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Let's preserve

I’m from Montreal and I grew up with the 4 seasons. This means in Autumn I was used to harvesting apples, strawberries, cucumbers, tomatoes and more. With my mother we were canning different kind of sauce, fruits, vegetables to make reserve for the winter time. We were not the only family doing that.

So I know very well the process of canning but I didn’t know the science behind it so here what I learned.

The air in all foods in their natural state contain invisible micro-organisms which if uncontrolled cause food spoilage. A proper, safe home canning procedures control the growth of spoilage microorganisms.

High acid foods require heat processing to 212°F (100 °C) to inactivate invisible microorganisms. This is the temperature of boiling water, so it can be achieved efficiently in a boiling water canner used for the recipe specified time. The pH of high acid foods must be 4.6 or lower (meaning the acidity is high). Such high acid environments inhibit the growth of bacteria and other spoilage organisms. However, high acidity alone is not sufficient to preserve foods. Heat processing in a boiling water canner is still required to inactivate enzymes, yeasts and other microorganisms that can thrive unprocessed high acid foods.

High acid foods are : fruits, fruit juices, jams, jellies and other fruit spreads, pickles, relish, salsa, chutney and tomatoes with added acid (lemon juice or vinegar).

All high acid foods must be "heat processed" in a boiling water canner to ensure best results and safety.

Low acids food (with pH values higher then 4.6) must be heat processed at temperatures of 240°F (116°C) for a specified length of time to destroy the growth of Clostridium bolulinum - spoilage organisms which can be present in any food. It is itself destroyed at boiling temperatures, but it has the ability to form hardy spores that can survive the boiling treatment. These spores thrive in a low acid environment without air - i.e. sealed jars, as they grow these spores give off a deadly toxin. Because boiling water canners cannot reach this temperature, Low acids food must be processed in a pressure canner. Because Clostridium bolulinum spores do not grow in the presence of acid.

Low acid foods are : vegetables, meat, poultry, seafood, soups, stews, tomato-vegetables sauces and tomato-meat sauces. All low acid foods must be "heat processed" in a pressure canner to eliminate the risk of bolulism.

The conservation

The very interesting thing about canning food is the period of conservation: years and years. Don’t worry the food will stay good and tasty. If you don't hear a “pop” that means that jar was not canned properly and don’t eat the food.

Another thing, the jars don't required to be kept in a specific temperature so in the pantry, at the room temperature, or in the boat cupboard, the jar will be fine.

The benefits of canning

The benefits of canning food is that you always have some reserves for an improvised meal if you are tired. Perhaps you don’t want to cook too much or if you are missing a side order and the store is closed. Or what about the day after sailing you arrive at the anchorage and you just have to open a jar of bolognaise sauce. That will be easy and remind you home!!!

The process

Canning food still a long process and it is a delicate operation. It require specific equipment, space and attention. The first step could be 45 minutes, the second step an hour and the third step 30 minutes.

So if you want to try the experience get ready for a good Sunday afternoon with a glass of wine and you will have a good time.

Visit Meat & Meet Market

Visit our market store located at Le Phare Bleu Marina and check out our canning. We can easily be accessed by car or dinghy. And make sure to get our price list and sign up for our newsletter to hear about our weekly specials, recipes, locally sourced goodies, and much more. Leave your name and email below.

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