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Old 10-06-2009, 11:57 AM   #1
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Canning books trustworthy?

I've seen lots of books on canning at book stores and at the library. How can I know if the recipes in them are safe to use? I want to strike a balance between being safe and expanding my horizons beyond the blue book.

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Old 10-06-2009, 04:14 PM   #2
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the recommend methods/times have changed over the years.

check carefully for the "date" of the recommendations / guidelines. stuff fom the 60's is not the best advice.

>>I want to strike a balance between being safe and expanding my horizons beyond the blue book.

I'm unable to conceptualize what you mean - there are good, up-to-date canning recommendations for pretty darn near anything. when canning stuff for long term preservation, there's "safe" and there's "not safe" - where does "expanding" coming in?
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Old 10-06-2009, 09:34 PM   #3
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I've you want to expand your horizons in canning, contact your County or State Extension and sign up to become a Master Canner.

If you want to start off on a small scale, go to the National Center for Home Food Preservation (National Center for Home Food Preservation) and take their online self-study course in Food Preservation. If you are good you should get through it with 100%.

They and the USDA are the recognized final word on the subject of food preservation, canning, and food safety and if they say it is not safe....it is not safe. No expanding horizons beyond that.
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Old 10-07-2009, 10:54 AM   #4
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Sorry, I guess I didn't do a good job explaining. I don't want to make up canning recipes or anything like that. What I meant by expanding was that I want access to safe recipes beyond the ones listed in the Ball blue book or the NCHFP website, both of which I'm familiar with and have used. There are loads of other cookbooks with canning recipes in them, but I hesitate to assume that the recipes they contain are all safe just because they're in a book. I was wondering if there was a way to verify or evaluate their safety before making them. Does that clarify?
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Old 10-07-2009, 11:10 AM   #5
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Yes that clarifies, thank you. Did you order the book at the NCHFP for $18 called "So Easy To Preserve". Superb canning book. I also have:

Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving (400 recipes)
Small-Batch Processing by Topp & Howard
Putting Foods By
Preserving In Today's Kitchen
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Old 10-07-2009, 11:24 AM   #6
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I'm actually going to the library to check out a few books. I like to do that with cookbooks before I buy them - kind of like a trial run. My library does have the NCHFP cookbook, so I planned to look through it. I'll see if they have the other books you mentioned. Thanks for the recommendations.
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Old 10-07-2009, 11:41 AM   #7
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Just be carefully that the canning book is (re)printed after about 1994. Anything before that date should be considered unsafe by current standards. And, despite what many people do, just adding canning processing information does not make the recipe safe.
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Old 10-07-2009, 11:48 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnerd View Post
Just be carefully that the canning book is (re)printed after about 1994. Anything before that date should be considered unsafe by current standards. And, despite what many people do, just adding canning processing information does not make the recipe safe.
Thanks for the date - but what do you mean by the last part about just adding canning processing information?
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Old 10-07-2009, 01:11 PM   #9
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Just as I stated -- it could be an old "open kettle" processing recipe or a cooking recipe that someone decides they want to 'can' it, but is never tested or proven safe by a food expert for modern canning and storage.

There are tested and approved canning recipes for just about everything out there, but what always surfaces is the desire to 'can' cooking recipes or modify the tested recipe with other ingredients that changes the safety of it. If a different and unique recipe does come along, it can be submitted to the NCHFP for testing.
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Old 10-07-2009, 01:14 PM   #10
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apple*tart -

the biggest issue in years of late is pressure canning vs. the old boiling water bath route.

one of the biggies dangers is botulism. anaerobic (low oxygen) and low acid conditions promote that possibility. once-upon-a-time the prevalence of botulism spores was considered a geographic issue. no longer true. just because you got the green beans from Farmer Brown locally down the road who gardens organically is not any assurance that the produce is 'botulism free"

it takes higher than boiling water temps to kill botulism spores. hence the move to pressure canning. the increased pressure raises the temperature of "boiling water" past the point of "temperatures that kill botulism spores"

for example, the old generalized advice like "tomatoes are acid enough" no longer holds - multiple "low acid" tomato varieties exist today. the only truism is "change is constant"

I hope I'm not missing the point - "recipes" - things that taste good after canning/preservation - is a different issue than "how" the stuff was processed in terms of "safe" - a good tasting recipe of "x, y and z" is likely to taste just as good "pressure canned" as it was "boiling water bath canned" - but the recommended safe methods of getting there have changed.

if you're looking at canning meat products, different set of issues and dangers.
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