Originally Posted by GB
Michael (or anyone else) I am new to canning (haven't actually started yet) and have always heard to get the Ball Blue book. Is the Ball Blue book of Preserving the one I want for canning or is preserving and canning different animals? What I really want to learn how to do is can a meat sauce I make (if that is even possible).
Yeah, it's the Ball Blue Book of Preserving ... I just never paid attention to the full title. It's just a very good, inexpensive depending on where you get it, basic book on canning. I guess calling it the book of canning and preserving would be redundant since you are preserving by canning ... there are no recipes for salt cure, cold smoke or drying preservation.
High acid foods canned in 1/2 - 1 pint sizes can be processed in a water bath (things like jams and preserves, etc.). But, when you go to larger things like quarts or a meat sauce you HAVE
to use a pressure canner. That's why if someone has never canned before I always recommend they get the Ball book as a starting reference.
If you shop around you should be able to find a new Presto 22-23 qt pressure canner/cooker for about $90-$100.
Sometimes you can find one in good shape at a garage sale. In that case - before you use it ... if it has a pressure guage on the top it needs to be checked to make sure the guage is accurate. Our county aggriculture extension office does it for free down here - we just have to call and make arrangements. It will probably also need a new gasket and overpressure plug - ACE Hardware carries those in a set for
Originally Posted by IcyMist
How long is it safe to keep something that is canned? Should you put a label on the jar where you know how long to keep?
I think the general rule is one year - as long as the seal is intact and there are no bubbles or funny things growing it the jar. If you pull out a jar that has bubbling, foaming, or mold growing on it DO NOT EVEN OPEN IT - DISCARD IMMEDIATELY!
High acid foods that can be canned in a water bath are probably
safe for up to a couple of years. Low acid foods canned in a pressure canner, where they are blanched and then canned like green beans, corn, etc. - should be boiled for at least 3 minutes
before tasting or eating. I think the same goes for canned meats. This stuff is all in the Ball Blue Book.
To be honest - I've never had anything that didn't get consumed within a year or less.