The Right Way To Safely Can Non-Acidic Foods (And Avoid Deadly Botulism)
Knowledge on canning non-acidic foods is invaluable to the modern homesteader. Knowing that these canned items will rest safely on the shelves of your storage room or pantry – and be edible when you need them – can give you peace of mind.
What Is Non-Acidic Food?
Non-acid foods do not contain acids like tomatoes do, and they are not canned with vinegar. As stated by the Ball website, non-acidic foods need to process at a temperature of 240 degrees Fahrenheit. This ensures that no fungus grows within the jars.
Non-acidic foods also need to be pressure canned. Unlike non-acidic foods, acidic foods only need to be put into boiling water for a set amount of time. Examples of non-acidic foods include meats, soups and vegetables such as carrots, peas or asparagus.
Materials Needed to Can Non-Acidic Foods
Pressure canning non-acidic foods requires you to have a few items:
- Pressure canner.
- (Make sure there aren’t any indents, scratches, rust, etc., on the bands.)
- (Make sure that there aren’t any scratches or tears on the seals.)
- Clean glass jars.
- Jar lifter (optional).
- Head space measurer (optional).
- Long thin spoon.
- Recipe from a safe canning book such as a Ball book.
How to Pressure Can Non-Acidic Foods
1. The first step to pressure canning is ensuring that the glass jars, bands and lids are cleaned with hot soapy water. Also, make sure that they don’t have any nicks or cracks.
2. Put the jars in hot water until needed. This ensures that when you put the food into the jars and put the jars into the water, they don’t crack.
3. Get the pressure canner and add two to three inches of water into it. Bring and keep the water at a simmer until the cans are ready to be put in.
4. Prep the food that you are putting into the jars. This depends on what your recipe says.
5. Remove the jars from the hot water, and add the food. Make sure the correct headspace is achieved as in the recipe you are using. Take out air bubbles with the spoon or headspace tool.
6. Clean the rims of the jars with a clean moist rag to wipe off all of the junk that could prevent a proper seal.
7. Add the seals and then the bands. Tighten until fingertip tight.
8. Put jars in the pressure canner.
9. Lock the pressure canner and open the vent pipe. Leave the heat on medium to high heat and let it blow steam for 10 minutes to ensure that there isn’t any air in the pressure canner.
10. Close the vent pipe by whatever means is appropriate for your own canner. Allow the pressure to build up to where you need it and then keep it at whatever your recipe calls for by adjusting the heat.
11. When it has finished after the amount of time needed for your recipe, take the jars out of the canner using the jar lifter, if you have one.
12. Put them on a towel or on the stove.
13. Leave them alone for a day to ensure proper sealing.
14. Lastly, check the seals to ensure that they have been properly sealed. You should be able to press on the top and it should not move up and down. Also, try to pry off the seal, gently. If you cannot pull it off and it does not move up or down, then you have a perfect seal. If there is a jar that did not seal, then put it in your fridge and eat it soon. As for the sealed jars, put them in a cool and dark place, label them, and leave them there for as long as they stay good (check the jars every year to ensure they are still sealed and suitable for consumption).
Why You Need to Be Careful
It is critical to ensure that the cans of food are properly pressure canned during the processing. Without proper sealing, mold can grow in it, and one could be Clostridium botulinum. This is a very dangerous mold that can paralyze and kill you. Following these directions will ensure that you have a safe and fruitful canning experience each time!
What advice would you add? Share your thoughts in the section below: