Originally posted by Druid42
I'm working on a new canning technique that doesn't use a pressure cooker, or a "Cold Bath". I've had 100% success in the trial runs
I've done. Would you be interested in knowing more?
I would be very interested in a pressureless, "cold" method, how do you eliminate pathogens? There are UV back pack drinking containers, I'm
sure the UV method could be adapted to canning, although I've never tried it. Perhaps a cardboard box with a few smaller UV lights inside, coupled
with an "agitator"/"shaker, i.e., low speed turntable with an offset cam to ensure maximum exposure of the foodstock.
I'm sure I'm overcomplicating things and not adhering to the KISS (keep it simple stupid) ideal.
I just re-thought the basics of food preservation, how they used to do things, and how modernized things have become.
In a pressure cooker, you have a sealed unit, in which you raise the internal pressure to 5-15 psi. by applying heat from your stove, for about 10-30
minutes. The temp balances at the 212 deg F. temp, which happens to be the phase change of water. Water cannot become hotter than 212 deg F, the
magical temp where it turns into vapor, but you can increase temperature within a sealed unit. Basically you are cooking at 250 deg F. Your pressure
cooker vents the excess steam through a rocker mechanism, and the internal temp remains constant.
The pathogens that you speak of are all around us, microscopic critters that do their job by eating and decaying the material they encounter. They
live at room temp, and breath the same air we do. Think eco-system, of which they are a vital part. Our task in preserving food is to reduce and
eliminate as much as possible those bacteria, because they thrive in an oxygen rich environment, and by "sealing" our jars after killing them at
high temp, we provide them with an oxygen deprived environment in which they can't reproduce. Our food stays preserved, having no exposure to the
bacteria which also would like to eat our food, and remains in stasis until we open it again.
A cold bath achieves the same technique. The canning jars are boiled, the steam heats and sanitizes the jars, softens the seal on the rim, and kills
the bacteria. The interim after bathing, while you wait for your lids to "seal", is the time required for the jars to stabilize to room temp, and
in the process creates a vacuum pressure through heat transfer from inside the jars to the surrounding atmosphere. Mission accomplished, different
technique, same results.
In the U.S.A., "sanitizer" is a legal term defined by the Environmental Protection Agency. In order for a product to be called a sanitizer in
promotional literature or on its packaging, that product must be approved by the EPA, assigned a registration number, and have an open file maintained
with the EPA. Unless a company would like to invest an enormous amount of capitol in this process (or use another company's product through a process
called "sub-registration"), they may not call their product a sanitizer. If you purchase a bottle of bleach from the grocery store, unless it
shows an EPA registration number on the front of the label, it is not a sanitizer. However, it will certainly be a good cleanser (although somewhat
hazardous, not environmentally sound, and it will require rinsing).
I am devising an experimental technique that "cans" food in a mason jar utilizing the theories of preservation listed above, namely, sanitizing,
cooking, and sealing.
I have been homebrewing for years now, and in that realm we use chemical cleaners and sanitizers. I use one that is environmentally friend, and 1
tbsp makes 1 gal of sanitizing water. I use it to "sanitize" bottles, a no rinse version, before bottling, and have never had a batch spoil. So I
tried it on my jars before doing my last batch of salsa.
Yes, clean your jars in hot soap water. Let them soak in the sanitizing solution for 10 mins.
Boil your lids and rings to keep the seal soft and clean. They go directly from the boiling pan to the jar.
Boil your canning mixture. For me it was salsa. That puts the temp at 212 deg F. Using a canning funnel, I filled my jars with the hot solution,
added a lid and ring, and tightened with oven mitts. Set aside on a folded towel. 15-20 minutes later, they had all sealed. It was an experiment,
only 4 pint jars, and my goal was to see if they sealed. I was amazed.
I duplicated the same test using a batch of chicken soup I wanted to can. Again, a 4 pint trial run, and again they all sealed within 20 minutes.
That was several weeks ago, and they are still sealed, though I did open a jar of salsa for a snack. Your thoughts?