I found this great article on freezable foods, wanted to share, only posting the first paragraph, but HAD to have it here for future reference!
Lately I’ve been talking a lot about freezer foods – keeping the freezer stocked, saving time and money by cooking from the freezer, and more. And apparently all of you are very interested in freezer foods because I’ve received all kinds of questions, asking what foods you can and cannot freeze. While I don’t claim to be a “Freezable Foods Expert”, I have frozen more than my share of foods over the last few years; and I’ve taught classes on freezing, drying, and canning. So with that said…

Here’s my list of freezable foods. I’ve personally had success freezing everything on the list below. However, I’m always looking for more things to freeze, so if you know of anything I missed, please share your suggestions in the comments below.

Original content from Simple Organized Living: http://www.simpleorganizedliving.com/2011/02/10/freezable-foods/#ixzz2LM7KiN1s

Under Creative Commons License: Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives
Water Bath Canning
Simple Instructions On How To Use Your Water Bath Canner

Here are easy to follow instructions. If you are new to water bath canning I recommend you begin with this method. It is simpler than pressure canning and can be done most likely with items that you already have in your home kitchen.

This method can only be used for High Acid foods. This includes most fruits and tomatoes.

It is important to understand that only Low Acid Food can be processed using the water bath canner.

Click HERE to go to the full instructions, I have also put the link on the right said of the page labeled WATER BATH CANNING... in case you return and have a hard time finding this particular article. Great info!

What is Botulism?

Botulism is the name of the type of food poisoning we get consuming the toxin produced by active Clostridium botulinium in foods. Botulism was formerly known as "Kerner's Disease." It was named after the man who signed the death certificate of people who ate contaminated sausage and died in an outbreak in Germany. In fact, botulism comes from the Latin word, botulus, which means sausage. Botulism is a rare but serious foodborne disease. It can be fatal. There are two different types of botulism poisoning that we need to be concerned with - adult and infant botulism.

Note:  if you are looking for another pathogen (salmonella, Staph, etc.) see this page.

How can you tell if there is botulism in your home canned foods, like green beans? The answer is, unless you have access to a food science laboratory, you can't.  In this news story, Lizann Powers-Hammond, a food safety and preservation expert with Washington State University Extension says: “People always want to know if they can look at a jar of food to know if it’s okay. But I can’t tell by looking. What I need to know is the food’s history. How it was canned.”

How common is botulism?

In the United States, an average of 145 cases are reported each year.  Of these, approximately 15% are foodborne, 65% are infant botulism, and 20% are wound.  Adult intestinal colonization and iatrogenic botulism also occur, but rarely. Outbreaks of foodborne botulism involving two or more persons occur most years and usually caused by eating contaminated home-canned foods. The number of cases of foodborne and infant botulism has changed little in recent years, but wound botulism has increased because of the use of black-tar heroin, especially in California.

While commercially canned goods are required to undergo a "botulinum cook" at 121 °C (250 °F) for 3 minutes, and so rarely cause botulism (while home pressure canning equipment only can reach 240 °F), there have been notable exceptions such as the 1978 Alaskan salmon outbreak and the 2007 Castleberry's Food Co. outbreak.

Foodborne botulism has more frequently been from home-canned foods with low acid content, such as carrot juice, asparagus, green beans, beets, and corn.

However, outbreaks of botulism have resulted from more unusual sources. In July, 2002, fourteen Alaskans ate muktuk (whale meat) from a beached whale, and eight of them developed symptoms of botulism, two of them requiring mechanical ventilation . Other sources of infection include garlic or herbs[7] stored covered in oil without acidification, chili peppers, improperly handled baked potatoes wrapped in aluminum foil, and home-canned or fermented fish. Persons who do home canning should follow strict hygienic procedures to reduce contamination of foods. Oils infused with garlic or herbs should be refrigerated. Potatoes which have been baked while wrapped in aluminum foil should be kept hot until served or refrigerated. Because the botulism toxin is destroyed by high temperatures, home-canned foods are best boiled for 20 minutes before eating. Metal cans containing food in which bacteria, possibly botulinum, are growing may bulge outwards due to gas production from bacterial growth; such cans should be discarded. Any container of food which has been heat-treated and then assumed to be airtight which shows signs of not being so, e.g., metal cans with pinprick holes from rust or mechanical damage, should also be discarded. a potato should be COOKED at the given time.

