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Old 12-06-2011, 09:57 AM   #1
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Why not add liquid when cold packing meat for the pressure canner?

The instructions always say "do not add liquid" but I can't find any information about why this is important. I want to can chicken curry but I don't want the meat overcooked. It seems that when I cook the curry first, even if I try to not fully cook the chicken the sauce is boiling when I take it out of the canner. When I open it (after cooling) the chicken is overcooked. So I thought I would marinate the chicken and put it raw in the jar and pour the sauce over it. But the instructions always say do not add liquid so I'm afraid there's a good reason not to do this. But I don't know what it is. Does anyone know why?

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Old 12-06-2011, 10:31 AM   #2
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You are playing a dangerous game processing 'cooking' recipes in a canner instead of following approved and tested canning recipes and instructions. That said, cold packing and not adding extra liquid is for canning meat only. No extra liquid is needed since the meat will generate its own liquid as it cooks under pressure in the canner.
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Old 12-06-2011, 10:54 AM   #3
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Thanks for your reply. I guess I don't understand the difference between a "cooking" recipe and a "canning" recipe. Can you explain. I don't want to create risk. Am I to understand that not adding liquid is a choice for cold pack, not a requirement?
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Old 12-06-2011, 12:10 PM   #4
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If you go to the market and buy food and 'cook' it to your liking for a current meal, that is a cooking recipe. If you do not consume food immediately you should know that it needs to be refrigerated (for short period storage) or frozen (longer period storage). And you may also realize that certain foods are more stable (time before spoiling) than other foods.

'Canning' is a method of long-term storage (1 year or more) at room temperature for certain types of food that are determined to be stable over time and safe to eat when opened. There is a big potential danger in this type of storage because of a toxin known as Botulism, which grows only in a vacuum (like a processed canning jar) and a low-acid environment. Every food except for certain fruits are low-acid.

Scientists specializing in food preservation do detailed tests on food combinations to determine 'if' they can be safely preserved and what process must be used EXACTLY to make sure the preserved food is safe. Though food preserving covers refrigeration, freezing, dehydration, and canning, it is the canning process itself that requires the most testing because of the Botulism danger. When 'canning' only those recipes that are approved and tested by trained individuals should be used and the instructions must be followed exactly.

In Canada you may want to check this website Bernardin Home Canning: Because You Can and
Eat Right Ontario

In the United States everyone is encouraged to get a current copy of the Ball Blue Book Guide To Preserving. I'm not sure if there is a Bernardin version of it, but you can't go wrong getting the Ball Blue Book.

I also recommend you visit and get information from the following websites:
USDA/National Center for Home Food Preservation
Miss Vickie Canning

and Botulism.

Canning your own food is fun and relatively easy, but it demands respect if you don't want to get sick or worse, and you must know the difference between a cooking recipe and a canning recipe.
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Old 12-06-2011, 05:07 PM   #5
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I say blast those dangerous little critters with gamma radiation and make it sterile. Then, there is no botulism, no e-coli, or any other little nasty that can get you sick either by infection, or released toxins, anaerobic or non anaerobic.

But since I don't have a gamma radiation source, when I can something, it's done by the rules.

The critter that creates the botulism toxin, Clostridium botulinum , is a bacteria that is found in soils virtually everywhere. It can enter the body through open wounds, or by eating foods that have been improperly canned, where the organism enters the canning container. The toxin can be lethal in concentrations of a few parts per million.

Have you ever wondered why lunch meats and many sausages have a characteristic pink color? If the meat is smoked, it will "stain the meat pink. Another way to stain the meat is by adding sodium nitrate, which inhibits good old Clostridium botulinum. Think of what sausage is, or even corned beef. The meat is put into an oxygen free environment, like a sausage casing, or air-tight curing bag of some sort. The organism is placed in a warm, moist, and perfect environment where it can grow and thrive. The sodium nitrate is deadly to the organism, making the cured meat safe to consume. It is also a staining agent that gives meats like bologna and corned beef that pink color.

The following link appears to be well written by someone who knows what they are talking about. But there are no authoritative referenced given for the information presented. So more research would be wise. Still, it's interesting reading. Link - Nitrates: Facts About Sodium Nitrate

Hope this helps you understand why proper canning and preservation techniques are essential to prevent food born illness.

Seeeeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
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