't retreat and book a hotel room. Fight back! Round up the jars and can the onslaught.

Enjoying wholesome canned goodies during the winter is one benefit of a bountiful garden or of bulk purchases at a farmer's market. You can dip corn chips into picante sauce formulated for your taste buds, top your toast with such no-sugar fruit spreads as ApricotCherry Conserves, and crunch Garlic Dill Pickles free of chemicals and excess sodium. Just observe a few basic safety rules, and you can fill your pantry with jars of healthful canned foods.

There are two methods of canning -boiling water bath and steam pressure-because there are two types of food-high acid and low acid.

Canning Fruits and Jams

A boiling water bath is used for high-acid foods. Fruits (especially tomatoes), sauerkraut, rhubarb, and foods to which vine gar is added (pickles, relishes, etc.) are canned by this method, as are jams and jellies.

Assemble clean canning jars, free of nicks and cracks, with screw bands that are not bent or rusted and new vacuum lids. Note: Do not use mayonnaise or peanut-butter jars for canning, even though their bands and lids will fit the jar mouths. The glass in these containers, too weak to withstand repeated boiling and steam pressure, explodes during processing or in storage after cooling.

Sterilize the jars and the lids and keep them hot until used. The hottest cycle on your dishwasher or five minutes in boiling water will do the trick.

Bring the water in the canner to a rolling boil and hold it there. Meanwhile, fill the jars with food, prepared according to your favorite recipe; leave a half-inch of head space in each jar,

Run a table knife down the insides of the jars to release trapped air

bubbles. Add more food or

liquid if needed. Wipe the rims clean and top them with hot sterilized lids. Screw the bands down firmly so they are tight.

Boil your jars in the canner; refer to your recipe for the required time. Start timing when the water in the canner comes to boil and again after the jars are submerged. After removing the jars from the water, turn them upside down on a rack or a heavy layer of towels. Fifteen minutes later, set the jars right-side up to finish cooling. This extra step ensures that the jars seal. As cooling progresses, pinging sounds may be heard, indicating that the jars are sealed. Another way to confirm sealing is to press down on the lid centers about three hours after processing . If there is any give in the lid, the jar is not sealed. You should reprocess the jar immediately or refrigerate and eat the contents as soon as possible.

Low-Acid Canning Vegetables, which have little natural acid, must be canned under steam pressure to kill bacteria. The pressurized steam inside the canner allows the temperature to exceed the boiling point (212 degrees F.) and reach 240 degrees F. -hot enough to kill bacterial spores and prevent spoilage.

Meats, poultry, seafoods, mushrooms, stews, and sauces are also low acid. Such mixed canned foods as a soup containing both corn (low acid) and tomatoes (high acid) should be processed by low-acid methods to avoid the risk of bringing on botulism.

Only the most experienced canners should attempt home canning the following vegetables: cabbage (except sauerkraut), lettuce, celery, cauliflower, broccoli, onions, parsnips, turnips, or other vegetable mixtures.

Prepare and fill the jars in the same manner as for the boilingwater-bath method. Follow the manufacturer's instructions that accompany your steam pressure canner exactly.

If you do not own a pressure canner, you can use a pressure cooker with two adjustments. Pack the food into pint or half-pint jars, and add 20 minutes at ten pounds of pressure to the processing time given in recipes.

Special pressure canners are designed for use in microwave ovens. However, a big drawback to using these canners is that only one or two pint jars can be processed at one time. And a long cooling period is required between batches.

A pressure canner or cooker of the dial-gauge type must be calibrated before each canning season. Your county extension agent or the manufacturer can tell you where the gauges are serviced. False readings ftom an inaccurate gauge make the difference between healthful food and food poisoning in the jars.

Before eating low-acid, homecanned food, boil it at least five minutes to kill any trace of bacterial spores that could remain.

High-or-LowOctane Picante

(Makes 9 pints)

14 pounds peeled

tomatoes

8-16 hot peppers, skinned

2 onions, peeled and

quartered

6 cloves garlic, peeled

1 cup fresh cilantro leaves or

1/3 cup dried cilantro

1 tablespoon white vinegar

1 tablespoon salt

Chop all ingredients in food processor or blender in small batches. Stir together in large container to blend evenly. Pour into prepared pint jars and process 15 minutes in boiling water bath.