What are the Symptoms of Botulism Poisoning? Normal symptoms of food-borne botulism usually occur between 12–38 hours after consuming the botulinum toxin. However, they can occur as early as 6 hours or as late as 10 days after.

Normal symptoms usually include dry mouth, double and/or blurred vision, difficulty swallowing, muscle weakness, drooping eyelids, difficult breathing, slurred speech, vomiting, urinary incontinence and sometimes diarrhea. These symptoms may continue to cause paralytic ileus with severe constipation, and will lead to body paralysis. The respiratory muscles are affected as well, which may cause death due to respiratory failure. These are all symptoms of the muscle paralysis caused by the bacterial toxin.

In all cases illness is caused by the toxin made by C. botulinum, not by the bacterium itself. The pattern of damage occurs because the toxin affects nerves that are firing more often.

Where does botulism come from? C. botulinum is found in soil all over the world. The bacteria have the ability to form a spore (like a tiny, microscopic seed) that is very resistant to heat and chemicals. The bacteria grow best anaerobically; that means it will grow without air. The spores activated in the absence of air (as is present in a jar or can of sealed food) produce a toxin. This toxin is the most deadly known to food scientists.

Why is botulism a concern in home canning?  My kitchen is clean and everything gets sanitized! Clostridium botulinum bacteria exist either as spores or as vegetative cells. The spores, which are dormant and comparable to plant seeds, can survive harmlessly in soil and water for many years. When ideal conditions exist for growth, the spores produce vegetative cells which multiply rapidly and may produce a deadly toxin within three to four days of growth in an environment consisting of:

  • a moist, low-acid food (like meats, almost all vegetables - including peppers, green beans, corn, etc.)
  • a temperature between 40° and 120°F
  • less than 2 percent oxygen (which occurs in any jar of canned food)

Botulism spores are present on most fresh food surfaces. Because they grow only in the absence of air, they are harmless on fresh foods. Most bacteria, yeasts, and molds are difficult to remove from food surfaces. Washing fresh food reduces their numbers only slightly. Peeling root crops, underground stem crops, and tomatoes reduces their numbers greatly. Blanching also helps, but the vital controls are the method of canning and making sure the recommended research-based process times are used.  

How can botulism be prevented? While the incidence is fairly rare, the death rate is high if not treated immediately. Prevention is obviously extremely important. Home canning should follow strict hygienic recommendations to reduce risks. Pressure canners should be used for all low-acid foods, but home pressure canners only reach 240 F, not 250 like commercial equipment, and are not hot enough to kill ALL of the spores. It is the destruction of the active bacteria, and destruction or substantial reduction in numbers of spores along with the creation of an environment that is less conducive to the growth of the remaining spores, that ensures safety.

The botulism spores can only be killed by the high heat which can be obtained in a pressure canner. Water bath canners cannot do this. The toxin (that is produced in anaerobic conditions) can only be destroyed by boiling; so if there is any doubt, boiling the food for 20 minutes after opening the jars adds an additional measure of safety, although this is not always practical. Colorado State University says:

 As an added precaution, boil all home-canned vegetables and meats without tasting for 10 minutes plus one minute per 1,000 feet above sea level (15 minutes at 5,000 feet). Boil home-canned spinach and corn 20 minutes before tasting. If the food looks spoiled, foams or has an off odor during heating, discard it.

The processing times in recipes in PickYourOwn.org are from the USDA and Ball Blue Book, and ensure destruction of the largest expected number of heat-resistant microorganisms in home-canned foods. Properly processed, home canned food will be free of spoilage if lids seal and jars are stored below 95°F. Storing jars at 50° to 70°F also enhances retention of quality.

