Ask Jackie by Jackie Clay Issue 80

Ask Jackie
By Jackie Clay

Issue 80
Jackie Clay

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

Thank you for answering my questions on smoked fish and baked beans canning. You mentioned you can bologna and corned beef. Would you please share the recipe?

James R. Coffey
Elkton, MD

Glad I was of help. That’s what I’m here for, after all. And the more people I can help out, the better, as far as I’m concerned. As for the recipes, here are two that work for us:

Home canned bologna:

25 lbs. fresh ground meat
1 lb. Morton’s tender quick
1 tsp. garlic powder
4 tsp. liquid smoke
½ tsp. saltpeter
¾ cup brown sugar
1 oz. coarse ground black pepper

Grind the meat twice, adding spices etc., as you grind, and mix well. Put in an enameled turkey roaster, covered, and let set in a cool place for three days. A refrigerator works fine. Grind again and pack into wide mouth pint jars to within an inch of the top. Wipe the rims clean and place a previously boiled, warm lid on the jar and screw down the ring firmly tight. Place in a pressure canner and process for 90 minutes at 10 pounds, adjusting the pressure as needed to allow for altitude. (Check your canning book for these adjustments.)

This bologna is very good and doesn’t taste like “store” bologna (which we hate). It kind of tastes like a cross between good liver sausage and corned beef. We like it sliced from the jar and fried. I hope you’ll like it, too.

Home canned corned beef:

To corn the beef, choose well-chilled beef and remove all the bones. You may use the brisket, rump, or chuck roasts. Cut the meat into uniform pieces and weigh the entire pile. Allow 2 to 2½ pounds of salt for each 25 pounds of beef. Sprinkle a layer of salt on the bottom of a crock. Place a layer of meat in the crock and add more salt. Continue packing in this manner until all the meat has been packed. Cover the top layer with a good layer of salt.

Allow the packed meat to remain in the salt for 24 hours, in a cool place, covered to prevent debris and insects from falling into the crock. Then cover the salted meat with this solution:

2 lbs. sugar
2 oz. saltpeter
1 oz. baking soda
2 gallons of water

Make a spice bag containing 1 ounce pickling spices and two or more (to taste) crushed cloves of garlic. Place the bag in the brine with the meat. Be certain that all the meat is completely covered with brine. Place a China plate on top and weight it down to keep meat submerged.

The meat is cured for 30 days at 38° to 40° F. If the temperature gets warmer, the brine will get ropy, which means that it feels snotty and stringy when you dip your finger into the brine. If this should happen, immediately drain all the brine and rinse the meat it well. Throw away the old brine and make new brine and cover. Be sure to check your pickling meat often, especially if the temperature fluctuates and could go above 40°.

At the end of the brining period, remove the meat from the brine, rinse well and drain. Pat it dry with a clean towel.

To can the corned beef, soak the meat for two hours in clean water, then boil it slowly in clean water for 30 minutes. Remove the meat from the boiling water and cut it into pieces that will pack into wide-mouth pint or quart jars. Pack the jars to within an inch of the top of the jar. Add liquid, in which the meat was boiled, to within an inch of the top. Wipe the rim of the jar clean. Place previously boiled jar lids in place and screw down ring firmly-tight. Process in your pressure canner for 90 minutes at 10 pounds pressure, adjusting pressure, if necessary to make allowances for altitude. (See your canning book for instructions.)

This corned beef is very good and tender. I hope you will like it.


Can you tell me how to make sun dried tomatoes like they sell at gourmet shops? We like them on pizza and pastas.

Carol Williams
Santa Barbara, CA

Actually, sun dried tomatoes are simply dehydrated tomatoes, usually tomato halves. And tomatoes dry very well at home. The trick to “gourmet” dehydrated tomatoes is to use a thick-meated, thin skinned, quite sweet variety. I dehydrate two main kinds, an extra-sweet yellow cherry tomato, Sungold, which tastes almost 1ike a dried apricot when dehydrated, and a largish, red cherry-plum type, Principe Borghese. Principe Borghese is an Italian heirloom developed especially for sun drying, where the entire vine was pulled and draped over the garden fence to dry the tomatoes naturally in the sun.

While this method does work very well in some climates, many folks have a damper climate and the tomatoes dried in this manner would mold before drying. I prefer to simply harvest the ripe tomatoes, pull the stem out, and slice them in half, drying them cut side up on a cookie sheet in my gas oven with only the pilot light on or on racks in a dehydrator. They are done when shriveled and tough-leathery. The dehydrated tomatoes can be stored in any airtight container such as a gallon glass jar. Be absolutely sure they are dehydrated well or they can mold.

You can find Principe Borghese seed at several seed houses, including Pinetree Garden Seeds, Box 300, New Gloucester, ME 04260. Sungold is a common yellow tomato found in most seed catalogs.

To use the dehydrated tomatoes, simply add to any moist tomato (or other) sauce. They rehydrate rapidly and retain their exceptional taste.


I’m looking for a recipe for sweet potato butter. The sweet kind that would be spreadable on muffins, toast, etc. I have found several recipes but none with canning directions. As I would like to put them up, I would like help. Would any recipe I might find that says to pack in canning jars be okay to water bath them, and how long for?


I have an old, old sweet potato butter recipe for canning that I have used and I would assume one could use any spice or variation, as long as the sugar to sweet potato ratio remained about the same, since the sugar preserves the low acid fruit, just as it does for pumpkin butter. Now I can’t “recommend” that you can this preserve as it isn’t approved or tested by experts. But the ratio of mashed, cooked sweet potatoes to sugar is to every cup of mashed sweet potatoes add three quarters of a cup of sugar and a pinch of salt and spices (cinnamon, cloves and allspice) to taste. I use brown sugar, but that is a matter of taste. Pack the hot butter in hot, sterilized pint or half pint jars and process in a boiling water bath for ten minutes, counting from the time the water begins to boil with the jars in it.


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