When the sun was shining, a few days ago, prior to a predicted frosty night, we harvested all of our mature squash and pumpkins. WOW, did we get squash this year, and they were huge! Our main crop of Hopi Pale Grey squash were gigantic, many over 20 pounds and there were plenty of them. We also had Early Butternut, American Tonda, Thelma Sanders Sweet Potato, Mexican Calabeza, Carnival, and Magdalena Big Cheese squash and way up at the berry patch, we had planted Atlantic Giant pumpkins. While they are a C. maxima, like our Hopi Pale Greys, we figure that being way up the hill, through the woods, and more than 700 feet away, they shouldn’t cross.

While David and I harvested the squash in the garden, Will went up to the “pumpkin patch.” A few minutes after we came up the hill with our trailer load of squash, he came down with a HUGE pumpkin on the four wheeler. Now I mean HUGE. He ran in to get the scale and were we surprised when it topped out at more than 93 pounds. Now this is in northern Minnesota, and that pumpkin grew with several on the vine, with no extra care, feedings, or even decent weeding. Just imagine what it would have weighed if we had pampered it! Alternative housing…?

Readers’ Questions:

Freezing eggs

I have chickens and I wanted to know if you could freeze the eggs, and would they be okay for baking?

Robert Davis
Tehachapi, California

Yes, you can freeze eggs. You can either separate yolks and white, freezing a few in separate containers, or freeze the whole eggs out of the shell. When thawed, you can use the eggs for any purpose you’d use fresh eggs, but the whites don’t whip as good of a meringue as I would like. — Jackie

Using whey in canning sauces

I would like to know if I can use whey in canning sauces, like spinach dip.

Roger Berger
West Monroe, New York

You probably shouldn’t can thick sauces, like spinach dip, with or without whey, as they’re too thick to process safely and ones with sour cream will curdle on processing. — Jackie

Canning book and garlic

Not so much a question as a couple of comments. First, my husband ordered your canning book for me for my birthday! I’m 48 years old, and just learned how to use a pressure cooker. Which I would never bother with if I didn’t have a wood cookstove. I love it, and want to do more, so I asked for your book for my birthday. I can’t wait to get it. I’m sure there’ll be so much to learn and try.

Second, I read the question from your recent blog about garlic tops being dead, and the person dug up a bunch of cloves. Garlic should be dug when there are about 3 leaves left still alive, because the number of live leaves coincides with how many papery layers are on the head of garlic when it’s dug. I read that somewhere, it’s not my wisdom. However, I left some in the ground this year until the tops were completely dead, and sure enough, cloves.

Valerie Blackketter
Hesperus, Colorado

Thanks for your comments. I hope you thoroughly enjoy my book. Interesting about the garlic. I usually pull mine when there are still a few leaves and get whole bulbs, not cloves; maybe that’s why! Sounds reasonable. — Jackie

Pressure canning peas and water bathing pickled garlic.

I pressure canned for the first time and canned peas. I cold packed them into hot jars, poured boiling water over them (did not add salt), sealed them with two piece lids and then processed in pressure canner for 60 min. This is the time my manual said for my elevation of 4800 ft. I think it is a typo as everywhere else I see, it says 40 min.

Towards the end of processing, I could smell pea smell from canner. At the end of processing, I let the canner go to what I thought was zero but it actually was slightly above and when I took the weighted gauge off a ton of pressure was released. So of course when I opened the canner, half the liquid was missing from each jar-siphoned out. When the jars cooled, they sealed but no ping sound. A week later, the peas are still sealed but the water is cloudy and getting white stuff in it.

Are they still good? Did I ruin them by opening the weighted gauge too soon?

Also, exactly followed your recipe to pickle garlic. I did it about 2 weeks ago. I was wondering if it is normal to smell garlic from the sealed jars. I have done the seal test and they are all sealed fine. Though they did not ping when I took them out of the water bath canner. The smell does seem to be mellowing a little.

Denise Madsen
Belgrade, Montana

I think what happened is that you “transposed” your increase for your altitude, reading the extra minutes needed for water bath canning, instead of the extra pressure needed for your altitude. You over-processed your peas, but not at enough pressure to make them safe. Sorry, but they’re probably bad. Peas process for 40 minutes at 15 pounds (weighted gauge), or 13 pounds (dial gauge) with your altitude.

