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Old 07-06-2006, 11:47 PM   #1
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I'm thinking of taking this up

Sucked into yet another method by Alton Brown, saw an episode of Good Eats he did on this and got my interest picqued. Hopefully moreso than the whole "vacuum sealing" and "food dehydrating" phase I went through that lasted about 2 days...that sealer was the biggest waste of cash..

I can find the sets (50 bucks for the whole she-bang on Amazon), and my hardware store has all the mason jars one could ever want..but I need a definitive book on the subject. Kind of an all-encompassing, all you ever wanted to know about canning and preserving but were afraid to ask sort of deal.

It's just gonna be fruits and pickles and the like. The thought of canning meat products ranks right up there with my desire to eat that crap you see in the "nasty food section" of a grocery store that contains such gems as Hormel's "dried pressed beef in a jar" and Vienna sausage...which is to say, really low.

Besides, I figure it'd be a shame to waste the marionberry, blackberry and blueberry plants I have in my back yard and the strawberry plants out front.

Recommendations?

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Old 07-07-2006, 05:18 AM   #2
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I think the Ball Blue Book is pretty much the 'gold standard'; I've got a lot of other books, but none of them are as complete as that one.

Congrats! you'll have a lot of fun! Plus they make great Christmas gifts!
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Old 07-07-2006, 07:57 AM   #3
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Yes the Blue Book is what you just decribed. They should carry it where they sell canning supplies. I have seen it in my supermarket as well as my hardware store with all the jars and stuff.
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Old 07-07-2006, 08:33 AM   #4
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I loved canning and miss it terribly now that I live in Las Vegas. There are no fruit and veggie stands like we have here in Michigan so I stopped canning. Get on google and find the website for Ball. They have the best books on the subject and their products are top quality. Be sure you have the room and the desire to undertake this project. It requires a lot of work and patience but will pay off big time! I canned brandied peaches, spiced pears, tomatoes, spaghetti sauce, jalapenos peppers, and dilled green beans (my favorite).

Did I read you right? You said the sealer was a waste of cash. My Food Saver is the best money I ever spent next to my KitchenAid mixer. That gadget keeps food as fresh as the day I bought it, for months. I often wonder how I got along without it.
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Old 07-07-2006, 08:46 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drama Queen
[I]Did I read you right? You said the sealer was a waste of cash. My Food Saver is the best money I ever spent next to my KitchenAid mixer. That gadget keeps food as fresh as the day I bought it, for months. I often wonder how I got along without it.
Yep me too Drama Queen!
Poppinfresh what brand sealer did you get? That can make a difference.
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Old 07-07-2006, 09:14 AM   #6
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Whenever I watch that show I get temperarily convinced that I need something I really don't. I was watching the sushi episode last night (TiVo'd) and thinking, "Man, I really need a rice maker!" And after the show was over Irealized I didn't need to blow my money on a machine who's only function was cooking rice when I already have a pot and a stove.
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Old 07-07-2006, 09:18 AM   #7
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I agree about the Ball Blue Book. I learned to can from that one, although it's been up-dated quite a few times since the dark ages.
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Old 07-07-2006, 01:04 PM   #8
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Thanks for the recommendation. I shall hunt it down.

On the topic of the sealer thing...I found it to just be a waste of time. We never kept any food around long enough without finishing it by which a sealer would have ever even remotely come in handy. It was rather pointless.
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Old 07-07-2006, 03:45 PM   #9
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Ball Blue book also.....

Buy a new one, though. They changed some of the guidelines for water bath canning vs pressure canning. The older books won't be right - they can still have/give you botulism. well, not all the recipes, but some. I'm thinking the changes are mostly having to do with canning meat and anything with tomatoes in it, both have to be pressure canned. I can't remember the year, but I think if it's after 1986, you're ok.

Please, anyone, correct me if I'm wrong about any of this.

I'm new at canning also, but have done a ton of research. Just picked up a used water bath canner, but will probably buy the pressure canner new.
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Old 07-07-2006, 10:13 PM   #10
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Well, Poppinfresh - you have good three options:

Ball Blue Book of Preserving: This is the must have basic "definitive" primer to canning. Their website also covers the basics - minus the recipe collection in the book.

Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving: This is new and just released this year (I don't have a copy yet). The basics will probably still be the same as the Blue Book - but sounds like more recipes.

Extensive free online resource: The National Center for Home Food Preservation is the USDA sponsored de facto word on food preservation - and about as comprehensive as you can get. If you really want an "all-encompassing, all you ever wanted to know about canning and preserving but were afraid to ask sort of deal" this is your place. It is definately not a 'splain it to me in 25-words or less site.

Since you're talking about getting the whole "shabang" for $50 - I can only assume you are talking about a boiling water canner. Any of these sites/books will explain when it is appropriate - and when you need to use a pressure canner.
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