Ask Jackie by Jackie Clay Issue 61

Ask Jackie
By Jackie Clay

Issue 61
Jackie Clay

To Ask Jackie a question, please Click Here to visit her blog.

I was wondering about pasteuring goat’s milk. I buy it from a farm, unpasteurized, in a gallon container from the refrigerator. Once I get it home and do the pasteurizing to 140 degrees, then cooling it to 40 degrees, do I just put it back in the jug and stick it back in the fridge? I just want to make sure it’s ok to do that since it is already chilled when I buy it. Any info would be greatly appreciated. It is for my six-month-old baby.

Ashley Weh

While milk pasteurizes faster when put into the pasteurizer warm, it’s perfectly okay to use the pre-chilled goat milk. The temperature reached for pasteurizing and the length of time used is the same, but you’ll notice a longer time-frame for the process.

To be absolutely “safe,” are you also sterilizing the original milk jug? (Medically speaking there could be bacteria “lurking” in the unsterilized jug from the raw milk.) Let me say though, from years of experience with both eight children who drank goat’s milk, and experience using raw milk, that this is going to the extreme. Provided that the goat (or cow, for that matter) is healthy, having been tested negative for Brucellosis, having no abscesses, and that the milk is handled well from the time of milking to when a person drinks it, I have seen absolutely no problems from drinking it raw.

(Goat abscesses can be from a contagious disease, which can be transmitted through the milk, although I don’t believe anyone has shown that it can be passed to humans"only kid goats, drinking the milk.) And before anyone pins my ears back for not mentioning TB, Tuberculosis in goats is so extremely rare that it is nearly non-existent.

I know my own babies who drank both breast milk and raw goat’s milk picked up a lot more bacteria off toys and their own fingers than they ever did from the milk. Goat’s milk is great.

I have been reading all the issues by Jackie Clay on canning in Backwoods Home. I am new at canning this year. I have the books, Putting Food By, Stocking Up, Ball Blue Book, Keeping The Harvest and Canning and Preserving without Sugar. None of these books give recipes on canning in half gallon jars. I would like a recipe for canning tomato sauce in a half gallon jar and a canning recipe for a chili recipe in a half gallon jar and a bean soup recipe in a half gallon jar. The information I have read says that half gallon jars are not good for low acid food because the food does not cook correctly. I read that Jackie Clay cans using half gallon jars.

I enjoy all of Backwoods Magazine as does my husband. I especially look forward to reading anything that Jackie Clay writes on self-sufficiency. Thank you for your wonderful magazine.

Darlene and Bob Feener

Yep, all the experts today advise against canning with one to two gallon jars. The reason for this is that some folks got into trouble by packing those huge jars full of cold or lukewarm food, then processing them the exact time….which “used to be” recommended by the Ball and Kerr canning booklets.

When I began canning a “few” years back, information was included in all the canning “how-to’s” for using half gallon jars. So I just followed the directions, which required a longer period of processing time. This was given as 20% longer processing over the time required for quarts for meats and vegetables, which are of course canned in a pressure canner. Fruits, which are canned in a pressure canner using a half gallon jar, need an extra five minutes, and when canned in a water bath canner they require an extra ten minutes processing time.

Now, I don’t recommend anyone use half gallon canning jars, but I do use them, and have for years. I do use common sense, and when using them for meat and vegetables, and mixes such as chili and soups, I am absolutely sure that the item is boiling hot when it goes into the (hot) jars and is processed immediately. I’m sure if one were to put cold or merely warm chili into half gallon jars and exhaust the canner half-heartedly (so that steam was not shouting out the ports, only spitting out from time to time), they could run into trouble with improperly processed food that could spoil or cause health problems.

But as I’ve often said, I’ve canned for over 30 years, thousands of jars every year, and never poisoned any diner at my table! One of the bonuses of canning is the convenience of “instant” meals. And half gallon jars allow quick canning of large meals-in-a-jar. Just check each lid and the appearance of the product before opening to make sure the lid is sealed (indented in the center) and the food looks normal. Then sniff for any off odors. If it’s fine, simmer for 15 minutes just to be sure. And enjoy.

But out of legality, remember I didn’t advise or recommend that anyone use half gallon jars for home canning. Everyone is trying their best to keep us safe from ourselves, including home economists and canning companies, and a lot of folks are sue-happy, as well.

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