Is It Safe to Can Your Own Emergency Rations?
Home canned foods acquired a bad reputation that they have not entirely shed. Improperly canned foods can cause serious or deadly food poisoning, such as botulism. These problems occurred because of several reasons that have now been corrected for the most part. To begin with, the most popular method of canning for quite a while was the hot water bath method. This is fine to use with very high acid foods such as some tomatoes, but the temperature will never get high enough to process low acid foods safely. Another problem was the rubber rings that were used previously. These rings were used year in and year out, and they often developed cracks that allowed air in, promoting the growth of pathogens. New lids are now used every year, removing the threat of damaged rubber rings.
Pressure Cooker Canning
The hot water bath method will only provide a maximum temperature of 212 F, which is not high enough to safely process low acid vegetables and fruit or meat, fish, and poultry. In order to ensure that the food you are canning is safe to eat, you must use either a pressure cooker or a pressure canner. The pressure canner is shaped to enable you to fit more jars into it, but a pressure cooker can be used, too. However, with a pressure cooker, there will often not be enough space in it for both the jars and the necessary water. Larger pressure cookers, 20 quart size or more, can be used for canning without problem, however. The temperature inside a pressure cooker will reach 250 F, so the food can be considered to be safe from botulism.
What Can You Can?
The beauty of using a pressure canner or cooker to preserve food is that you can pretty much put up anything. Many people enjoy hunting or fishing and canning is an excellent way to preserve the catch. While it is quite possible to freeze the surplus meat from a hunt, if the electricity goes off for long enough, the food will have to be discarded. Meat put up in jars will be safe regardless of whether the lights are on or not.
If you raise domestic animals, you can also can their meat when the time comes to harvest them. As botulism spores are present in both meat and most vegetables, you will be able to preserve the meat safely by using the pressure canner. The spores will be killed and the meat will be safe to eat.
Those who plant their own gardens or have access to farmer’s markets during the summer will find that a pressure canner is great for preserving vegetables of every kind, especially those that are too low acid to can with a hot water bath. Everyone should be aware, however, that most tomatoes are not as acidic as they were previously, and care should be taken even with these vegetables when deciding whether to use a hot water bath or not.
As the canned food will be in glass jars, make sure they are stored in a spot where breakage will be unlikely. Keep the jars out of the sun, and a cooler temperature, such as is available in a cellar is best. Discard any jars that show discoloration or where the top is bulging up.
While canning your own food is cost efficient, we offer food rations for emergency preparedness that are very affordable. Save the time and energy and get a food kit today and forget the hassle of doing it yourself.