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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

For Your Information

Please watch this area for important information like updates, food recalls, polls, contests, coupons, and freebies.
  • [March 19, 2020] - Effective Mar 17, this blog will no longer accept advertising. The reason is very simple. If I like a product, I will promote it without compensation. If I don't like a product, I will have no problem saying so.
  • [March 17, 2020] - A return to blogging! Stay tuned for new tips, resources and all things food related.
  • [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! [Update: 4ever Recap appears to be out of business.]

Popular Posts

Canning FYI

[The information presented here will continue to be added to as I find time so please check the FYI section for updates on this page.  Please note information on this page is copyright protected.]

This is a Canadian blog and as such I tend to promote Canadian methods and resources.   However, I would be remiss not to include other valuable home canning resources.  The canning recipes on this blog follow USDA processing guidelines. The canning instructions on this website are for altitudes of 1,000 feet (305 M) or less above sea level. Those canning at higher altitudes should follow the altitude adjustment chart for proper processing times and/or pressure.  I do use reusable canning lid (eg. Tattler, 4everrecap, glass lids, glass inserts) that are not recommended by the USDA in addition to the metal snap lids recommended by the USDA.  The reusable canning lids are every bit as safe as the metal snap lids.  The only difference besides the absence of BPA is the manufacturers of the reusable canning lids have not paid to have the USDA test them.

Please note, from time to time references will be made to the USDA.  It is important to understand that the USDA does not 'approve' or 'disprove' anything including recipes.  Rather they make recommendations based on their research test findings.  The USDA is the leading expert but not the only expert with respect to home canning.

Acidifying Tomatoes and Tomato Products:
Tomatoes are botanically a fruit but they hover right around the safe pH 4.6 for boiling water bath (BWB) and most tomato products can be pressure canned.  The safe canning (USDA) guidelines are for all tomato products to be acidified using lemon juice or citric acid although vinegar (5% acetic acid) may be used in some recipes.  Salsa has been indicated as a problem home canned food.  For that reason it is recommended you use only tried, tested and true recipes from reliable sources for canning any canning product.  [Note that any home canned tomato product on this blog meets those requirements and pH has been tested as well to ensure the product is canned using the safest method.]  Tomatoes and tomato products should be acidified by adding:

  • 1 tbsp (15ml) 100% pure no preservatives added lemon juice per 500 ml (pint) jar.  Use only commercially prepared lemon juice that has been standardized.  Do not use any lemon juice that contains sodium benzoate as that converts to benzene, a known carcinogen, under heat and acidic conditions.
  • ¼ tsp (1 ml) citric acid per per 500 ml (pint) jar.  I prefer using citric acid because it is shelf stable, doesn't impart a flavour into the tomatoes and doesn't contain sodium benzoate.  It also is a lot easier to store

Altitude Adjustment Chart:

altitude adjustment chart ©

Botulism is a food poisoning caused by the toxin produced by the spores of Clostridium botulinum.  The spores of C. botulinum are present are found naturally in soil.  They are very heat resistant.  The spores cannot grow in high acid (eg. home canned pickles, pH 4.6 or lower) conditions. Under anerobic, low acid conditions (eg. home canned vegetables, pH 4.6 or higher) the spores can grow and produce the toxin which is colourless, odourless and cannot be detected by taste.  However, it only takes a very, very small amount of C. botulinum spores to make you extremely sick and could cause death.  The spores are not destroyed in boiling water bath (BWB) which reaches a temperture of 100ºC (212ºF) but can be destroyed at the higher temper of 116ºC (240ºF) reached in a pressure canner (PC).

While the risk of C. botulinum spores being present in your jars of low acid foods (eg. vegetables, mushrooms, soups, stews, meats, dried beans, seafoods, stocks) always assume they may be present.  Do not can any low acid food in a BWB canner!  Always process low acid foods in a PC according to the proper processing time for that food, adjusting for altitude if necessary according to the altitude adjustment chart.

Useful articles on botulism:

Canadian Canning Resources:

Canadian Sources for Canning Supplies:
  • Bulk Barn - citric acid
  • Canadian Tire - canning jars, pressure canners, miscellaneous canning supplies, Bernardin publications
  • Dollarama - canning lids (lowest price)
  • Golda's Kitchen - Clear Jel, Bernardin pectin, Bernardin publications
  • Harvest Plus - Pomona's pectin [address: 200 Crabapple Crescent, Parksville BC V9P 2P7, (877) 706-8493]
  • Home Hardware - canning jars, pressure canners, miscellaneous canning supplies

Canning FAQs:
  • Can I process green beans in a boiling water bath canner? - No, green beans are a low acid food and must be processed in a pressure canner to ensure any possible C. botulinum spores are destroyed.
  • My jars failed to seal?  Do I have to throw my food out? - Check for lid seal after the food has cooled for 24 hours.  If one or more jars of food fails to seal during a canning batch they can be reprocessed providing the seal failure is noticed at that time.  There may be a reduction in food quality due to the extra processing.  The alternative is to refrigerate the food and use it within a day or two. 
  • How long will my home canned food last? - Properly stored home canned food should be used within one year for maximum quality.  However, home canned food that has been stored longer than one year can still be safely consumed providing the seal has not been broken.

Canning Problems:
From time to time certain problems can happen when canning.  The most common problem is seal failure.  This will affect the food safety if it happens during storage.  Other problems affect the quality of the food but the food is still safe to consume. 

  • food darken in the top of the jar

Canning Videos:
  • Home Canning Basics Video - Two Types of Canners

  • Here is a video I made of my All American pressure canner in action.  Note that it has both dial and weighted gauges giving an audible and visual of the pressure in the canner.

Certain Foods Should Not Be Canned at Home:
The following present problems in terms of either safety or quality  for the home canner so should not be canned at home.

  • pastas
  • rice or barley
  • pureed pumpkin or squash
  • milks, cheeses, eggs, butter
  • anything with a high oil content
  • foods containing other thickeners than Clear Jel

Other Canning Resources (non-Canadian):

Other Sources for Canning Supplies (non-Canadian):

Steam Canners: - official Utah State University position on steam canners (.pdf)

Useful Canning Articles:

Using Clear Jel:
using clear jel ©

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