Canning Tips to Keep in Mind for the Holidays

Caramel Apple PieEven though the gardens are mostly gone there is still plenty of time to do some home food preservation.  As I was making some Mrs. Wages® Pie Filling this week, I was thinking ahead to the holidays and started making plans for giving some of my home preserved food away.

Giving something you have made to family and friends shows that you care about them and adds your personal touch to the gift.

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Hosting a March Madness Party? Make sure you avoid serving up a bacteria buffet.

One of the things we learn about when it comes to canning and food preservation is how to make sure what we share with friends and family is safe to eat. Make sure you handle food safely, prepare it properly and – when it comes to canning especially – follow the instructions to make sure things remain safe to eat when you take them off the shelf and serve them up.

Here are six basic rules to keeping your food safe from our friends at the National Center for Home Food Preservation at the University of Georgia …

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Can You Can Soup in a Hot Water Bath Canner?

Thanks to Linda who wrote in with a question about canning tomato veggie soup concentrate. Linda writes:

I make and tomato vegetable soup. I roasted carrots, celery, onion, garlic, green beans until browned (about 30 min.) then add tomato chunks on top and roast another 30min.  Then I blend all until smooth. I use this as my concentrate and when ready to use I add broth or milk to thin it and add extra flavor.  My question is can this concentrate be canned in a boiling water canner?

This is one of those times when you have to look at the ingredients you’re canning very closely. Many of the veggies listed in Linda’s recipe are low acid, so the water bath method of canning cannot be used.

My suggestion is to freeze the soup to preserve it.

Hope that helps. Thanks for asking.

If you have a question about canning, feel free to ask me through my “Ask Shirley” page.

In a pickle about preserving vegetables? Answers to common canning questions.

Pickles-in-7-easy-steps-(cropped)I’ve received quite a few questions about pickles and pickling (more than just cucumbers).  Rather than post each one individually, I thought it might be best to list them all in one place.

And, of course, if you have more questions, let me know on my Facebook page or by sending your question to me via my website.  I’m always happy to reply back (by email when possible) and post the questions and answers here on my blog.

Now, on to the questions …

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Canning Shallots and Garlic

A friend on Twitter sent me a question (@AskShirleyCamp) about preserving garlic and shallots (their fancy French cousins) …

@AskShirleyCamp Can you preserve garlic and/or shallots using the water bath method?

This question raises an interesting point – canning isn’t the only way to preserve fresh foods. And in some cases, like garlic and shallots, it’s not really recommended at all.

2423074_origIn fact, would not be safe using a boiling water bath since they are low acid foods. Also preserving them in oil is not recommended.  This document from the UC Davis website should be helpful.

Garlic will keep if hardened off and hung to dry. Also chopping the garlic/shallots and freezing in portions for recipe use would be acceptable.