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Thread: Canning season!

  1. #1
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    Canning season!

    I am making grape jelly but I want a fool proof way for sealing it. Does anyone have a tried and true method that works? Has anyone ever used a pressure canner for the project? I've read about boil water bath as a type of preserving but I don't have this equipment. I do have a pressure canner but there isn't any information in my manual about how to seal jelly jars. <img src=/S/whisper.gif border=0 alt=whisper width=29 height=17> It is one of the very few manuals that I do refer to...but yes, I do use a manual for this piece of equipment! <img src=/S/yep.gif border=0 alt=yep width=15 height=15>

    <img src=/S/thankyou.gif border=0 alt=thankyou width=40 height=15> for any suggestions!


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    Re: Canning season!

    Hi Skitter,
    I only have a pressure cooker and I use it for that and for a boiling water bath. At my altitude ~1600 ft. the recommended time for a boiling water bath is 15 minutes (anything under 1000 ft is 10 minutes). It really works slick.
    The major trick to grape jelly is to make very sure you proportion your portions correctly AND to not double your batches. Not really sure why doubling or using any other multiple of a batch doesn't work well, but from experience it doesn't.
    I ensure that after I cook the soon-to-be-jelly I immediately ladle it into the jelly jars (using rings and lids to make the seal......no wax) and then place the jars into the very hot, very near boiling water bath and when all of that batch is loaded into the cooker and the water is ~1" over the top of the jars, I cover the cooker and just barely tighten the lid onto the kettle (with the weight on the "steam exhaust port" {y'know I don't really know the proper name for that}) and kick up the heat. As soon as I hear it begin to boil, I leave the heat as is and remove the weight and start timing from that point. I know this is probably a bit of an over-kill, but it seems to work just fine.
    My grapes come from our vine in our backyard and this year was able to get 24 half-pints of grape jelly from it.
    We kinda went crazy on salsa this year......131 pints of the stuff......but since my lovely wife just loves to give the salsa away, to be able to preserve ( <img src=/S/pun.gif border=0 alt=pun width=22 height=18> intended) some of the salsa for our use, we just did more.
    Good Luck!
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    Re: Canning season!

    Hi Gary,

    I've not had the best of success getting these jars to seal but it isn't because of your suggest method - it is because I tried something else which didn't work. If you notice, I posted my plea for help shortly before the Lounge got zapped by the power outage. I couldn't get in to see if I had received any responses to my post. So I re-read the instructions on the Sure Jell leaflet and it said I could do an "inverted sealing method". I thought - hey, okay! Well this morning I've discovered that none of the jars have a permanent seal because they are all easily opened by my fingertips <img src=/S/sigh.gif border=0 alt=sigh width=15 height=15>.

    So I don't know if this is the correct thing to do or not, but I have decided to remove those lids, clean the edges, put new lids and rings on and follow your method. I figure "what can I hurt"! Hopefully, it doesn't affect the consistency of the jelly product. <img src=/S/crossfingers.gif border=0 alt=crossfingers width=17 height=16> The first batch is done processing and the lids are popping so hopefully, this time they have sealed correctly. If this doesn't work - I'll <img src=/S/crybaby.gif border=0 alt=crybaby width=15 height=15>.

    <img src=/S/thankyou.gif border=0 alt=thankyou width=40 height=15> for posting! <img src=/S/yep.gif border=0 alt=yep width=15 height=15>


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    Re: Canning season!

    I do a lot of canning each year and I'm a bit of a nut for safety so I really try to follow the "rules" of canning. I don't know if you are finished your canning but something else to consider is this: the lids should be put in boiling water for about 5 minutes in order to soften the sealing compound before they are set on top of the jar. I have a wonderful book by Bernadin that gives a step-by-step set of instructions for pressure canning and boiling water canning (along with some great recipes) and for either method, this one step is required. I've never had a jar "not seal" following all of their instructions. I've attached their instructions specific to pressure canning if anyone needs them.

    Deb

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    Re: Canning season!

