Monday, August 22, 2011

Canning Week 2011

Ott, A and I are back this year with another Canning Week! Like last year, there will be a recipe contest and other prizes. This year, we'll have new prizes to announce each day so be sure to check here and over at A Latte With Ott,A daily. Each day you can check out the canning conversations we have going on in our facebook group "from garden plOTT to kitchen pOTT."  And if you are on Pinterest check out our Canning Board.  Also you can tweet along with us on twitter using #canningweek2011. If you're new to canning, or maybe you remember something about your grandma canning, but really not sure what this whole process is, here's a brief history.

In the early 19th century, the French discovered that by putting food in jars, then heating the jars, the food would keep over the harsh winters. Since then, the processes have been improved, but still the same principle remains. The science behind canning is simple; food+air(including mold, bacteria and other particulates around us)+ripening enzymes=food spoilage. Ripening enzymes are what cause your apples to turn brown after sitting out in the air for just a few minutes. Canning removes the air and suspends the ripening enzymes. Think of it as suspended animation. By heating the jar, it forces the air out. Boiling removes the oxygen remaining in the jar, which helps to form a tight seal between the lid and the rim. That’s why it’s important to be careful when tightening rings on jars; they should be just snug enough so they don’t come off, but loose enough to allow the oxygen to escape.
Fast forward to 1943. WWII brings a shortage of produce to those in the States. Most of the fruits and vegetables are being shipped overseas to the troops, and rations are put in place. The solution? Victory Gardens!
In America, this era was the canning heyday. It is estimated 40% of all produce grown during this time was done by the "backyard farmer". With modern technology and transportation, the need for home canning has all but vanished. So why do we do it? Whether you want to preserve your hard work and literally not let the fruits of your labor go to waste, or you're cutting back on costs, home canning can be a rewarding experience. There are two types of canning methods-water bath and pressure canning. I'm new to the pressure canner world, but I've been canning using the water bath method for a few years now...and no botulism! So for all of you out there who are iffy on trying out home canning, my suggestion is to start out simple using the water bath method and an easy applesauce. Fruits can be canned using the water bath method because they contain a high amount of acid and the boiling temperature of 212° will destroy all bacteria. To preserve all vegetables and meats, a pressure canner must be used. This is because vegetables are low acid and the temperature necessary to kill off bacteria needs to reach 230° or more; generally 240. Obviously, this can’t be achieved by simply boiling water. Only a pressure canner can generate that kind of heat. Whether you're using a pressure canner or the waterbath method, you'll need jars! Only glass jars that have been tempered (strengthened) for heat and cold should be used in home canning. Lids should only be used once, but screwbands may be reused. However, Tattler makes a reusable lid. You can learn more about it here. This week, Ott,A and I will share some of our recipes, tips and tricks. Each day, we'll have a new way to enter our giveaways posted, so be sure to come back. Also, make sure to enter your canning recipe in the linky. And we are super excited to announce that our Guest Judge of the Linky Contest will be the Hip Girl herself... Kate from the blog The Hip Girls Guide to Homemaking. She will choose the linked up blog post with the best recipes, pictures and overall write up and award a copy of her new book The Hip Girls Guide to Homemaking.
We'll also have a prize for the most "likes" on the canning linky; so tell your friends to come check it out and "like" their favorite entry. Make sure to join our group facebook page. It's a place to chat with your fellow canning enthusiasts and ask some of the experienced canners what they recommend or share recipes.

If you comment on any of our posts, make sure to head over here and enter the giveaway using the Rafflecopter form! 


Sarah said...

I am so excited to be following along this week! I have been wanted to learn how to can for years and I just purchased some supplies (only jars and a magnetic lid picker-uper but that was all the store had). I am excited to see all of the recipes an tips this week!

Sarah from The House That Ag Built

Heather Lynne said...

I love that you are having a canning week. I just got into canning this year and I absolutely love it! I can't wait until it's wintertime and I can enjoy fresh fruits and veggies!

Jaime Deen said...

I'm so glad to see your canning post, I haven't canned since I was young with my grandmother so I need all the help I can get! Thanks!