Friday, August 17, 2007

I Get Mail...

To help canners get up to date, I thought I'd sum up some of the most frequently asked email questions about canning:

1. Can I use either my stovetop or electric pressure cooker for canning if it reaches 15PSI?

2. The house gets so hot when I'm canning. Can I use my canner on a propane camp stove outside?

3. Why do I have to vent the canner?

4. Does a pressure canner have to be a certain size?

5. Can I use my pressure cooker or pressure canner as a regular waterbath canner?

6. Is it safe to process low acid foods in a waterbath kettle if I let it boil for several hours?

7. What's the best way to store my canner?

Want the answers? Read the rest of this article.

Several email questions tcame in this week about faulty information found on other websites. So let me send out a word of caution to everyone to be very cautious about accepting canning advice from self-styled Internet "experts".

Yes, I know there are many websites that give incorrect -- if not down right dangerous -- canning info, but that's the nature of the Internet. Just be safe and be aware that a wealth of fact-based and up-to-date articles are available FREE through online state extension services. That's why the only canning directions I link to are from USDA, scientifically tested extension websites.

My advice is to play it safe and not risk the potential of foodborne illnesses. Pass up any online canning info that is not based on the current USDA guidelines. This will also include all those well-meaning friends who want to loan you canning books from the 70s, and the elderly relatives who want to tell you how they canned a 100 quarts of green beans in a number 10 wash tub over a wood fire back in the 30s.

Some of my readers are asking about pressure cooker manufacturers who advertise that their cooker can be substituted for a pressure canner. The latest USDA recommendations DOES NOT support their claim, so let the buyer beware. Remember, your family's health and safety always comes first so lets err on the side of caution and follow the scientific guidelines when it comes to canning.

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