See this page for why and how to choose a canner and see this page for canning recipes that are based on the USDA recommendations.

Can't I simply heat the jars in a water bath canner for a very long time or add acid (vinegar or lemon juice)? Botulism spores are very heat resistant. They may be destroyed at boiling water temperatures, but extremely long times are required. The higher the canner temperature, the more easily and quickly they are destroyed.

Low acid foods Therefore, all low-acid foods should be sanitized at temperatures of 240° to 250°F, attainable with pressure canners operated at 10 to 15 PSI. PSI means pounds per square inch of pressure as measured by a gauge. At these temperatures, the time needed to destroy bacteria in low-acid canned food ranges from 20 to 100 minutes. The exact time depends on the kind of food being canned, the way it is packed into jars, and the size of jars.

Acid foods The time needed to safely process low-acid foods in a boiling water canner ranges from 7 to 11 hours. Such long processing times are not researched and are not recommended. Losses in nutrients and quality would be unacceptable. The time needed to process acid foods in boiling water varies from 5 to 85 minutes.

Why can't I use my own recipe?  How would you know it was safe?  How ling should you process it? What type of canner?  How could you be sure the botulism spores were destroyed (you can't see them with the naked eye)?

In addition to the acidity of the food and the heat resistance of the microorganism, the time required for sufficient heat to penetrate all parts of the food in the jar must be considered. Heat is transferred from the outside of the jar through the food and thus is affected by:

  • The size and shape of the container. Smaller jars heat faster than wider or taller jars. The USDA no longer recommends jars larger than a half gallon, and typically jars must be 1 quart or smaller.
  • Amount of liquid. Food containing a large amount of free liquid heats much more quickly than a more solid product.
  • Piece size. Smaller pieces of food (corn, peas) heat much more quickly than large chunks.
  • Amount of fat. Fat insulates the food and slows heat transfer. Most canning recipes require little or no added fats or oils.
  • The type of heating medium being used. Wet steam heats faster than dry air.
The many factors involved make it impossible to estimate the correct processing conditions for any food product. This is especially true for items which are mixtures of food with differing water content, piece size, fat content, or acidity as well as types and numbers of microorganisms present. The establishment of a correct, safe process requires laboratory research by trained scientists.  

Are home-canned foods the only concern? Infant botulism is a concern for children under one year of age. It is possible for bees to pick up the botulism spores from flowers or soil. These spores are not destroyed during the processing for honey. The botulism spores grow in the baby's intestinal tract and then produce the toxin. After the age of one year, this no longer happens because of higher acid levels in the baby's tummy.  This is why you should not give babies (under 1 year old) any honey!

Flavored oils can be a special concern if not prepared correctly. When herbs, garlic, or tomatoes are placed in oils, the botulism spores on the plant material can start to produce the toxin in this anaerobic (oxygenless) mixture. To be safe, keep these flavored oils refrigerated and make only the amount of herbal oils and butters that will be used in a few days. Using dried herbs and vegetables will also reduce the risk.

Baked potatoes wrapped in foil and kept at room temperature can also form the anaerobic conditions the botulism spores need to produce their toxin. For this reason, leftover potatoes should be refrigerated. Potato salad made from leftover baked potatoes has been implicated in botulism poisoning.

