Canning in tainted water
I’m new to canning. I’ve been at it for about two years starting with jellies and have been slowly trying new things. The problem is that I have small children so I find myself canning at night while I’m tired. Most recently I didn’t prepare enough jars for my relish and pickles and had to add jars that weren’t warm enough to finish canning. The jars on two different occasions were not heated enough because they broke in the water bath. I didn’t know if I could still use the tainted bath or had to empty out the canner and re-heat the water. Will my jars still seal correctly if bathed in relish tainted water?
Weare, New Hampshire
What I did when I had small children was to find something “special” to keep their interest while I canned. It might be some special toys that got put away after canning so they remained “special”, a movie (didn’t have TV so a VHS movie was a huge treat), or making things with Playdough or clay in the next room. After they were about 5, I slowly let them begin to help me in the canning process, keeping them away from the hot pots, of course. Shucking corn, washing cukes, sliding skins off tomatoes and peaches all fascinate young kids and they begin enjoying “helping”. If you set them up on a far-away kitchen table while you do the dangerous work, they feel like they are a part of the process and still stay safe.
If you don’t have hot jars ready, just run cool jars under the hot water tap in the sink. This heats them enough so they won’t break when you put them into the water bath canner. If you have a breakage, go ahead and use the yucky water. The jars will still seal and it sure saves time. — Jackie
I used my pressure canner for the first time to put up eight pints of creamed corn. We waited for over an hour for steam to come out of the vent. The canner made a ton of noise and you could put your hand over the vent to feel the hot air coming out but it was not steam. We finally gave up and put the weight on. It came right up to the correct pressure and we processed following your recipe. There was plenty of water in the canner when it was finished but, I don’t understand what happened. I thought we would see a strong stream of steam, let it blow for ten minutes, then put the weight on. It shouldn’t have taken that long to produce steam, right? Is the corn safe to eat? All but one sealed.
Frazier Park, California
How much water did you put in the canner? I hope you put a couple of inches in, because that makes the required steam that processes the food when heated. With a mid-sized canner that holds 7 pints or quarts on the bottom layer, this happens in about 10-15 minutes. You should see a strong column of steam; you wouldn’t want to put your hand over the vent! Did you can on an electric stove? Some don’t get hot enough for canning. Or maybe you used a smaller coil?
I would refrigerate that corn and use it relatively soon or heat it to boiling temperature and try to re-process it with new lids and washed out jars, providing it smells and looks okay. — Jackie