It’s that time of the year again when you turn the fruits of your labor into canned goods that will fill the pantry.
And while you prepare for the upcoming winter, you must be aware of the various dangers that can put your delicious supplies at risk.
Although the canning process is fairly easy and basic, there are a few things to consider in order to keep yourself and loved ones away from a bad stomach bug or other health-related issues.
If you’re just starting your canning adventure, make sure you read thoroughly about the risks that come with it.
This article will give you a good idea of the dos and don’ts of canning goods. Let’s dive right in.
You have to pay close attention to the instruments you’ll be using during this entire process.
That’s because foodborne illnesses can easily spawn from an unsanitary environment.
Before you start canning, verify that all your tools and recipients are as clean as possible.
The best way to get rid of unwanted bacteria is to boil all the jars, lids, rings, or any other metal tools you’ll be using in the process.
To add another layer of safety, you can also place the jars inside a warm oven while the canning process is ongoing.
This way the heat will preserve the sterile condition of your jars.
This grave food poisoning sickness can occur when your canned supplies are not sealed properly.
The Clostridium botulism bacteria forms as a result of contamination, and can lead to severe health issues.
The toxin produced by this bacteria infiltrates the nervous system, and can cause paralysis and even death.
Therefore, if you’re just starting out with canning, you’ll want to pay close attention when sealing your recipients.
You don’t want to take any chances when your health is on the line.
The most appropriate way to can your supplies and avoid botulism is by pressure canning.
If you’re opting for water bath canning, the temperature might not be enough to kill all the bacteria lurking around.
It’s common practice to reuse lids, rings and jars from your previous stash.
And while this is not a bad thing at all, when it comes to recycling lids, it comes with a few risks. If you want to stay on the safe side, you should replace old lids entirely.
Why? Because reused lids may not seal so well and can contain traces of rust or other pollutants.
In turn, not sealing your recipients properly will invite in unwanted bacteria.
Furthermore, if the lid has traces of oxidation, it greatly increases the risk of spoiling your food content and inevitably leading to serious health risks.
My advice is to keep track of the lids by writing a date on them as well as what the jar contains to determine whether or not to reuse them.
You can take the chance and recycle them a couple times, or maybe more… the choice is yours.
But if you want to stay safe, replace the lids with new ones every time you’re canning a new batch.
Not Double Checking
This is equally as important as the measures above.
After the canned jars have cooled off, make sure you inspect every single jar.
If there’s even a slight movement of the lid after the pressure canning, then that jar is compromised. You can try pressure sealing it again, but a better option is simply replacing the jar and lid with a new one.
Another way to make sure the canned goods have been preserved well is to pay attention to the “pop” sound when you open the jar.
This indicates the suction has broken at that very moment and that it’s been sealed properly.
Pay close attention to the top of the jar’s contents once you’ve opened it. If there are any traces of strange-looking liquid or foam, you’ll be better off tossing that particular jar.
Furthermore, if the food content presents traces of mold, looks discolored, unnatural or has a stinking odor, it could be contaminated – as above, trash it to be better safe than sorry.
After all, it’s your health at stake, and that of your family.
You don’t want to take any chances when it comes to food poisoning!
Keeping these simple precautionary measures in mind will ward off any unwanted illnesses.
And if you have a gut instinct and something seems off, do yourself a service and don’t eat it.
I hope these simple tips will keep your health intact when dealing with canned goods.