What precautions should I take?
  • Discard all raw or canned food that shows any sign of being spoiled.
  • Discard all bulging or swollen cans of food and food from glass jars with bulging lids.
  • Use only tested approved recipes (Ball Blue Book, USDA, University Extension service, etc.  (All recipes on PickYourOwn are from these, unless specifically noted)
  • Do not deviate substantially from the approved recipes.  Adding another teaspoon of spice or substituting one spice is usually fine, but changing base ingredients or substantially changing proportions or steps is dangerous, particularly with regard to acidifiers (lemon juice, vinegar, citric acid, etc.)
  • Do NOT invent your own recipe; unless you have access to a food science laboratory to culture and test it.
  • DO NOT TASTE food from swollen containers or food that is foamy or has a bad odor.
  • Process low-acid foods at temperatures above boiling (which can only occur under pressure) and for the recommended time for the size of can or jar you are using.
  • Do not assume that the pressure canners renders all low acid foods safe. Home pressure canners are not as hot as commercial equipment, so some food simply cannot be safely canned at home.  Pureed pumpkin and foods made from pumpkin puree, like pumpkin butter is a clear example of a food that is unsafe to can at home.
  • Do not assume that adding vinegar, lemon juice, citric acid, or other acids will make low acid foods safe to can in a water bath canner.
  • DO can low-acid foods in a pressure canner, following an approved recipe. Do not can low-acid foods in the oven, in water-bath, open kettle or vegetable cooker.
  • Clean all surfaces with chlorine/water solution (one tablespoon of bleach per gallon of water) that leaky containers may have contaminated . Then discard any sponges or cloths used for cleanup.
  • Do not give honey or foods with honey to infants under one year of age.
  1. National Center for Disease Control, Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  2. U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Foodborne Pathogenic Microorganisms and Natural Toxins Handbook, The Bad Bug Book.
  3. Clemson University Extension.
  4. Ohio State university Extension
  5. Oil Infusions and the Risk of Botulism, Colorado State University Cooperative Extension, Safefood new - Summer 1998 - Vol 2 / No. 4
  6. "Botulism Linked to Baked Potatoes".
  7. " Safe Home Canning of Fruits, Vegetables and Meats" - University of Minnesota
For more information on food borne illness, contact your local county Extension Agent (click here to find your county ext agent).

Examples in the news:
  • Botulism blamed on improper home-canning
February 27, 2009 - The Spokesman-Review, John Stucke - "A serious case of botulism in Spokane has prompted warnings from food preservation experts and health officials to follow strict safety rules when canning vegetables at home. A nurse in her 30s, along with two children younger than 10, were stricken with the nerve toxin after eating improperly canned green beans from a backyard garden. All three were given an antitoxin that was flown to Spokane from a special storage facility in Seattle. Special precautions must be taken when canning low-acid foods such as green beans and asparagus. Since most vegetables don’t have enough natural acidity to kill the bacteria, they must be canned using a pressure canner that can reach high temperatures. Or, vegetables may be pickled with enough vinegar to inhibit growth of the bacteria. As a safety precaution, canned vegetables should be boiled for 11 minutes at Spokane’s elevation before eating. Foods that were not canned following U.S. Department of Agriculture standards should be thrown away before opening." Click here for the full story.

  • Botulism in garlic with oil / refrigerated without heat processing first
Three people were hospitalized with botulism after eating a chopped garlic-in-oil mix that had been used in a spread for garlic bread in Kingston, New York. The bottled chopped garlic spread relied solely on refrigeration to ensure safety. The FDA has ordered companies to stop making the product. Most of the 10 to 30 outbreaks reported annually in the United States are associated with home canned foods. Occasionally, commercially produced foods have been involved in outbreaks. Source: The Bad Bug Book (US Government publication)