As for the garlic. Yes, it’s normal to smell garlic; it’s so strong! As long as the garlic in the jars looks okay and the jars are sealed, it’s fine. I always wash my jars with soapy water after they are sealed, which reduces any stickiness or odors due to liquid seeping/boiling out during processing. — Jackie

Canning soup

I will be canning minestrone, I know that I should leave out the macaroni. If I fully cook the soup can I cut the processing time in half?

Leigh Stewart
Olympia, Washington

NO. That would be dangerous. Cooking does not equal processing time. That is only the time spent under pressure, in your canner. — Jackie

Canning dried beans

Could you please tell me how much less time in canning dried beans it would take to go from 10 lbs pressure to 15 lbs. I cannot find this information any where.

Darlene Strycker
Walkerton, Indiana

You can not increase your canning pressure to decrease the amount of time it takes to process a food. You need to process each food for the recommended time, at the recommended pressure for safe canning. — Jackie

Canning kohlrabi

How do you can Kohlrabi?

Rick Hanson
Plymouth, Maine

Although kohlrabi is not usually canned, it certainly can be. You would can them as though they were rutabagas. Wash and peel the knobs, then dice or slice them, as you wish. Cover with boiling water and boil 3 minutes. Drain, discarding liquid. Pack hot into hot jars, leaving 1 inch of headspace. Add 1/2 tsp salt to pints and 1 tsp to quarts, if you wish. Pour boiling water over them, leaving 1″ of headspace. Process pints for 25 minutes and quarts for 30 minutes at 10 pounds pressure. If you live at an altitude above 1,000 feet, consult your canning book for instructions on increasing your pressure to suit your altitude, if necessary. — Jackie

Canning pickled eggs

I used your recipe to can boiled eggs. After the seal was broken, the eggs have turned black. Do you have any answer why they would have done this?

Joe Spearman
Cameron, Oklahoma

Did you keep the eggs in the pickling solution after you opened the jar? If not, they could discolor. Otherwise, I haven’t a clue. They usually turn out perfectly good. Give it another go and see how you do. — Jackie

Canning chicken

How long do 1/2 pints of chicken need to process in the canner? You mentioned using 1/2 pints in your new book but I can’t find processing time anywhere – even online.

Sheryl Hardcastle
Eufaula, Oklahoma

Half pints are processed for the same length of time as pints are. For chicken, that’s 75 minutes. I’ll add that when we reprint the book! — Jackie

Creases on canning lids

I am a first time canner, and have just canned 7 quarts of tomatoes, the lids seemed to have sealed, however on 3 of my jars there is a crease on either side close to the seal itself, I am a bit concerned that I have done something wrong and want to make sure I don’t kill anyone my first time out of the gate. Anyhow I would sure appreciate any information that you might have.

Trint Richins
Roosevelt, Utah

I had this happen with some Kerr brand lids, when pressure canning. The seals were all fine and the food kept perfectly. I’d assume this is something like what happened to your tomato jars. If they are sealed, I wouldn’t worry a bit. — Jackie


  1. Beautiful batch of squash and pumpkins! I also had a nice haul of winter squash but nothing like yours. My only disappointment was that none of my hopi grey germinated. I didn’t talk to the company about it but may try again next year. If you find yourself with an over abundance of hopi seeds do you think you might offer them for sale?

    Regarding the creased canning lids. I had a few that did this. I think the new silver lids are thinner and may be more prone to creasing. I emailed the company and they would only say that creasing happens when the bands are over tightened. I’ve been canning 35+ years and have only seen it happen this year with the silver lids. They are holding their seals so far.

  2. Jackie and Will, Sure glad you two are continuing to mend! The harvest looks great! Love that pumpkin. We’ll be gathering ours this weekend; we always look forward to that time. To Trint from Utah, the lid crease happens to me now and then too and I agree with Jackie that as long as the seal was good, the crease doesn’t seem to matter.

  3. Hurray for squash!

    I’m jealous of you, Jackie. Of the dozens of seeds I planted this year, the only thing that grew is one pathetic-looking pumpkin.
    (I’m thinking calcium deficiency, but I have to get my soil tested)

    Hopefully someday I’ll be showing off pictures of a harvest like yours!

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