Home > Extended family, Food > As if they don’t have enough to worry about…

As if they don’t have enough to worry about…

My mom and her boyfriend of many years (basically my stepdad) have a lot of health problems. Granted, these are mostly things they bring on themselves by not taking care of themselves, but they’re in poor health regardless. If it’s not the lungs, it’s the kidneys. If it’s not the kidneys, it’s the heart. The list goes on.

I’m not terribly concerned about that, though, because apparently her boyfriend is determined to kill them with botulism. I mean, poorly canned food.

First, we were discussing squash. They brought me 8 acorn squash (squashes?) the other night and when they came back over yesterday, he asked if we’d eaten it all. We had. He told me he was thinking of getting some more and canning it. I told him you can’t can squash. You can’t. The USDA warns against it.

He told me “You can can anything. Anything except meat. You have to use a pressure cooker for that. Anything else can be done in a hot water bath.”

No. A hot water bath is basically putting jars in a big pot and completely covering them with water, then boiling them for 10 minutes. This is fine for things with high acid levels like pickles, tomatoes, or jelly. I do that, myself. For anything else, you’re supposed to use a pressure canner (NOT a pressure cooker). Otherwise, the food inside doesn’t get hot enough and any potential botulism spores don’t die off. Then when they sit on your shelf, they multiply. This isn’t something that is guaranteed to happen, but it’s possible, and not worth taking the chance. If you have things like carrots or green beans that you want to store but don’t have a pressure canner, freeze them.

Even with a pressure canner, there are some things that the home cook isn’t supposed to preserve in a jar. Squash is one of them.

So then they asked me about the salsa that my mom made and I said I’d eaten it. He asked for the jar back. No problem. I handed him the jar, and the ring. He then asks me for the lid (the flat part that seals) and I told him I threw it out.

He went on to tell me that some people think you’re supposed to throw them out (Yeah, like the usda, because they don’t seal properly a second time), but he doesn’t. Well then. From now on, when they bring me something in a jar, if it has sat out for any length of time, I’m throwing it away. If it’s freshly canned, it’s going into the freezer.

Now, speaking of canning, they brought me 14 pounds of tomatoes. Guess it’s time to get to work properly canning some tomato products!


Categories: Extended family, Food
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