9 Canning Myths New Canners Need to Know Before Canning
Home canning is an amazing way to preserve fresh foods for your family, but for those new to home canning, it can be a confusing and sometimes overwhelming experience. Part of the reason for this confusion is the large number of canning myths that abound. While some of the myths are harmless, others are not and could result in making your family and anyone who eats your canned foods deathly ill. Here are 9 common canning myths new canners need to know before canning.
9 Canning Myths New Canners Need to Know
Here are the top canning myths to keep in mind during the canning process.
You Must Sterilize Your Jars
This is just the first of many canning myths. In the past, it was recommended that you sterilize your jars before filling them no matter what type of foods you were canning. However, today we know that bacteria die at high temperatures. What this means for this myth is that if you are pressure canning, you do not need to sterilize your jars.
Of course, this is assuming they are clean before beginning the process. The heat from the pressure canner will sterilize the jars. If you are water bath canning, it is still recommended that you sterilize your jars just to be 100% safe.
Canning Lids Do Not Need to Be Heated
Technically, this one is true; however, it is still recommended that you heat your lids. The reason for this has little to do with potential bacteria on the lid and more to do with the rubber seal. A cold canning lid has a hard seal. A warm canning lid has a softer seal that is more likely to grip the jar and seal better.
Pressure Canning is Dangerous
This particular canning myth stops people from learning how to pressure can and it shouldn’t. While there are more dangers involved in pressure canning than water bath canning, as long as you are practicing a few pressure canning safety tips and are taking all available safety measures, you should be fine. Dangers in pressure canning typically only show up due to faulty equipment or an unwatched canner.
Removing Air Bubbles from Jars is Not Necessary
After filling your canning jars, take a look through the jars and you will see lots of little air bubbles mixed in with your foods. These air bubbles take up meaningful space. Air bubbles can also contribute to your food spoiling. Oxygen is an enemy of food storage and can cause early spoilage. By removing as much air as possible, you are doing what you need to prevent this from happening.
It is Okay to Stack Canning Jars
This particular canning myth straddles the fence between fact and myth. How confusing, right? Stacking canning jars on top of one another can cause what is known as a false seal. This is when jars appear to be properly sealed but are not, and, as a result, are not safe to consume.
For some people, stacking jars will be an absolute no-no. For others, the use of a layer of cardboard in between is used to help distribute weight. This particular canning myth is based on personal preference and whether you are comfortable with doing so.
However, representatives from Ball have stated that it is perfectly fine to stack jars with or without a cardboard layer in between.
You Can Safely Home Can Any Food
This is just one canning myth that is considered incredibly dangerous if believed.
Official stance-The simple truth according to the FDA (NOT that I follow this entirely myself personally COUGH COUGH) is that not all foods are safe to can. The FDA and Ball book state that this can include cured meats and dairy-based products. If you do attempt to can these, you risk putting your entire family at risk since there is no safety data on processing them safely.
My stance- I am sometimes a canning rebel. I was taught by my mother, grandmothers, and Aunts who were born at the turn of the century. You can read into the rest of what I am saying. 😉
Processing Times Are Just Guidelines
Again, another myth that can be dangerous. Processing times are there for a reason because they’ve been tested in a lab environment and proven to be safe to consume after. Processing less than these times can lead to bacteria growth including mold and botulism toxin. If a jar has either of these bacterial types in them, they are unsafe to consume and the contents of the jar should be tossed.
All Food Can Be Water Bath Canned
Official stance- Foods that are low in acid must be pressure canned. This includes vegetables and meats. The science behind this shows that the more alkaline the food, the higher the temperatures are needed in order to make it safe. Simply canning these foods in boiling water makes it impossible to reach the safe temperatures needed.
My stance Again- I am honestly a canning rebel. I was taught by my mother, grandmothers, and Aunts who were born at the turn of the century. You can read into the rest of what I am saying. 😉
Once Processed, Canned Foods are Always Safe
It would be nice if you could pull your jars from your canner, set them on a shelf, and leave them until they are needed. Unfortunately, this is not good practice. Because seals can weaken over time, it is recommended that you check your seals every so often.
In addition, false seals (appear to be sealed, but are not) happen sometimes as well. When a seal releases, the content of the jar must always be thrown away. In addition, you should always inspect the contents of the jar before using it. Look for signs of mold and any “off” smells. Checking your jar seals and doing a thorough inspection are the only ways to ensure the food you’re canning is safe to consume.
I have eaten home-canned foods though that are really old and perfectly safe. I do still always just inspect though.
If you’re new to canning and read my tips and canning myths, you should be ok.
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