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Jackie Clay

Q and A: water bath canning and canning butter

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

Water bath canning

Do I need to buy a water bath canner or can I water bath in my pressure canner? It does not have baskets so I am worried that the jars will crash together and break.

Ida Newsom
Gilbert, Arizona

Good news; you can certainly water bath in a pressure canner. Just set the lid on the canner don’t lock the lid down or add the weight (or shut the petcock). No basket; no problem. I can all the time in my big blue canner without the basket but I DO use a wire grid under it to keep the jars up off of the bottom of the canner. (If they sit on the bottom, you can count on broken bottoms out of many of the jars!) My wire grate is only a Dollar Store grill rack. — Jackie

Canning butter

I have canned butter in 24 4oz. jars. The 1st batch was melted, poured into hot jars, and water bathed. All sealed of course, and firmed up nicely. The 2nd batch was simmered (low boil) for 12 minutes on the stovetop, poured into hot sterile jars. All sealed, firmed up. I think I must dispose of all of this butter. I have found your directions for butter — pressure canning required. Is this all lost? I am very confused. Have 3 dozen more jars and don’t want to improperly can any more. (Glad to know you’re healing well — beautiful fruit blossoms!)

Judith Almand
Brandon, Florida

I understand your confusion. I don’t pressure can my own butter; I water bath it for 60 minutes. There are internet sources for putting up butter that are not canned but done like yours, which is how you “can” rendered lard. I would probably open the jars and re-heat the butter then ladle it into hot, sterilized jars, using new lids, and water bath it. The quality of the butter may suffer; it may become more grainy, but will certainly be good enough to use in baking or cooking. Canning butter is classified as “experimental” canning, (not USDA approved) as they haven’t done any testing for home canners. However, canned butter IS available commercially. — Jackie

One Response to “Q and A: water bath canning and canning butter”

  1. Linda Says:

    I put a dish towel in the bottom of my pot with the pasta strainer removed, just a small pot. I only had three jars of Red Clover Jelly.

    I canned four-ounce jars of jam using the pot with the pasta strainer inside. The jars were short enough they were well covered with water.

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