Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Some Canning Basics. - Too much rain, too many mangoes, too much free time. I guess I'll can mango jelly!

I'm sitting here on a Wednesday Morning debating the same thing I did yesterday.  Will the weather hold for me to get a workout in.

Yesterday, no absolutely not.  When I stopped watching Miami got 3 inches of rain and it was still going on. 

Today, I don't think so.  The leftover rains washed everything onto the road beds, left ponds everywhere, and there's more to come.  30 miles South, 60 miles West, and all coming here for a visit to Metro Fort Lauderdale.  My back yard.

So I'm considering my options.  Since it is Wet Season, you have to let the weather do the talking.

I could throw the bike on the car and drive to the park and go around 5 times, or until I get rained out.

I could make more Mango Jelly, and can the stuff and use up all of the morning.

I could do both, bike in the morning until I get wet then can jelly in the afternoon.

Since dog walk 2 is going to happen ... now, I'm going out to try to decide later.  To do anything athletic, I need a carboload and a lot of planning.  Procrastination does not lend itself to being a Jock.

While I was out, there was a storm that blew up over the park that I workout at, 8 miles North of me.  I never saw it here, at home, but RADAR made the decision for me.

Canning Basics:

WARNING:  Canning food is always at your own risk and your own skill level at keeping items and surfaces clean.  Boil everything you can for 30 minutes and please be careful.  Any doubt, buy new food at the supermarket.

Start with jars and lids that are as clean and undamaged as possible. 
If needed, run everything that touches food through the dishwasher.
You have to sterilize everything that touches food:

  • Boil everything for 30 minutes minimum.
  • All Spoons, Jars, Lids, and "Tools" like Funnels must be boiled for 30 minutes.
  • Everything.
  • If it does not touch the food, and only "outside" you can just make sure that it's clean and not sterile.  This is things like Jar Handlers and pot holders.

This does not guarantee that your food once canned will remain wholesome and good to eat. 
Do not can food with a high egg content. 
Use promptly, 6 Months or sooner.  I have personally gone a year but I'm stupid.

If any questions consult another source like the USDA for safe food handling procedures.  That link points you to the University of Georgia site which is where the USDA wanted you to go anyway.

Your Food should be cooked to the proper temperature to kill any bacteria.  If I am canning, I cook to a minimum of 165F as tested with a kitchen thermometer.  Hotter is better.   No Raw Foods.  When you boil the jars to seal them for 30 minutes, you will end up cooking them again anyway.

The Chart linked here shows you how hot you can cook your food to serve.  You are canning, you need a higher standard.  "Well Done" here is good.

Now that you have the food cooked, and your canning jars have been boiled, the process begins to fill your jars. 

The process that I will use is:

  • Take the sterilized funnel from the boiling water and set aside on a clean plate.
  • Remove a jar from the boiling water and empty it into the pot.
  • Set the jar on a clean workspace plate.
  • Remove a lid from the boiling water and set that aside on the plate.
  • When filling a jar remember that the food will expand in the water bath, leave room from the top of the jar when you fill.
  • Fill the jar with your food, and set a lid on top of the filled jar.
  • Use a clean ring to loosely secure the lid in place. 
  • You should be able to turn the ring but not have it come off if you lift by the ring.
  • Set the filled jar in the hot water bath using the clean tools.
  • Repeat for the remainder of the food and jars.
  • When the pot has been filled, lower your jars into the hot water bath.
  • Bring the water up to a full boil.
  • Boil the water bath for a minimum of 30 minutes.

Reusing Jars is acceptable but Reusing Lids is risky.  If your last use of the lid required it to be pried off, and it bent, you probably won't be able to get a good seal from that lid and ring.  They should look clean, round, flat, and unbent.

I have reused lids.  I almost always reuse rings.  Always reuse your jars if you are short, nobody will know.

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