Link: http://www.pickyourown.org/botulism.htm

There are so many recipes out on the internet and in old cook books that list ingredients/food that is no longer considered safe for canning (bottling). The main reason why we know this is from research that has been conducted by the NCHFP in the US. The lack of research on this in Australia has led me to writing up this list for fellow preservers who may want a quick reference guide to some tricky ingredients. I've also included a note on most foods about why they are not considered safe anymore below ....
NOTE: If you have made something using one or more of these ingredients in a jar of preserves for instance, just refrigerate (instead of storing in the pantry) and enjoy!
If there are updates to be made, please let me know and I will update the list :)
   Fats / Dairy
ie. butter, milk (all kinds), cheese, cream (all kinds), yoghurt, eggs, tofu, soy, etc. Also any recipe that use one or more of these ingredients, such as mayonnaise, caramel, pudding, cream soups, cream vegetables, refried beans, nut butter (all kinds), pesto, chocolate (all kinds) etc.
WHY: These will go rancid if not refrigerated, developing harmful bacteria. Think of what happens if you leave milk on the counter! These ingredients change flavour and texture when heat is applied.
SAFE ALTERNATIVE: Refrigerate or freeze. There is one safe canning recipe that uses an oil and vinegar brine (see Marinated Mushrooms). Cocoa is a safe alternative for chocolate when canning.
ie. "fatty" cuts, organs (liver/pate), sausages, meats with fillers, meatloaf, etc. WHY: Organs are more dense so the heat from the processing will not penetrate to centre so will not kill all of the bacteria inside. The fat from canned meat will separate and gathers at the top of the jar after processing and could result in seal failure.
SAFE ALTERNATIVE: Trim your meat before canning, using leaner cuts if possible. If you're hot packing drain as much fat away as you can before processing.
   Wheat / Wheat Products / Oats / Flour / Flour Products
ie. wheat, bread, oats, grains, barley, rice. Also includes things like biscuits, crackers, dough, "cake in a jar" and "pie in a jar".
WHY: These will break down and also go rancid, but their cells are more dense so the heat from the processing will not penetrate to the jar centre so will not kill all of the bacteria inside.
SAFE ALTERNATIVE: Add these items when you open the jar instead.
   Pasta / Noodles
ie. pasta (all kinds), dried and fresh noodles (all kinds)
WHY: Pasta is made from flour (see Wheat above) and eggs (see Dairy above). So they will turn to mush and will go rancid after processing.
SAFE ALTERNATIVE: Can your soup base then add the noodles when re-heating. They'll taste much better!
ie. cornstarch (cornflour), tapioca, arrowroot, instant ClearJel, soup bases, packet mixes etc.
WHY: These break down during processing. Soup bases and packet mixes often have ingredients that are not safe for canning (ie. flour products).
SAFE ALTERNATIVE:  Use regular ClearJel (modified corn starch) for canning. It's sometimes labelled as cook-type Clear Jel.
ie. broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, eggplant, lettuce, olives, squash, artichokes. WHY: These vegetables are considered low-acid, so you would assume pressure canning processing. However, the processing period and high pressure would result in mushy, bland vegetables ...
SAFE ALTERNATIVE: Blanch and freeze, ready to add when heating jars of soup, or see if they are okay to pickle like these: brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, olives. You can also make sauerkraut with the cabbage!
    Mashed vegetables
ie. mashed potatoes, mashed pumpkin, pumpkin butter, mashed sweet potatoes, mashed parsnips, mashed squash, etc.
WHY: Once mashed these are too dense for the heat to penetrate during processing.
SAFE ALTERNATIVE: These vegetables are safe to pressure can in cubes, then drain and mash as needed before serving.
ie. bananas, mashed bananas, avocadoes, coconut milk.
WHY: Too thick / dense for the heat to penetrate during processing.
SAFE ALTERNATIVE: Freeze these fruits instead. You can also puree then freeze :)

Just ordered my water bath canning kit... can not wait to get this started! I AM EXCITED




“Wow – I Could Have Made My Own V-8!” Can Your Own Hot and Spicy Tomato Juice

August 24, 2012 by oldworldgarden 11

An easy way to make some hot and spicy tomato juice to can!

So as the garden season nears the end – are you are left with still more tomatoes and peppers?  Here is a quick and easy recipe to turn those extras into a great tasting hot and spicy tomato juice.

Although regular canned tomato juice is fantastic to use throughout the year – how about turning a few of those canned jars into a hot and spicy tomato juice drink.  Not only is it a great tasting and refreshing drink – but you can use it to liven up homemade chili, make a spicy spaghetti sauce, or use as a great base for a bloody mary.

