When we lived in PA, I had access to my MIL's equipment, I canned a lot, and often. Taking advantage of nature's bounty is something dear to my heart. HubbyDearest and I moved too far from them, she has passed on, and FIL has other interests, so the canner and accessories are no longer available. However, my rural community has a county-run and staffed canning facility. It is free to all county residents. We bring our jars and other necessities along with the produce or whatever else is being canned. We work with the staff getting the items ready, and then they take over with the actual processing. Where it might take several days working at home, the same can be accomplished in only a few hours at the canning center. In addition, there is absolutely NO guesswork. It's all done according to proven timing charts. Such a blessing!! I wonder if this is unique to my area, or do such facilities exist other places?
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Intro and Chicken Stock question - Page 2post #31 of 399/28/10 at 10:23am
ChefTalk.com Top Pickspost #32 of 399/28/10 at 10:57amQuote:Originally Posted by Grumio
Thanks, KYH, AG & PM for the info.
I canned stock & glace in my pressure cooker (an 8-quart Mirro with a 5-10-15 weight gauge) for a couple of years, and it worked perfectly. Then I finally got a modern refrigerator with a decent sized frost free freezer. I freeze my stock now. I would can again, though, if the need arose.
Today I went to Wearever's website and looked up Mirro pressure cookers and canners. While they produce pressure cookers as small as 4qt, their smallest pressure cooker/canner is a 12qt size. Then I called the toll-free number [1-800-527-7727] and spoke with a consumer representative for Mirro products. She said the smallest pressure canner they now sell is 12qt. I asked about using an 8qt for canning, and she said "We don't recommend it." Then I asked her when they stopped recommending the 8qt for canning. She said "About 10 years ago." Grumio, because the manual for your cooker gives directions for canning, I'm guessing it is at least that old, and the instruction manual is obsolete in regards to it being used for canning foods. Whether there is a real risk, or nothing more than a perceived risk to continuing to can with your pressure cooker, I don't know. But one thing is certain, both Mirro and Presto are covering their collective fannies on this issue by not recommending their 8qt pressure pans for use as canners.
Edited by amazingrace - 9/28/10 at 6:17pmpost #33 of 399/30/10 at 5:26amThread Starter
Sorry for the hiatus but I've been on the road a bit for work. My Pressure "canner" is a 23 Qt Canner which can also be used as a cooker, not the other way around. I'm not using a silly little 8 Qt cooker as a canner. I've taken it down to my local Ag Extension for calibration once a year and they have assured me on multiple occaisions that it's perfectly adequate for the job, even for low acid foods.
I hope that clears up some confusion.
Really good info in this thread, even on the side track.post #34 of 399/30/10 at 4:56pmQuote:Originally Posted by HKUSP45C
Sorry for the hiatus but I've been on the road a bit for work. My Pressure "canner" is a 23 Qt Canner which can also be used as a cooker, not the other way around. I'm not using a silly little 8 Qt cooker as a canner.
I've taken it down to my local Ag Extension for calibration once a year and they have assured me on multiple occaisions that it's perfectly adequate for the job, even for low acid foods.
I hope that clears up some confusion.
Really good info in this thread, even on the side track.
Although it may not be clear to everyone, I am assuming that it is the canner that you get calibrated once a year, since pressure cookers do not need this sort of adjustment.post #35 of 399/30/10 at 5:02pm
Nor, for that matter, do canners that use jigglers.
Dial gauges, however, should be recalibrated as necessary.They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard KiplingThey have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kiplingpost #36 of 3910/1/10 at 12:05am
AG - My cooker is closer to 20 years old - rather amazing that I still have the manual! It lists their two & a half quart cooker in the canning chart, as well as the 4, 6, 8, etc. I wonder what caused the CYA move - change in the equipment itself, or some belated food-safety discovery (real or in the legal dept's fevered imagination).
& KY - I always found something ineffably cool about having homemade, home-canned stock on hand, in a way that having frozen stock just doesn't match at all.The genesis of all the world's great cuisines can be summed up in a four word English phrase: Don't throw that away.The genesis of all the world's great cuisines can be summed up in a four word English phrase: Don't throw that away.post #37 of 3910/1/10 at 6:39amThread StarterQuote:
If it has a dial gauge (whether it's a cooker or canner) it should be recalibrated regularly, what "regularly" means is up to each individual. This isn't nearly as important for a pressure cooker since you're eating the food right off of the stove. Canners, however, are employing a pretty exact science and therefore your equipment should also be pretty exact. Your local AG extension office will do this for free if you lug your canner to them. I try to do this once a year at the end of winter.
I didn't just make up a reason to head to the local extension, it's a pretty common factoid in the canning circles I run in and the boards I read.post #38 of 3910/1/10 at 10:16amQuote:
Everyone should make a regular practice of getting the gauge recalibrated. Even those whose canners have the weighted regulators should check in at the local extension periodically. There's always something they can learn [or, quite often unlearn] regarding equipment and procedures.post #39 of 3910/1/10 at 10:45amQuote:
In the years since you purchased your PC, a lot has changed, starting with the food itself. For instance, tomatoes have long been regarded as a high-acid fruit, and could be treated with [almost] reckless abandon in regards to canning. However, the tomatoes being grown today for commercial use, as well as many of the seeds and seedlings available to home gardeners, have been "de-acidified" (probabaly not a real word, but it works here). As a result, older time tables and canning methods can no longer be trusted.
For many years, the home canner could rely on the equipment makers for time charts and other processing information, including the type and size of the canners they could use. Enter now, stage left: The USDA. This fine organization tests canning equipment, and tries to ensure that the information released to the consumer is accurate. Because of the problems that occur with smaller pressure cookers [canner-wannabees], the USDA stopped testing cookers under a certain size, and therefore no reliable time charts exist for processing foods in these smaller vessels. It was believed that adding a few more minutes under pressure would compensate for the accelerated cool-down. But considering all the factors at play, it's just not that simple. Intervening variables such as allowing for altitude, make it very difficult, if not impossible, to provide accurate time charts for anything smaller than a 12 qt canner.
Rather than just issuing a statement saying anything under a certain size may not be called, or sold as, a canner, the USDA went soft, and says they don't recommend canning in smaller cookers. This, of course, continues to create confusion and contention.
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