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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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  • [January 15, 2016] - It's National Soup Month so this month's posts will focus on soups. Yum!
  • [February 1, 2016] - An interesting report on why you should always choose organic tea verses non-organic: Toxic Tea (pdf format)
  • Sticky Post - Warning: 4ever Recap reusable canning lids. The reports are growing daily of these lids losing their seal during storage. Some have lost their entire season's worth of canning to these seal failures!

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Sunday, December 09, 2012

A Generous Gift with a Canning Lesson

As a home canner who processes well over 1,400 jars of food each year, I am always very appreciative of any free jars that come my way.  Sometimes the jars come filled with food that I have to discard then clean the jars and other times the jars come empty with only cleaning needed. At any rate when my husband recently brought me home three cases (36 jars) of 500 ml jars, I was elated.  After doing a bit of power canning, I am getting low on jars which is fine because that means the jars I have are filled but you know a home canner doesn't just can during the peak season of May to October.  Oh no, a home canner tends to can year round filling jars as quickly as they are emptied.

three dozen free mason jars
My husband brought me home 3 cartons of filled jars.  A friend was cleaning out a home and came across the jars so gave them to my husband.  I, of course was elated.  They were filled so I had to empty each of the jars which was not as easy of a task as you would think.  Still, free jars are free jars.  In this case, the jars were in their original cartons but unlabelled so I had no idea of the actual processing date, not that I was intending to use the contents.  Always put the month and year of anything you freeze or home can on the package! If going by the boxes, I would guess the jars were canned about 2 years ago.  The cartons were fairly new going by the UPC and store coding so the product was more than likely canned in 2010 or 2011.

damaged lids
The jars were filled with crushed tomatoes that actually looked nice.  It always bothers me to toss out someone's hard work.  In this case, the person had left the rings on the lids without washing and drying both jars and rings.  That meant the rings were almost welded to the jars. Most of the jars showed signs of seal failure (eg. centre button up, bulging lids) as shown in the picture and clearly the product was spoiled going by the smell.  I don't know whether the seal failures were due to improper canning methods or improper storage but it was quite apparent that the seals had failed.  The food waste disposal unit was in overtime but it handled things nicely.

Now, this is a clear example of what to look for in home canned foods.  If the lid is bulging, buckled or otherwise not sealed then do not consume the product.  Do not taste the product!  Metal lids will bulge or when pressed in the centre will give indicating the seal has been compromised.  Any product should be appropriately discarded.  If you are using Tattler lids or glass inserts, the lids will not bulge but rather the lid and rubber gasket will pop right off.  If that happens, do not consume the product.  Chances are the food is only contaminated with bacteria BUT food born illnesses are easily avoided and there is no point taking chances.  The rule of thumb with any food is if in doubt throw it out.


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