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Old 04-23-2012, 10:38 AM   #1
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Question about hot water bath canning

Hi everyone! I've been fiddling around with different recipes for violet jams and dandelion jelly trying out different ones to see what we like best. With each batch I make I end up with 2 half pint jars. One of those is our taste tester and the other jar I want to can. I've got a few in the fridge (some I've given away) and plan to make another batch today. Would it be safe to do a hot water bath with all of these? Some of the ones in the fridge are a week old. I'm thinking I'll definitely need to let the cold ones come to room temp before putting in the hot water bath so they won't crack. But would it be unsafe to can the refrigerated ones now?

Thanks!

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Old 04-23-2012, 12:07 PM   #2
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It would be unsafe, besides destroying the gel that you achieved with the original cooking.
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Old 04-23-2012, 03:35 PM   #3
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So if I can jams, jellies, or anything using the water bath method, it needs to be immediately after cooking or preparing? It's not good to refrigerate then can?
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Old 04-23-2012, 03:58 PM   #4
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Would I be able to save the refrigerated jars by freezing them?
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Old 04-23-2012, 05:10 PM   #5
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You could freeze the jam, but you run the risk of shattering the glass. Also the jam would have to be consumed immediately after thawing and not allowed to sit for any additional period in the frig, especially if they have already been in the frig for a week before freezing. The issue is growth of bacteria in food products that have no preservatives.

The canning (pasteurizing) process requires the preparation of the food, usually to a boiling point, and immediately placed into jars and then submerged in water that is brought to a rolling boil (212) for a specified time. This complete process is necessary to ensure that any bacteria toxins or spores are killed and prevented from growing further inside the jar. If there is a delay, such as putting into the refrigerator, allows such bacteria to continue growing and just the canning process might be insufficient to kill everything and make the product safe for storage. To reheat the food, it would need to be removed from the jars, heated to boiling again, and placed back in jars with new lids and then processed in the canner. That would most likely destroy the pectin that gelled the jam in the first cooking.
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Old 04-23-2012, 06:37 PM   #6
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I agree, McNerd.
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Old 04-24-2012, 08:41 AM   #7
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You put hot jelly into a sterilized jar, capped it and put it in the fridge, right? Your jam will last for at least 3 weeks in the fridge--I would just try to use it up. Or send some to me. :)

Because jam is so full of sugar, bacterial growth is not really a problem. It will mold sometimes.
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Old 04-24-2012, 09:19 AM   #8
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Thanks for everyone's input! I'm still learning about canning different foods and the advice is much appreciated!

I did put the hot jelly into the sterilized jar and capped it. I put it in the fridge once it cooled down. So I'll just watch for mold or smells. With a family of 6, I think we'll be able to get thru this jam and jelly I have before it goes bad. Next time I will know to can immediately afterwards.

So speaking of canning, does anyone have recommendations for a good book and/or website about canning and preserving for beginners? I've read good things about "Put 'em Up" and "Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving".

Thanks again!
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Old 04-24-2012, 09:36 AM   #9
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The Ball canning book is wonderful!

Regarding freezing your jam/jelly, most canning jars can withstand freezing and you can find plastic lids specifically for this purpose. I'm not a fan of freezer jam, I think the texture is off but there are a lot of people who swear by it. Too echo Sparrowgrass, with the little you have and 6 eaters, you should be able to get through it before it gets funky.

Enjoy!
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Old 04-24-2012, 09:59 AM   #10
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I've been talking to friends and family about canning, reading a bit online here and there, as well as reading a little about it in magazines such as Mother Earth News and Herb Companion, but I want a good book (or a few of them). I think I'll go for the Ball book, but if anyone else has recommendations I'm all ears!
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