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Trouble Shooting

This page will continue to grow as we learn new things through trial and error…And, we are not without our fair share of errors.

1.) PEACHES – we learnt a few things doing peaches.  One, if they are not ripe enough the skins will NOT slip off easily.  So, be sure to use peaches that are firm but ripe.  Two, peaches will continue to siphon loosing a lot of the syrup; therefore, be sure to leave them in the hot water bath to cool down for a least 5 minutes.  This will reduce the amount of siphoning but not totally prevent it.

2.)  Do not tighten the rings/lids until your item has completely cooled and even then it is not important to have the ring super tight.  The reason for this is that if tightened too soon it may cause the snap to come undone prematurely.

3.)  TOMATOES – Scoring the tomatoes before blanching will help loosen the skins without having to boil them too long.

4.) JARS BREAKING – Have you ever had a jar break while processing?  This can be a frustrating problem but it is easy to solve.  (1) Make sure that the jars going into the water bath are hot…this is part of the reason why it is important to heat/sterilize the jars before they go into the hot water bath as while as making sure contents are hot too.  (2) Vintage/Old Jars/Recycled Jars tend to break more easily in the hot water bath…I guess because the glass isn’t as good as today.  But, the solution to this is to make sure the jars are sterilized in the hot water bath or my favorite method ~ the OVEN and you put them in before the water has come to a full rolling boil.  This way the jars can heat up more gradually as the water boils.  (3) Use the metal rack.  Sometimes you can do the above things and still have a jar break when it hits the bottom of the pot.  Avoid this by using the metal rack so the jars do not sit directly on the hot bottom.  Note: If you do have a jar break.  Stop processing, remove all jars, clean pot, replace water and continue.  Yesterday, I had a jar break and left it in the processor only to have all of the contents swirling around the pot which prevent the other jars from sealing.  That’s a frustrating waste of time.

5.) Clearjel – Some recipes call for this thickening agent…but you can’t seem to find it anywhere!  Instead, I use corn starch which is not recommended because reheating can cause some starches to lose viscosity and making the mixture too thick can interfere with required heat penetration during heat processing.  However, when recipes call for Clearjel I will substitute it with corn starch but use half of the specified measurement.  I have made a number of things with corn starch…always recipes that require very little thickening agent and I have never had a problem.  NOTE: do not add cornstarch to a heated liquid as it will clump instantly and be impossible to remove the lumps.  Mix the corn starch in with your dry ingredients and stir well.  You can purchase Clear Jel on line from Golda’s Kitchen.

6.) The mysteries of  PRESSURE CANNING Revealled…There seems to be a bit of a learning curve with using a Pressure Canner.  At least, there was for us.  What we’ve learnt:

  • Carefully read your pressure canners instruction and guideline manual as they are all different. 
  • Make sure that you keep a close eye on it during the allotted time to be sure that it maintains the correct heat and pressure required for processing.
  • Patience, patience, patience.  Allow the pressure canner to properly cool down before removing the lid.  If the lid is removed too quickly then the contents come in contact with air that is much cooler and can cause rapid SIPHONING…which will prevent your jars from sealing.  NOTE: we allow the gauge to reach zero pounds of pressure…then, we leave it alone for another 10-15 minutes, then remove the petcock, wait another few minutes before removing the lid and VOILA…all your jars should seal without a problem.  This took use several times to figure out but we are now enjoying success nearly every time. 
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