Ask Jackie Online by Jackie Clay Published 060503

Ask Jackie Online
By Jackie Clay

May 3, 2006
Jackie Clay

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Popped canning lids

I have recently canned several dozen eggs and everything was fine…however, the latest batch I canned all of the lids popped. I didn’t do anything different from what I could tell. I was wondering why the lids would seal at first and then two weeks later when they should be ready to eat I found the lids popped up in the center and the brine was cloudy. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in adance,

Shannon Courville
Smcourville at

I really don’t know what you did wrong. Here are a few things that will cause your problem. Probably there was just some little error that you didn’t catch. Insufficient heating during canning (I’m assuming that you are talking about pickled eggs, as you said “brine”). Did you count your processing time in the water bath canner from the time the water came to a full rolling boil after adding the jars? Sometimes you mess up and count from the time you place the filled jars into the canner. Were the lids simmered in water before being placed on the jars? Once I was in a hurry and just dipped them into a pan of hot, boiled water; the whole batch failed. Did you use lids from the same box? Rarely, you can just get a bad box of lids; very rarely, but it does happen.

Better luck next time; it’s happened to us all at one time or another.


Building a greenhouse

I am going to build a greenhouse using insulated glass, (front, south facing only). Should I use low E, regular or something else.

Also the building plans call for an interior height of 8 feet. Is this high enough and what about ventilation. Any information would be greatly appreciated on building a super insulated greenhouse facing south. Thank you!

Cliff Sawyer
Chantelmut at

I’m so happy that you are going to build a permanent greenhouse. Although it is a big step, with the price of out of season vegetables and tomatoes, along with the poor selection of bedding plants for your spring garden, it is a very good idea. In fact, we just finished our second “temporary” greenhouse, also south facing, attached to our new log house. It was the one we used last year, moved from our temporary housing in the old mobile on our land. This summer, we will try to add a full porch on the south side of our house, with 16 feet being a permanent green room, full four seasons of growing.

You can use low E glazing on your greenhouse, but any good, double pane glass will do nicely. I will be using used patio door glass on mine, given by our friend and carpenter, Tom Richardson. In the past, on our Minnesota farm, I had a 42’x16′ log greenhouse. In that, I also used seven horizontal used patio doors, along with Filon on the roof and it worked well. It would have heated better if we had insulated the roof with another layer of Filon or another type of glazing with an air space between.

Eight feet is plenty high enough for the interior height.

I would suggest installing at least one roof vent, preferably with an automatic vent opener. This can be set at a certain temperature, letting the vent come open, should the daytime temps suddenly shoot up. Hot temps can wilt or even kill young plants. In addition, I would suggest having at least one east window/door with a large screen, along with a west side companion to allow good general ventilation. A box fan or wall mounted fan is also a good idea for really hot summer days. I hung a wire box filled with straw in front of mine a few inches. The box was 2’x2’x4″. I draped a garden hose up, turning it on so it gently drizzled water down, wetting the straw, then running into a tank beneath. The fan blew through this wet straw and effectively cooled the house, even on triple digit days.

Good growing!


Buffalo wings and canning without liquid

I love your articles in Backwoods Home Magazine. I’m wondering if I could can buffalo style chicken wings in my pressure canner. What I was thinking of doing is baking the wings until done and then packing them into the hot jars and pouring my sauce (hot sauce, vinegar, butter and Worstershire sauce) over them.

I’m also wondering why sometimes you don’t need to put liquid in the jars.

I noticed when you can hot dogs or pepperoni you don’t put any liquid in.

Can you do that with any meat? Could I put the cooked chicken wings in the jar with no liquid so they might not become soggy?

Thanks for your help,

Dawn Blesy
dawnblesy at

In all the older Kerr canning books, there were many recipes for meat and poultry canned without added liquid. But it seems that some folks didn’t warm up their canners enough (exhaust the steam) and processed the food with insufficient heat. Therefore the food was not safe. So the folks who are the experts now recommend that we add liquid to all our meats to be sure the temperature is sufficient all through the jar.

I still can some foods, like pepperoni and bologna without adding liquid, but I do make sure that it isn’t packed solidly so the heat can circulate thoroughly, And I am sure to exhaust my canner well so the internal temperature of the food is equal to that elsewhere in the canner.


Reheating unused lids

I thoroughly enjoy reading your articles and the great advice is helping me get my very first “adult” garden going. I had one when I was a child but all I remember is weeding and how much I hated it. I know gardening hasn’t changed much and there are still weeds to pull but at least now I’m looking forward to it rather than dreading it. Of course I have my own daughter now and I appreciate the fact that she is lower to the ground than I am and understand why I was made the “weeder” as a child!

