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Preserving isn't only for preppers and homesteaders -- If you have a Medical Issue, Food Preservation May be For you!

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You will find canning projects on this page for both Pressure Canning and Water Bath Canning.  I am not going to reinvent the wheel and explain the basics of canning - that is already done very well all over the web.  This website is about the next step - useful and sometimes unique canning projects - and recipes to use those foods after they are canned.  However, I did realize that the instructions all over the internet didn't talk about the questions that come up when you are new to canning, so here is my personal canning routine - with lots of tips and comments - that may help you in your canning journey.

Why go to all the work to home can food?  The obvious reason is to have a ready supply of food - for insurance and for convenience.  If you have a medical issue you are dealing with, canning is also a way to completely control what is in your food - no additives, no preservatives, no chemicals - just wholesome food.

You will find that I am not always in agreement with the FDA or the 'current correct practices' - for more on that, please check out my General Philosophy about Canning.

Pressure Canning Projects

Sausage Chunks

Canning Dried Beans


Butternut Squash
(any winter squash or pumpkin)

Chicken and
Chicken Stock

Caramelized Onions

Asparagus - Raw Pack


Chicken Drumsticks
(Raw Pack)

Waterbath Canning Projects

Strawberry Topping

Mandarin Oranges

Fresh Pineapple

Basic Whole Grain Mustard

General Philosophy About Canning ---
We've all heard someone say "That's the way my Grandmother did it . . ." --- but that is NOT a good reason to continue to do something - anything - in the same manner -- and it's certainly not a good excuse for not getting informed about canning.  There IS a SAFE way (I did not say 'right way') to do canning and it is CRITICAL that YOU accept the responsibility to get informed and practice safe methods - you are feeding yourself and your family and your/their health is your responsibility.

That being said, the FDA says many things are "not recommended" - they do not say you can't do them - just that it "is not recommended".  Why might that be???  Here are a few possibilities . . . . . .
  • The texture/color/taste of foods change when they are pressure canned - corn will caramelize and turn brownish, milk will thicken and be more beige than white, etc.  Maybe the FDA thinks you will find the change unsatisfactory - I prefer to make up my own mind.
  • Some foods with higher acid content may have a much shorter shelf-life and thus be less desirable (mostly pertaining to citrus and tomatoes and waterbath canning).  So use them up quicker!
  • Maybe the FDA feels that a consumer will not accept the responsibility required to learn and execute a craft safely --- I am betting that if you are reading this, you will be a responsible individual - get informed - and make your OWN decisions regarding canning and other methods of food preservation/cooking.
  • Some foods are too dense to can safely - the inside of the food may not get hot enough long enough to be safe for home canning - examples are any grains (rice, quinoa, etc) or vegetable purees (think canned pumpkin).
  • To be fair (to the FDA) there is a budget issue.  In order to put their name on a process (i.e. canning mushrooms) they have to have the budget and time to perform the necessary tests. There is only so much time and so much money.  Each year new recipes become available that the previous year were labeled "not advised".  I clearly remember about 12 years ago having a large grapefruit tree - there was NO approved information online -- but now in 2020, there are approved recipes/methods everywhere.  FYI, I found a recipe from the 1930s and happily canned 60 quarts of grapefruit sections - they were fabulous!

Here are a few facts that should make it easier to think about:
When you bring a pressure canner up to pressure, the inside temperature is 240degrees (or more).  Remember that water boils at different temperatures at different altitudes, so you need to adjust the # (pounds) of pressure of your canner based on your altitude.  Bad bugs are killed at this temperature, provided the temperature is held for a specified period of time.

Any low acid foods (meats, broths, vegetables, beans, other proteins, etc) MUST be pressure canned.  You must reach that magic temperature of 240degrees inside the canner and hold that temperature for the required amount of time to kill any bad organisms.
High acid foods (fruits and tomatoes, etc) may safely be waterbath canned.  Higher acid content allows for lower processing temperatures.

What about the dreaded 'botulism'?  Botulism is found everywhere in our world - in the soil - on the skins of fruits/vegetables - even in your Botox treatment.  To develop, botulism spores require warm temperatures, moisture, and an oxygen-free, low-acid, low-sugar environment.  Botulism gives off a gas as it is developing and it is the gas that will push on the seal of a jar and compromise the seal.  Botulism is invisible and has no taste - if a jar's seal is broken do NOT taste test the food - throw it away.  ALWAYS check the seal before using. 

SAFETY -  If I were to find a jar unsealed, I would safely dispose (away from children or pets) the contents and sterilize the jar ---- that being said, I have been canning for over 25 years and I have NEVER lost a jar of my home canned food - NEVER.    Growing up, we used the waterbath/upside down method and back then we had a LOT of loss and you had to be more careful.  Pressure canning is the Bomb!

If you are new to canning and uncomfortable with the botulism/safety issue, here is a very detailed article you may find helpful.

Here is an awesome article on botulism as it pertains to canning from Off The Grid News.  Read this - it's got a lot of very useful information.  Then come back to Brensan's Kitchen and check out unusual canning/dehydrating projects and recipes using your preserved foods.

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After Canning (and Dehydrating) Recipes
Using your canned and dehydrated food supply and ingredients from a well stocked pantry

A Well-Stocked Pantry
Ideas for What to Put in Yours

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