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Jackie Clay answers questions for BHM Subscribers & Customers
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Archive for November 6th, 2012

Jackie Clay

Q and A: canning milk and canning greens

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

Canning milk

Last month, I canned milk using the water bath method. About 2/3 of the jars turned into curds and whey within a couple of weeks. First, could I still use it for something? If so, what? Second, why might this have happened?

Shelley Arri
Columbia, Missouri

If this was fresh, non-homoginized milk, sometimes the cream separates drastically during storage, yet the milk is fine to use. I’ve never had my canned milk turn to actual curds and whey before, so I can’t imagine why this happened to you. I’d open a jar and give it the sniff test. If it smells fine, and the “curds” aren’t firm, you can simply stir the milk well with a whisk and use it for any baking or cooking recipe. If it smells “off,” something went wrong during canning. Or you simply made a mistake. I’m assuming you processed the milk for 60 minutes in your water bath? Try again. Lots of folks can up extra milk every day. — Jackie

Canning greens

I recently canned several pints of mixed greens. I boiled them for a while, to wilt them down, then pressure canned them at the appropriate pressure. A few days later, we started hearing hissing sounds and lost over half of my cans of greens. What did I do wrong?

Jennifer Patton
Monticello, Kentucky

The most common cause for jars coming unsealed in storage is leaving the jars in the canner with the lid on but pressure down to zero. This usually happens when people leave the processed jars in the canner to cool overnight. They should always be removed within 10 minutes after the pressure returns to zero. If you are using a weight instead of a gauge, you can tell when it’s gone down to zero if you slightly bump the weight with a finger. If it doesn’t hiss and spurt a little steam, bump it again, harder. Still no steam and you’re ready to remove the weight and open the lid to take your jars out.

A couple more common causes for several jars coming unsealed are not removing air bubbles from jars after you add the liquid or filling the jars too full and not leaving the proper headspace. Greens are usually very easily canned successfully, so next time just read your step-by-step directions and keep the above tips in mind. I’m sure you’ll have success. — Jackie


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