Finally It Fells Like Fall

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What a wonderful summer All In A Jar had with the students that attended classes. Thank you! We had access to a lot of beautiful fruits and vegetables to play with in class. Some people think it is time to put away the canning supplies. But wait… no need to; we have more canning to do. What about all those amazing pears? You can make pears with toasted almonds and almond liqueur, pear ginger jam, hearty chutney or pear halves in simple syrup. So many varieties of apples out there too, what about a spicy apple butter, apple pie filling,  applesauce or apple jelly. For those oranges, how about marmalade or sparkling wine orange jelly or orange vanilla crud. Some other great ideas, persimmon jam or butter, pickled brussels sprouts, cauliflower, onions, carrots and beets. Fall and winter are great times to can, added bonus of warming your home up too. Especially when using your pressure canner because it has a long processing cook-time. With the pressure canner you can be making soups, stews, beans, tuna, and much more. This is a great time to make some homemade sausage for the freezer; cooler days work best when working with meat. Don’t let the cold weather or rain stop you from canning! Homemade canned goods make the best gifts. So get in the kitchen and start canning! The holidays are  coming.
November 29 Saturday is support local small businesses. Please remember our local small businesses when shopping for gifts this holiday season.

All In A Jar offers Gift Certificates.

All In A Jar will be adding to the class calendar in the next few days. Check out what will be offered in January and February. Happy Canning!

All In A Jar offers Gift Certificates.

See you in class

Berries Follow my blog with Bloglovin

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I love Berries. This year has been wonderful for berries. I have been finding them at Safeway, Sprouts, and Walnut Creek Produce. Despite the drought, they are tasting amazing.  When I find them at the right price I buy several packages and place them on a cookie sheet ,then put them into the freezer for one hour. After the hour, I place them in freezer bags writing how many cups of berries with the date too. At this point I will have berries in the freezer to play with in the winter. This is a great way to preserving food until you can get to it.

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See you in class

 

Canning Pumpkin & Winter Squash

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Freezer Jars

Who doesn’t love warm pumpkin pie in the Fall and a hot bowl of squash stew in Winter? People ask me all the time, “Is it possible to can pumpkin and squash?” Of course, it is possible, but for the home-canner (and especially beginners) the simple answer is: No! The answer as to why lies in the parameters for food safety specifically laid out by the USDA. Simply put, pumpkin and squash are very low acid foods and because the consistency of pureed pumpkin and squash so often varies, officials have been unable to set forth safe canning procedures for this type of produce. Although, they explain, you may can it in a cooked, cubed form: see this page for instructions about how to can it in cubed form. You can always freeze it, too, in cubed or pureed or ready pie-filling form (see this page for those instructions). And while I do have a recipe for canning pumpkin butter, I still keep the jars in the back of the fridge until I use them. Below is the article that explains food safety regulations for canning/not canning pumpkin and other squash. Canning and Preserving are easy and fun but it is key to follow safety procedures at all time.

According to The National Center for Home Food Preservation (a land-grant university consortium sponsored by the USDA, and considered to be the leading authorities on food safety science and food preservation research) (and I am quoting them here):

“Home canning is not recommended for pumpkin butter or any mashed or pureed pumpkin or winter squash, but we do have directions for canning cubed pumpkin. Pumpkin puree can be frozen or made into a spicy pumpkin leather…

There are not sufficient data available to allow establishing safe processing times for any of these types of products. It is true that previous USDA recommendations had directions for canning mashed winter squash, but USDA withdrew those recommendations…

Some of the factors that are critical to the safety of canned pumpkin products are the viscosity (thickness), the acidity and the water activity. Studies conducted at the University of Minnesota in the 1970’s indicated that there was too much variation in viscosity among different batches of prepared pumpkin purees to permit calculation of a single processing recommendation that would cover the potential variation among products (Zottola et. al, 1978). Pumpkin and winter squash are also low-acid foods (pH > 4.6) capable of supporting the growth of Clostridium botulinum bacteria which can cause the very serious illness, botulism, under the right storage conditions. If the bacteria are present and survive processing, and the product has a high enough water activity, they can thrive and produce toxin in the product.

More recent research with pumpkin butter has been done at the University of Missouri. Pumpkin butter is mashed or pureed pumpkin that has had large quantities of sugar added to it, but not always enough to inhibit pathogens. Sometimes an ingredient such as vinegar or lemon juice is added to the formulation to increase the acidity (decrease the pH). However, pumpkin butters produced by home canners and small commercial processors in Missouri have had pH values as high as 5.4. In fact, the pH values seemed to be extremely variable between batches made by the same formulation (Holt, 1995).

It is not possible at this point to evaluate a recipe for pumpkin or mashed squash for canning potential by looking at it. At this point, research seems to indicate variability of the products is great, and in several ways that raise safety concerns. It is best to freeze pumpkin butters or mashed squash.” (emphasis added)

Obviously, pumpkin pie filling is essentially “pureed pumpkin” and similar to pumpkin butter. This means that neither the cooked pumpkin puree nor the pumpkin pie filling (puree plus sugar and spices) would be candidates for safe home canning.

The University of Illinois Extension also says: “Canning pumpkin butter not a good idea, but try pieces or freezing. “

See you in class