In preparation for my hopeful upcoming bounty I tried my hand at canning for the first time. I started simple with a pear preserve with some store bought pears (my trees haven’t produced yet). The problem is I miscalculated how many jars and lids I needed for my experiment being a first timer and all. I heated my lids (12 in all) and only ended up using 3. My question is if I’ve never used the lids to seal and only heated them, can I reheat them and use them again later or do I need to buy new lids?

Also, you wrote an article a while back about canning milk. Would this be store bought milk or fresh raw milk and I would like to know how long it will keep, where do you store it and what does it taste like after canning and sitting a while? (sitting here with a yuck look on my face). Thanks again for your wonderful articles and keep up the great work.

Your faithful reader,

Susan Mead
New Ulm, Texas

Yes, you can reheat the new lids that you previously heated. I do this all the time with no problems.

You can home can any kind of milk; store milk, goat milk, whole cow milk or whatever. I don’t like the taste and/or appearance of the milk to drink after canning; it is sort of like condensed milk. But it is great for cooking, making milkshakes with, hot chocolate, etc. It will keep for years under decent storage conditions. (i.e., dry, fairly dark, and fairly cool.)


Canning beef

We raise our own beef, and I’m wanting to can some of it. Can you tell me how long I need to pressure can it and at what pressure level?


Debaof at

If you are canning pre-browned, partially (or wholly) cooked beef with broth (which is what I recommend now as it is more tender and more meat will fit into a jar), you will process pints at 10 pounds pressure for 75 minutes and quarts for 90 minutes. If you live at an altitude over 1,000 feet above sea level, check your canning manual for directions in increasing your pressure to match your altitude.


Ceramic-top ranges

I’m excited about learning how to can…a skill I’ve always wanted. BUT we have ceramic top/glass stoves and everything I see says NONE of the canners, be they pressure or water bath can be used on such stoves. We DO have wood burning stove…I would presume I can just can atop this instead?

Thank you so much for your time,

LuvJackman at

No, unfortunately, ceramic topped kitchen ranges are not sturdy enough to support the weight of canning kettles. But, yes, you can certainly can on your wood kitchen range. I have done that for years. It takes a little more work, regulating the pressure of a pressure canner, as you have to slide the canner to the side a little to lessen the heat it receives. (You can’t just turn down the heat.) But it’s easily done, and you soon learn just how hot a fire you need, and how to keep the wood coming just right.

You can also can on a Coleman (or other) two or three burner camp stove if you don’t want to heat up the kitchen during the heat of the summer. I’ve also done this and it works just fine.


Orange and lemon peels

Dear Jackie, This is a question and recipe for you. I make a fruit relish that I find very tasty, it consists of 2 granny smith apples, one orange, and one lemon. I cut everything into cubes and grind them up in my LaMachine that I bought at a yard sale for 5 bucks. I mix it all together and sweeten to taste. My question (and I know it sounds dumb, but I’m concerned) are the peels of oranges and lemons safe to eat? I know that apple peels are. Thanks, I enjoy all of your articles and all the others in Backwoods Home Magazine. Keep up the good work. P.S. When cranberries are in season I replace them with the apples.

Butch Brodeur
butchbass49 at

Yes, Butch, the peels of lemons and oranges are safe to eat. Just wash them well as they do receive a lot of spray….as do apples and pears. Your relish sounds great. I’m trying it tomorrow!


Canning with milk products

This is Vincent from Montréal up north. English is not my native language, but I will try to make sense. If you consider publishing my question, feel free to edit it for the benefit of your readers.

I use a Presto pressure canner to sterilize low acid foods in Mason jars. Especially “ready to eat” recipes like soups, pasta sauce or stews. I have a problem with all recipes using milk products like alfredo sauce, chicken pie filling or anything using milk products. Milk or cheese tend to clog together and form small cheese curds in the jars after the canning process. Not a pretty sight…

Is there a way to avoid this and make a smooth and uniform product using milk products ?

For the time being, I add milk or cream just before serving.

Vincent Rivard
Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Hi Vincent! Your English is great; much better than my French. Glad to hear you’re canning so many varied foods. It’s really a lot of fun and pretty handy, too.

I’ve never found a recipe for canning containing milk that I’ve been happy with, either. The milk seems to clump or clot, just like you found. I prefer to make the recipe and add my milk sauce when using the food. It only takes a few minutes and we like the result much better.


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