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Old 09-07-2011, 03:41 AM   #1
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Default Water-Bath Canning

I've got a water-bath canner at home, and I'm interested in starting canning. I like to cook large batches of food, and I would like the ability to (1) Store that food long-term without the use of a freezer (assuming power grid goes down for an extended amount of time) and (2) Can my food without power in the event of a long-term disaster (no power for weeks, EMP destroys grid, SHTF, etc). Currently I save my extras in a freezer.

I enjoy cooking for more than one serving, as leftovers are a great way to stretch the food budget. However, many of the things I cook contain meat (stir-fry, soups, etc). From the research I've done it suggests that ONLY a pressure canner should be used to can food items containing meats due to the nature of meats being more prone to botulism and other nasty bugs.

Does this research hold any merit? Or has anyone been successful at canning meat products with a water-bath process?

Right now, cost is an issue. I own a water-bath canner, and I have no extra budget to spend on a pressure canner. I do have fruits and some veggies from my garden that I could can with the water-bath, but I want the capability to can all things (or as much as possible) off-grid.

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Old 09-07-2011, 03:48 AM   #2
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Buy the "Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving". It's the source for canning and it costs less than ten bucks.

You can can tomatoes, pickles, fruit, jellies and jams with a Hot Water Bath Canner. But for vegetables and meats, you need a pressure canner. The hot water bath just can't get hot enough to safely do the job.

I took a canning class at the County Ag Extension last June.

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Old 09-07-2011, 04:03 AM   #3
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Bummer. So now I guess the question is, what do you can veggies/meats with in the event of no power? I know a generator could be used, but if there was an EMP it isn't likely the generator would work (unless it was hardened against the surge). Not to mention that fuel to run it would be a finite source.

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Old 09-07-2011, 04:12 AM   #4
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I stock up on tuna, canned chicken, Spam and such. EMP wouldn't dare screw with Spam.

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Old 09-07-2011, 04:18 AM   #5
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Country boy here. Been canning for over 50 years, if you count the time I spent helping Mom.

A pressure canner is the ONLY way to go, with the exception of pickles, jams and jellies. Yes, have canned veggies with hot water bath, but much faster and SAFER with pressure canner. For meats, hot water bath may kill you- botulism is just not killed by hot water bath- and depending on your altitude, water boils at less than 212 degrees.

YES to the Ball Blue Book. Good recipes as well as instructions. Tight on cash- try Craig's list, thrift shops. We have two canners. Keep them going in rotation.

What to use when SHTF? Well, my concern would be LIDS. For heat, I would use the wood stove- but a sheet of non-galvanized metal (there was important info 6 words back) sitting on a few bricks, wood fire under it- will do. Ya know, folks DID do canning before Rural Electrification came about.

Now and again I fix a large batch of Brunswick stew (10 gallons or so) and can the extra- and chili, baked beans etc are good. My lady used to make killer spaghetti sauce that we canned. Careful with spices- they get stronger. Too many tomatoes? Ketchup.

There ARE other means of preserving food- smoking, drying,salting, pickling, sulfuring, root cellar- but canning is handy, preserves flavor and texture.

If I only had one reference book in the world, this would be it.
http://www.amazon.com/Readers-Digest-Back-Basics-Traditional/dp/B000Z2NUVO/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1315369045&sr=1-2

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Old 09-07-2011, 04:21 AM   #6
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My big problem with a lot of off-the-shelf canned products is MSG. Unfortunately, that wonder-enhancer triggers my migraines like no other. Also, too much salt or sodium nitrate will do the job, along with artificial sweeteners (Splenda, aspartame, sweet-n-low, Equal). If it isn't mostly natural, I tend to avoid it.

Guess I'll start putting away for a pressure canner. And extra ingredients to make extra large batches of self-preserved meals before the power goes away.....

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Old 09-07-2011, 06:01 AM   #7
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I have canning equipment from way back when I was a stay at home Mom. I canned all the time. Now, not so much.

You must be careful to do it right.

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Old 09-07-2011, 12:24 PM   #8
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more support for pressure canner... check out garage sales in your area, sometimes you can get lucky. We have two pressure canners, and one water bath pot. Sometimes we have all three going at the same time, plus the pot of what ever we are canning

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Old 09-07-2011, 12:50 PM   #9
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C3shooter, lots of helpful knowledge there, thanks. Ill be checking the local market to see what there is to be had 2nd-hand.

Any brands of pessure canner I should look for and/or avoid?

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Old 09-07-2011, 02:13 PM   #10
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Maybe advertise on Craigslist. I'll bet lots of people have pressure canners in their basements they totally forgot about. All you would need to do is buy new rubber gaskets for them. They are relatively cheap and I replace mine every few years. I also have a small pressure cooker that I use to cook meals in during the winter. Quick dinners. I prefer stainless steel cookers for cooking and an aluminum one is more affordable for canning.

And just like our guns, they may not be cheap but they will give you years and years of service.

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