Steam canning

Have you heard the latest news from the National Center for Home Food Preservation (NCHFP)? Last September, they announced that a researcher at the University of Wisconsin, in collaboration with the NCHFP, did a study on steam canners and found that they’re perfectly safe to use. You can read about it here:

I bought a dual-purpose canner last year; a Victorio water bath/steam canner. I knew there was a study being done on steam canning, but didn’t know when it was going to be done. I figured I could use the water bath method until I found out that steam canning was deemed safe. But I couldn’t help myself! I had to try the steam canning. Oh boy, that is so much easier, faster, and simpler than water bath canning! I highly recommend it to anyone canning high acid food! And I’m so glad to hear that the NCHFP finally did a study and says it’s safe!

Julie Daelhousen
Jamestown, New York

Yes, I did hear that. I know steam canners use much less water, but I can’t imagine “faster” or “simpler.” How about an explanation to help us better understand? — Jackie

Drying cornmeal

We have grown and ground our own cornmeal for years, but we have always kept it in the freezer. Can you dry can the cornmeal? Or is vacuum sealing in a canning jar sufficient? The variety we grow is called Thompson prolific. It was developed by my great great uncle in the 1920’s and was once widely grown across the South.

Clay Gresham
Rockwood, Tennessee

Vacuum sealing the cornmeal will certainly improve its storage ability but what we do is only grind enough for about a month. After that time, you risk the whole germ, which contains oil, getting rancid, just like whole wheat flour or brown rice. I just store the whole corn kernels in an airtight container and take out a few cups at a time to grind. Unground, the corn will stay good for decades with no special treatment. — Jackie