Apricot-Cherry Conserves

(Makes 6 pints)

10 cups pitted and chopped

apricots, with skins

10 cups pitted and halved

sweet cherries

1 cup fresh or bottled white

grape juice

Combine ingredients in large kettle and bring to boil. Continue boiling rapidly, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens. Pour into prepared jars and process 10 minutes in

boiling water bath.

Garlic Dill Pickles (Makes 6 quarts)

3 cups white vinegar

3 cups distilled

water

6 tablespoons salt

1 tablespoon pre

pared horseradish

2 tablespoons

mustard seeds

12 cloves garlic,

peeled

6 bunches fresh dill

or 2 tablespoons dried dill 30-36 cucumbers

(3"-4" long)

Combine vinegar, water, and salt; boil. Add to each hot sterilized jar: 1/2 teaspoon horseradish , I teaspoon mustard seeds, 2 garlic cloves (sliced), and dill. Pack washed cucumbers into jars and fill with boiling brine. Process 20 minutes in boiling water bath. Wait two weeks before opening jars. Zucchini Pickles

(Makes 2 pints)

4 cups sliced zucchini

1/2 cup sliced onion

2 tablespoons canning salt

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup cider vinegar

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

3/4 teaspoon mustard seed

1/4 teaspoon celery seed

Wash zucchini well before slicing. Combine vegetables in wooden bowl and sprinkle with salt. Cover with ice water and ice cubes. Let stand 3 hours; add ice cubes occasionally.

Combine sugar, vinegar, turmeric, and seeds, and bring to boil. Drain vegetables and put them in syrup. Heat to simmering point but do not boil.

Pour pickles into hot, clean jars; leave 1/4" head room. Adjust lids and closures and place on rack in kettle of hot water deep enough to cover jars by at least 1". Bring to boil and process 10 minutes. Remove from water and cool completely on rack.

Green and Yellow Dilly Beans

(Makes 4 8-ounce jars) 1 pound green and yellow beans

2 cloves garlic

2 heads dill

1/2 teaspoon mustard seed

1/2 teaspoon celery seed

1/2 cup cider vinegar

1/2 cup water

2 tablespoons salt, if desired

Wash beans; trim ends and cut evenly 1/2 " shorter than height of jars. Holding jar at tilt, alternate green and yellow beans around sides of jar. Pack beans in center as closely together as possible without breaking them. Insert half clove of peeled garlic and half head of dill in each jar.

Combine seeds, vinegar, water, and salt in saucepan and bring to boil. Place jars in pan of hot water and pour brine into jars; leave 1/4 " head space. Insert plastic or wooden knife into each jar to release air bubbles. Put on lids and screw bands.

Place jars on rack in pan of hot water deep enough to cover jars by at least 1". Bring to boil and process 10 minutes. Remove jars to rack or damp towel and let cool.

No-Sugar Raspberry, Blackberry, or Strawberry Jam

(Makes 2 8-ounce jars)

1 quart ripe berries

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 cup liquid artificial sweetener

Pick over berries and place them in saucepan. Crush with potato masher and stir in lemon juice and sweetener. Bring to boil over high heat and continue to stir until mixture becomes quite thick.

Pour jam into hot, clean glasses; leave 1/4" head space. Wipe rims. Adjust lids and closures; screw bands on tightly. Place jars on rack in deep saucepan full of enough hot water to cover jars by 1". Bring water to boil and boil 15 minutes. Remove ftom water and let cool completely.

Dangerous Canning Shortcuts

* Don't use a dishwasher. There is no way to control the temperature or the processing time.

* Don't use an oven. Jars may explode when the oven door is opened. And food in jars is not heated enough to kill bacteria even in high-acid fruits.

* Don't use a microwave oven unless a special canner is used, Jars will not seal properly.

* Don't use aspirin as a substitute for processing. Although aspirin contains a weak germicidal agent, it does not prevent spoilage or deterioration of food.
COPYRIGHT 1989 Saturday Evening Post Society
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1989 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:includes recipes
Author:Howard, Doreen G.
Publication:Saturday Evening Post
Date:Sep 1, 1989
Words:1519
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