Here’s How:

( This recipe will make enough to can about 6 quarts of juice )

Start with the following garden fresh ingredients:

Tomato juice is a great way to use up those ripening tomatoes on the vine

40 to 50 medium tomatoes (Use them all up here – Roma, Celebrity, Big Boy and any others you have)
2 onions (sweet yellow or vidalia work best)
2 red peppers
2 green peppers
4 jalapeno peppers
4 cayenne peppers
2 seranno peppers

4 Cajun Belles (optional)
4 cloves of garlic

If you have a food processor – chop up all the above ingredients (seeds and all) into a liquidy pulp and place on low to medium heat and cook down for an hour or so, stirring often to avoid scorching the bottom of the pan. If you don’t have a food processor – no worries – just chop up into small pieces and throw in a large pot and cook down..it may take a little longer – but it works just as well. The important thing is to get the tomato and vegetable mixture soft and cooked down to run it easily through a strainer or food mill.

When the mixture has heated and cooked down – strain it through a food mill into a clean pot to remove all of the skins and seeds.

Now add your spices (add to taste – some like a little more – some a little less)
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 teaspoon of celery salt
1/2 teaspoon of garlic salt

Heat on a low simmering boil for another 30 to 45 minutes.
Simply can up into quart jars, put on your lids and then water bath for 30 minutes. (You can also pressure can it for 12 minutes instead of the water bath)  You are left with some great tasting hot and spicy tomato juice around to enjoy through the winter months!   – Jim and Mary

1. FRESH, FRESH, FRESH (and I do mean FRESH) VEGETABLES:   If your vegetables are becoming soft, then that is how they will turn out when canned. Use softer vegetables in cooked dishes – but don’t use them for preserving.  You want to make sure you have firm vegetables when you are canning.  You can place them in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator for a few days until you have gathered enough crops to make a full batch, but for the best results – can them as soon as they come out of the garden.

2. HOT WATER BATH : a large stock pot will work just fine.  You want to use the largest diameter stock pot you have.  If you are thinking of purchasing a commercial Hot Water Bath product from the store, I would like to suggest something different.  If at all possible, make the jump and purchase a Pressure Canner.  You can use the base as your Hot Water Bath and you are able to can so much more using a Pressure Canner.

3. THE INTERNET : Sure, you could go purchase the Ball Canning Guide, but there is a wealth of information at your fingertips with the Internet.  You can find basic tips, recipes, and even videos to take you step-by-step into the canning process. Be smart and do your research   Now you will be able to find out what you may can by using a Hot Water Bath and when you will need a Pressure Canner. The specific instructions are  NOT interchangeable!  As a great resource, you can always use the online Ball Canning Guide too!

4. $6 FOR 3 BASIC TOOLS : These 3 tools are a LIFESAVER when you begin to can.  I am serious – spend the extra $6 dollars to purchase these items – it will save you time, energy and possibly prevent burns to your hands down the road:

  • Funnel : Do not use the one in the garage!!!  These funnels are designed to fit the rims of canning jars.  They will prevent extra leakage and drips that will save you clean up time.

  • Jar Lifter : This will allow you to place the jars in and out of the boiling water without splashing and burning your fingertips – Must HAVE!

  • Lid Lifter : You would be surprised how this magnetic tool will make your life easier when canning.  Typically when you try to get your lids out of the hot water, they end up sticking to one another, and then you waste valuable time trying to separate the lids.  Just place 3 or 4 lids in a small skillet with water covering the bottom of the pan. When you are ready for the lid, use the lid lifter to magnetically attach to it and place it on your jar.  Simple as that!

5. TOWELS and WASHCLOTHS : Sounds simple, but make sure you have 4-5 towels, and 2-3 washcloths handy during the canning process.  You will be surprised on how many you use — and if you are like me, you can’t remember where you put the one you were just using.  Wiping the rims of the jars is a critical process of canning — keeping an extra washcloth close by will come in handy.

Original article posted here: http://oldworldgardenfarms.com/2012/07/22/the-must-haves-for-canning/