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Hello Guest!
Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.

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Steam Canning News

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Steam Canning News Empty Steam Canning News

Post  littlesapphire 1/28/2016, 9:00 am

Hey guys!  I just found out today that the National Center for Home Food Preservation (that's run by the government), has said that steam canning is safe!  Check it out here:

http://nchfp.uga.edu/publications/nchfp/factsheets/steam_canners.html

I bought a steam canner last year and just love it.  It's a million times faster and easier than a water bath canner!
littlesapphire
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Post  AtlantaMarie 1/28/2016, 9:08 am

Julie - keep in mind that it's specifically for foods that are a pH of 4.6 or below. It's NOT to be used in place of ALL water-bath canning! So check your recipe...

This is from your link:

"Atmospheric steam canners are used for processing naturally acid or properly acidified foods with natural or equilibrated pH values of 4.6 or below. They are not pressurized vessels used for processing for low-acid foods.

Sufficient studies and peer review have been completed that we are now able to say that as long as certain critical controls at various steps in the canning process are achieved, USDA and NCHFP process times for canning acid or properly acidified foods (pH of 4.6 or below) at home with properly research based recipes and procedures can be used."

Personally, I don't own one nor want one. I've seen them at work & I just prefer that I don't have to mess with making sure the pH is below that. For me, I guess it's an extra safety factor...
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Post  littlesapphire 1/28/2016, 9:19 am

Marie, as it turns out, 4.6 is the PH you need for any kind of high acid canning, water bath or steam canning.  So anything you can water bath can, you can steam can.

Generally speaking, the only thing that might be tricky is tomatoes, and that's true for water bath canning as well.  That's why modern canning books always say to add lemon juice to you tomatoes before you can them.
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Post  littlesapphire 1/28/2016, 9:42 am

In case that doesn't convince you, here's something from NCHFP about PH http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/general/ensuring_safe_canned_foods.html

"Acid foods have a pH of 4.6 or lower. They include fruits, pickles, sauerkraut, jams, jellies, marmalades, and fruit butters."

As you'll see, low acid means 4.6 or lower.  So all water bath canning recipes will work for steam canning.
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Post  sanderson 1/28/2016, 2:26 pm

I wonder what is the pH of spaghetti sauce.

http://www.pickyourown.org/ph_of_foods.htm

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Post  trolleydriver 1/28/2016, 2:56 pm

OKay ... remember my concerns about botulism when I did my first canning last Fall? I made sure I was following proper recipes (e.g. USDA) and canning acidified foods. If I recall correctly you need a pressure canner for non-acidic foods. 

sanderson ... tomatoes can be borderline on acidity.
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Post  AtlantaMarie 1/28/2016, 3:24 pm

Call me a safety fanatic, lol...

Let us know how it works for you, Julie! I'd like to see some pictures.
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Post  littlesapphire 1/28/2016, 4:46 pm

@sanderson wrote:I wonder what is the pH of spaghetti sauce.

http://www.pickyourown.org/ph_of_foods.htm
It depends on the recipe.  Every recipe I've seen that is meant to be canned in a boiling water canner calls for lemon juice (like this one).  If you follow a modern recipe, you should be ok.  I'm pretty sure the person running pickyourown.org is pretty up to date with the science of canning Smile

TD, yep, you're right; low-acid food needs a pressure canner!  You can can your high-acid food in a pressure canner, too, but that seems like a waste of time and energy to me when a water bath (or steam!) canner will do just as well. 

Marie, I understand wanting to be safe Smile  I bought a dual canner when I heard about the steam canner study being done last year.  I can water bath in it and steam can in it.  It's also an awesome stock pot!  Anyway, I bought it because I needed a new canner and I wanted a steam canner, but I didn't want to use it until  I knew that steam canning was safe.  I did use it last year when I heard the preliminary results from the study.  It's so easy to use.  My model has a temp gauge in the lid so you know for sure when it's reached the right temp.  I'll be sure to post pictures sometime!  (The best part is that you don't have to wait an hour for a huge pot of water to boil Steam Canning News 671790 which always drove me crazy with water bath canning!)
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Post  Scorpio Rising 1/28/2016, 6:21 pm

Inspired, I called my county extension agency today and got on the canning class list! I think terminology is a bit confusing; low acid = higher pH.

I think the extension agency is offering water bath canning beginners class. And they have other preserving your harvest classes too....I am in!
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Post  AtlantaMarie 1/28/2016, 9:44 pm

LOL! I hear ya, Julie!

It gets rough when you've got a class of 15 ladies waiting their turn to mix, full jars, & wait for water... The last class I did for the Becoming an Outdoors-Woman group, I had to get there at 6 am to get water on, etc. to make sure we were ready.

I'll be watching with interest to see your posts, pictures, etc...!

SR - you'll have a good time at that class! Does your Extension Svc offer the Master Food Preserver class? If so, grab it! Here in GA, EVEN THOUGH the Nat'l Home Food Preservation Center is only 35 miles away, they don't offer that class. There's an on-line class of some sort, but it's not quite the same as being there. And I don't think it's as detailed. It certainly doesn't have the title...
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Post  littlesapphire 1/29/2016, 10:04 am

SR, you won't be sorry!  Canning is a lot of fun, and it's sooo nice to be able to go grab some of your garden produce in the middle of winter.

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Oh my, Marie, I can't imagine what it must be like teaching a class on canning!  That would really make me want to pull my hair out!
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Post  AtlantaMarie 1/29/2016, 11:09 am

Actually, we have a lot of fun... It's a LOT of up-front work to make sure I've got everything ready to go so they can take samples home. And we do easy stuff...

This last BOW in November, we concentrated on pressure canning. So we did corn (I bought frozen & just heated up) and Italian meat sauce w/ venison. Just bought a gallon of tomato sauce, added spices, then added cooked venison once I got to the conference. (Was up cooking venison till 11:30 that night! In my Airstream, no less!)

The year before we did jelly & fruit for water bath canning.

This year, I'm planning on dehydrating. I'll bring them samples of cup-a-soup, fruit cocktail, etc.
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