Q and A: canning precooked ham, testing acidity of canned food, and canning pickles with garlic — 1 Comment

  1. There are two issues with using paper strips to determine whether a recipe may be water-bathed:

    The first is inherent to these paper strips, since they indicate pH by changing colour and your preparations aren’t clear as water. Good luck it your batch involves tomatoes, turmeric, etc.!

    The second point is that if you test the acidity just after having filled a jar, you’ll basically have tested the pH of the brine, not of the entire contents. The more water your foods contain, the more it will dilute the acid and bring the pH up.
    It is possible to make a small test batch, seal it in a jar (if possible after basic processing), refrigerate for about one month to allow the acidity levels to balance, and then to test the contents.

    Basic pH-metres are relatively cheap and don’t require too much of an upkeep. You can check cheap made-in-china gadgets for appropriate button batteries, which are sufficiently long-lasting despite their lower quality. These pH-metres are immune to colouration from food, but do require the product to be at room temperature (some model allow for automatic temp adjustment, but the price tag adjusts even faster.)