Lannae's Food and Travel

I hope you like my food and travel blog.

October 8, 2014

I Can! You Can!

  I Can!  You Can!  We all can Can!

 I took a canning class from Lyn back in September, and it was the best class in canning I have ever had!  It costs $75, Lyn came all the way from Atlanta to teach this hands on class, and I came away knowing how to can!  You too can Can this coming weekend on Sunday October 12 at the Nashville Farmer's Market at the Grow Local Kitchen.  Click here to see website and Click here to see the Grow Local Kitchen website to learn more about this up coming class.

When I signed up for this 4 hour class, the description said that I will know how to can a pickle, a tomato and a fruit.  I was a little skeptical because I took 4 other canning classes, and I did not learn how to can.  So, coming face to face with Lyn, I looked her up and down, and said, "I want to know how to put tomatoes in a jar, and can the tomatoes to put on the shelf.   I have taken 4 canning classes before, and left knowing nothing more than I just lost some cash out of my pocket to pay for those classes."  Lyn, who is delightful, has heard this before, she promised to teach me how to shove tomatoes in a jar, and indeed I learned how to CAN TOMATOES to keep them safely on my shelf!  Thanks Lyn!  Just learning this one thing make the class worth it for me!  We also learned how to make and can pickles and apple butter.  I now believe I can CAN apples, pears, and pickles too!

 I have been wanting to can for a good while, ever since we moved into our little house.  We have 3 rooms, no pantry closet, and a small 1980s style fridge/freezer.  We have no where to keep sundries, cans, or frozen foods.  If I could can, I could put cans under the bed, under couch and under the sideboard.  I started out on this odyssey trying to learn how to can safely, and learn the steps to do it.  I am an engineer,  and I like a good set of instructions that will get me from point A to point B.  All the other canning classes were led by artist types, who are more about "exceptions" and and no concrete rules to getting something done. 

This class, Lyn presented a concise way to canning, a specific method to can, and I can follow these instructions easily.  This class is how I learn best.  Lyn give me a set of instructions, and let me give it a try with my own 2 hands.  This class is the best canning class ever!  I like the instructions for canning the tomatoes because I know it will keep me safe, there is science behind the the method so botulism will not grow in the can, and I am confident I can replicate the method.

 Here is how to can tomatoes:
1.  blanch to peel tomatoes
2.  dip clean pint jars into boiling water
3.  chunk tomatoes and shove them into pint jars
4.  add 2 tablespoons jarred lemon juice from the grocery store
5.  add boiling water to top the tomatoes leaving 1 inch head space at the top
6.  stick a knife down into the edge of tomatoes and wiggle out air bubbles
7.  put a new lid on the jar, and finger tight the threading ring
8.  water bath in boiling water for 40 minutes
9.  leave the jar on the counter for a day to see how it does.  if the lid is not on tight, toss it.

That is it.  I can do this.

Helpful Hints: 
1.  The lemon juice in the jar from the grocery store is pH acidic to meet a certain level which guarantees to fend off botulism.  Lemons may not have the same acidic pH level, so it may  not add the right amount of acidity to fend off botulism.
2.  Our canning ancestors may not have used acid in preserving tomatoes before, but tomatoes were different back in the day, when tomatoes had a high level of acid.  Now, with selective farming, hybridizing and GMO, acid levels in tomatoes may vary and have less acid.  Having less acid in some modern tomatoes will not guard against botulism in canning, so adding lemon juice give the insurance policy to canning tomatoes.
3.   After the 1st 24 hours on the counter after the water bath, take the threaded ring off the jar to store.  If things go awry in the jar, you will know it by the lid coming loose.  It is harder to tell when the threaded ring is on the jar.


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