    I think the seal comes from the air under the lid being very hot at the time the lid is put on. After cooling, there is a natural vacuum (lower air pressure inside than outside) which keeps the lid tightly affixed to the jar. If the air was on the bottom of the jar rather than at the top, under the lid, perhaps that explains why the lid didn't stay on.

    If the contents were not hot at the time of sealing, then you might want to "sterilize" everything again.

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    Re: Canning season!

    Hi Deb,

    I guess I didn't say but yes I always put my lids in lightly boiling water too! <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15> Thank you for your MS Word documentation! It gives a lot of the same information that my pressure canner book does but in a more concise manner. <img src=/S/yep.gif border=0 alt=yep width=15 height=15> Does any of the other information that you have say how to pressure can jelly? That is my favorite way to process food and like you I've not had any problems having my jars seal properly when I do it this way. So if I could find out how to preserve jelly by using the pressure canner, I would be delighted!

    I have no experience with the boiling water bath method and struggled with the sealing process for my grape jelly! I tried Gary's method and it worked fairly well but I still had three jars not seal correctly. They are currently in the refrigerator and will be consumed by us eventually! <img src=/S/yum.gif border=0 alt=yum width=15 height=15> It seems like this year has been especially bountiful for us. I think everything that we grew in the garden gave us 3 times more than usual! <img src=/S/laugh.gif border=0 alt=laugh width=15 height=15> So I want to take advantage of the extra food. It helps the grocery bill during the winter months! <img src=/S/yep.gif border=0 alt=yep width=15 height=15>

    <img src=/S/thankyou.gif border=0 alt=thankyou width=40 height=15> for posting! <img src=/S/yep.gif border=0 alt=yep width=15 height=15>


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    Re: Canning season!

    Hi Jefferson

    I didn't think much of the "inversion method" that was given in the jelly recipe! The jars were to be flipped over for 5 minutes and then back upright again - which I did. I am not sure what the purpose of this action was unless it was suppose to make the lids hot. But as I already explained in my earlier post to Deb, I also keep those lids in boiling water until I put them on my jars so they were already hot. I wonder if the jars would have sealed without flipping them since everything was boiling when I put the jelly in the jars and put those lids on? Anyway, I won't ever try that method again! It was a waste of time and created more work over all since the jars didn't seal properly. If I can find the way to pressure can jelly, that will be my preferred method for next season's crop of grapes (jelly). <img src=/S/thankyou.gif border=0 alt=thankyou width=40 height=15> for your reply!


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    Re: Canning season!

    Yikes! Apparently, jams and jellies don't fall within the realm of pressure canning - at least as far as my book goes. All it lists for pressure canning is meats, vegetables, soups, and seafood (ick!). I guess the assumption is that if you are doing jellies, then you will be sealing them using the boiling water method. I even did a google search and came up empty. For what it's worth, if you use the boiling water method, the recipe in my book for grape jelly only calls for 5 minutes of a boiling bath. The recipe also states that the jars should be filled to within 1/4 inch of the top rim for proper sealing. If you have a water canner and need the specifics (very simple) on what to do, let me know and I will post back.

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    Re: Canning season!

    <img src=/S/hello.gif border=0 alt=hello width=25 height=29> Deb,

    It doesn't make much sense to me that there isn't a tried and true pressure canning method for jelly. I would think 5 lbs for 8 minutes should work just as well? It is the same settings that my book lists for the peaches/pears/tomatoes that I do. I wonder if it has to do with the notion that the jelly will be "over cooked" in a pressure canner? But I would think that the boil water bath method would also cause the jelly to "cook". So I think I will probably contact our Extension Office to see if they can help. If they can't, then I guess I'll have to become proficient with the boil water bath method for my grape jelly. <img src=/S/sigh.gif border=0 alt=sigh width=15 height=15>

    <img src=/S/whisper.gif border=0 alt=whisper width=29 height=17> OR become a <img src=/S/granny.gif border=0 alt=granny width=20 height=20> grape wine maker! <img src=/S/laugh.gif border=0 alt=laugh width=15 height=15>

    <img src=/S/thankyou.gif border=0 alt=thankyou width=40 height=15> for your response and for all your searching efforts! <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15>


    "Peace begins with a smile. "-- Mother Teresa

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