T Nation

Food canning?

Does anyone in here ever can there own food? There are a few sauces I make that are rather time consuming and difficult (wasteful) to make in small quantities and I was curious as to whether I could preserve them for moderate periods of time.


Can you freeze the sauce instead? That may be easier than canning.

I can various fruits and make jam every summer. What sort of sauces are they, what’s in them?

I was thinking about my cioppino base (without seafood added), as well as maybe some other meat based soups and red sauces.

If you are basically talking about canning stocks and red sauce, that’d be a piece of cake (but Stella’s right, freezing would be even eaiser). If you’re talking about the entire soup (complete with veggies and all) then you’ll have to consider that both canning and freezing will change the texture of the veggies. Both will make veggies soggy and just ick. I wouldn’t recomend canning cream-based sauces - simply because I don’t know enough about it to tell ya how to do it without “denaturing” (or whatever it’s called) the fats/dairy solids. If I tried it, I’m sure I’d end up with a bunch of nasty lumps and chunks and oily crap.

Since freezing is easier, whenever I make a big ol’ pot of stock (beef, poultry, veggie or fish) I just put about 2 cups in a quart-size Ziploc and then lay flat to freeze. They stack perfectly and thaw quickly. But then I do have a 7cf chest freezer…

So how would I go about the canning of the stocks and red sauces?

Check out your local Walmart of major grocer for jars the size you want. Get some lids and rings (they’re all next to eachother) to match. You’ll need a HYOOGE pot to boil water in. Mine is about 14" in diameter and 10" high. You don’t want one that is too tall as you need to be able to reach inside, grab a jar and pull it out - all while managing not to burn the hell out of your arm with the boiling water/steam. You need some sort of tongs to grab the jars out of the water, or a wire basket that the jars can sit in while being boiled. Line your counter or table with towels (hot glass contacting cold counters can lead to explosions). And you need plenty of dish rags, oven mits, etc. to handle stuff and keep from scorching your skin.

Fill your big pot with water until it’s deep enough to cover the jars by about 2". Get and keep at a hard boil. Have your lids on a hard simmer/low boil in a small saucepan and have your rings handy. The key is in the speed you put it all together and boil it. Fill the (washed) jars to about 1" from the top (smaller jars need a bit less space). Use some small tongs to fish a lid out of the water, put it in place and screw the ring on - tight enough to keep it in place and keep the water bath out, but not tight enough to “seal”. You’ll probably want to be using a dish rag to hold the jar and another to hold the ring - it all gets pretty hot from here on out.

As soon as you fill a jar and get the lid/ring on, put it in the boiling bath. Fill the pot as quickly as possible. Boil about 7 minutes.

Use the big tongs or basket dealie to pull the jars out. If using tongs, pull one jar out at a time and place it on the towel lined counter. Crank the ring down hard (but don’t shatter the glass). Repeat until all jars are out.

Repeat with more jars, etc. Gotta keep the water boiling throughout the process. If you need to add more water, wait until it’s back to a full boil before you add jars. Don’t be surprised if you bust a few jars. Between getting the right amount of “crank” in the ring and general defects, it’s bound to happen.

The idea is to fill hot jars with hot stuff, put a hot lid on it just enough to keep the bath out. The bath will further heat the stuff and force air/oxygen out of the jar (you don’t want to over fill the jar so as to have less air to force out though). When you really crank the ring down, it makes the seal. As the jars cool, the lids will “pop”. You know if you have a good seal by pushing in the middle of the lid. If it pops up and down - bad seal. If it doesn’t budge - good seal.

Allow to cool completely. Store in a cool, dry place away from heat and light.

Thanks, I’m going to give it a try.

And you realize, of course, that I’ll be expecting some jars in the mail as payment for my expertise…


You may not want them from the first batch :wink:

emckee and karma;
Just saw this post. I thought we were the last people on earth who still can. Nice to know there are others.
We do all kinds of fruit; applesauce, apricots, peaches, cherries, pears. I also do a lot of tomatoes and spaghetti sauce (about 60 quarts a year).
We also make several kinds of jam.
Anyway, Karma’s post was pretty good. Another detailed source of basic directions is the classic cook book, “Joy of Cooking”.
Feel free to PM me if you’ve got specific questions. I survive all winter on our home-canned foods.

Holy Cow! There’s three of us here at T-mag that can? I don’t know how to say it without sounding completely “Valley Girl” about it but - that is soooo cool!

Coach: You just brought back the bestest childhood memories a gal can have. My grandma lived with us when I was 7-10 and turned the vacant lot (yes, the entire lot!) next to us into a garden. We had more varieties of squash than you can dream of, carrots, peas, several types of onions, green beans, several types of tomatoes, corn, yams, potatoes, chard, strawberries and rhurbarb. This little old lady owned all the land around our house and let us have our fill of her apple orchard, pear orchard and plum orchard. The whole block was ringed with alternating Bing and Rainier cherry trees and there was a blackberry bramble twice as tall as a man and easily 20 feet deep that ran the length of the block. We’d make every jam imaginable, can all the fruit, lots of the veggies, make applebutter and applesauce and have jar after jar of canned cherries…

I may not have dug it at the time, but having gardening chores and/or wood splitting (we put up around 4 cords/year) chores to share with my brother was a damn good way to keep us out of trouble… not to mention teaching us responsibility and saving my folks some money.

We got one of those Tilia Foodsaver things off the infomercials and I friggin love it. It was $100 and it vacuum seals mason jars too without all the boiling and heat canning and whatnot.