Meals in a jar and growing sweet potatoes
First, I recently bought your “Growing and Canning” book at a self-reliance Expo in Mesquite, Texas and am excited to try canning this season. When food is processed in a pressure canner as instructed (particularly with the “meals in a jar”), is it cooked at all in the process or how would you know how long to cook it when you use the contents?
Second, can you hill sweet potatoes with straw like you would regular potatoes?
Glad to hear you bought my book! I’m sure you’ll soon be canning up a storm. It’s so fun and such a useful skill! Yes, the food is totally cooked. But as with all low-acid foods such as vegetables and meat, you must heat the food up to boiling temperature before eating. This can be in a saucepan, casserole, roasting, or baking. You just want to ensure that any possible harmful bacteria or toxins are killed before you eat the food. There is such a remote chance of them being present, but you do want to be safe rather than sorry. Enjoy your canning adventure; it’s addicting in a good way!
No, sweet potatoes really don’t like being topped with straw like Irish potatoes do. Irish potatoes grow potatoes from stolons from the stem of the plant where sweet potatoes grow from the downward aiming roots. — Jackie
Canning baked beans
I have recently pressure canned baked beans. They looked like baked beans when they were put into the jars. After the canning process the baked beans came out a dark color. Is this normal?
Ponce de Leon, Florida
It depends on the recipe and if you used dark molasses or not. If the jars are sealed and they were canned correctly, the beans will be fine on opening. — Jackie