Friday, July 25, 2014

A Quick Food Safety Reminder

Summer is prime time for canning in the Northern hemisphere. I'm seeing many, many recipes for bottling jams that indicate you can skip the boiling water bath if you follow some alternate technique.
Friends (and you are my friends, which is why I don't want you getting sick) if you do not plan to freeze or refrigerate your preserves, then you must follow proper canning procedures. Inverting the jar, heating the jars in the oven, or using the heat of the sun are not consistent with what we now know to be a safe manner of preserving food. I acknowledge, my grandmother lived a good long life, and she never used a water bath canner for her strawberry preserves. I remember her melting paraffin, and the whole bit. Still, today we know a bit more about food safety, and while you won't die from a poorly preserved jar of jam (unlike a poorly preserved low acid food like peas that absolutely must go through a pressure canner) it will be more likely to spoil, develop mould (which in the old days we just scraped off before we knew it was a carcinogen) or seal and re-seal under hot or cold conditions leaving you none the wiser it had happened. If you're going to the effort of making jam, take the extra ten minutes and run it through a water bath. If your seals are good after that, then you know they are likely to stay that way if properly stored. If you really can't be bothered, make freezer jam-it is quick and easy. Alternately, you could make a small batch and just store it in the fridge. But really, if you plan to store it, do the water bath.

And please (PLEASE!) don't can butter. That will kill you.
*mutters* the things you see people do on the Internet...


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