Self-Sufficiency Series

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Canning and re-canning

More canning stuff.

Our daughter's elderly piano teacher was given a box of peaches off someone's tree. The peaches were small and sour and not really good for eating. She asked if I wanted them, and I said heck yes. Peach purree added to fresh-made yogurt is unsurpassed. I took the box home and made them into purree.

I have no particular skill (or so my kids tell me) in making either salsa or pizza sauce, something we use in appreciable quantities. So what I do is buy giganto-sized quantities of both, then re-can them in smaller jars.

Here's four gallons each of salsa and pizza sauce, as well as the box of peaches:


This is the output after everything was canned and re-canned:


Ooooh, and looky what we just found at a thrift store! A food dehydrator! This is nearly identical to the model we used to own, and which we foolishly gave away (during a massive purging of possessions) before we moved to Idaho. I've been looking for one ever since. This dehydrator set us back a grand total of six bucks. Gotta love thrift stores...

29 comments:

  1. So, dumb question... You can re-can store bought sauce?? What is the purpose, to get it in smaller, more manageable size containers, or does it keep longer that way?? I am a big canner, but I have never heard of this.

    -Katie

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  2. You hit the nail exactly on the head. Take pizza sauce, for example. If I buy it in #10 tin cans (about a gallon), it's far cheaper than stuff bought in individual cans. Trouble is, I can't use up an entire gallon in one fell swoop, so most of it would go bad once I opened the can. But if I re-can it in smaller quantities, I just use what I need as I need it.

    - Patrice

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  3. Ok, one more question... how long do you can it for? Do you water bath or pressure can it? Also, can you can things (like meat) that have been frozen? Maybe there are instructions I can find somewhere on the internet. Thanks!

    -Katie

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  4. I can't remember exactly how long I canned the salsa and pizza sauce. The rule of thumb whenever canning (or re-canning, in this case) something is to go with the ingredient that has the longest processing time. If I remember correctly, it was onions that had the longest time.

    I boil-bath canned the peaches because they're high acid enough to get away with it.

    There are several excellent canning books that include long lists of processing times for various foods, as well as detailed instructions. My personal favorite is "Putting Food By" by Ruth Hertzberg, Janet Greene, and Beatrice Vaughan (you can search for it on Amazon).

    You MUST pressure-can low-acid foods, especially since most commercial tomato products are made with low-acid tomatoes (as well as all those other low-acid ingredients like onions).

    AFA canning frozen meat - sure, it can be (pressure) canned. I do it all the time. However the meat will first have to be thawed and then hot-packed. That means you'll have brown it, or boil it, or otherwise pre-cook it. Some people process meats by packing it raw in jars (a lot of my neighbors can deer meat this way), but whenever I can pork, beef, or chicken I always cook it first. "Putting Food By" gives detailed instructions for all this. - I highly recommend by the book so you can reference it at a moment's notice.

    Good luck!

    - Patrice

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    1. OMGoodness, I'm so glad I've come across your website!!! I'm so excited to get on this re-canning! We've been doing much canning lately and were trying to see if it would work, cannot wait to give it a try!!! Thank you so much, I'll continue to follow you now!

      Happy in Texas :)

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  5. I've had three of those plastic dehydrators in the past, and have dried lots of apples, mango, bell peppers, celery, potatoes, carrots, and grapes; made many a pound of jerky, too. Recently I bought a stainless steel dehydrator - variable thermostat and a timer. In three weeks I have dehydrated 5 pumpkins, 10 lbs. of green beans, 10 lbs. of English Green peas, 40 lbs. of corn, 15 lbs. of sweet potatoes, 7.5 lbs. of hash brown potatoes, six lbs. of California Medley... and I put all of this in ball glass jars, except for the hash brown potatoes. Now, after reading your story about the refried beans, I'm going to made some up and dehydrate a batch. Thanks for giving me the idea.

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  6. I bought a 20lb.can of salsa because it was a really good price. I was wondering can I recan them ? Oh I hope so.

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  7. Absolutely, Cindy. Heat the salsa to boiling, then ladle into jars. I can mine at 12 lbs pressure for 30 minutes (for quarts). Happy canning!

    - Patrice

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  8. can you recan jelly that is store bought also?

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    1. I've never tried it. Jam and jelly has so much sugar that it stays good for a long time after opening. Even if it gets a little mold on top, it's fine once you scrape the mold off. Therefore I never think about re-canning it.

      But you know what? Try it. That's half the fun of canning. Follow the processing instructions for jelly and give it a go, then drop a line to let us know how it turns out!

      - Patrice

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  9. I canned salsa this year that has a little too much vinegar. Can I open the jars and mix with the next batch of salsa and re-can?

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  10. My first batch of salsa from earlier this summer ended up with too much vinegar. Can I open the jars and mix the first batch with my next batch and re-can?

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    1. I don't see why not. Just remember to process the salsa according to the ingredient requiring the LONGEST processing time. And just because salsa has vinegar does NOT mean you can water-bath can it -- because of all the other low-acid ingredients (onions, garlic, etc.) it MUST be pressure-canned. Have fun!

      - Patrice

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  11. I have a question I'm not a good at canning but I was wondering if I could re can peaches. I buy the big cans but we don't eat as fast? Please let me know? Thank you!

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  12. Can you re can canned peaches ? I like to buy in bulk . thank you?

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  13. I have a question I'm not a good at canning but I was wondering if I could re can peaches. I buy the big cans but we don't eat as fast? Please let me know? Thank you!

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    1. Like many fruits, peaches tend to be fairly delicate. I don't know if re-canning would work -- you might end up with fruit mush -- but you know what? The only way to find out is to try. Give it a go and report your results here so we can all learn.

      - Patrice

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  14. A co-worker and I were given a bunch of tomatoes. He likes to make salsa and asked me if I would can it for him and we would share it. It has no spice to it.
    I want to add more peppers etc. The canning instructions for salsa that I had called for water bath. Is it safe to recan it with pressure canner or is the batch unsafe? Made the salsa about 2 wks ago.

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    1. I would absolutely pressure can it. Better safe than sorry.

      The rule of thumb for canning "unapproved" or pre-tested recipes is to can the food item in accordance with the ingredient requiring the longest processing time. So make a list of EVERYTHING in the salsa -- every last ingredient -- and look up the processing time for each ingredient. Whatever has the longest processing time "wins."

      So if you're adding peppers, onions, or anything like that, list those ingredients and look up the processing time.

      - Patrice

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  15. do you think I can re can hot fudge? I picked up a #10 can of it and was thinking I could do it. Pressure can it right?

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    1. I would be very careful about re-canning hot fudge. Items that contain high amounts of dairy, fats, or oils shouldn't be home canned (they can safely be commercially canned, but home canners don't have that kind of equipment) because the fatty molecules can protect botulism spores from the high heat. Can you freeze the fudge in smaller containers instead?

      - Patrice

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  16. I am new to canning and am still learning. I have canned some salsa, pineapple salsa and tomato sauce. The wife and I enjoy having spaghetti quite often and our usual recipe is one pound lean hamburger, two jars Ragu Chunky Mushroom. The other night, instead of using two jars of Ragu (we only had one) we used just one jar of Ragu and two pints of our own tomato sauce. The wife absolutely loved it. She liked it so much, we actually froze the left over sauce to have it again. My question is this, can I make this sauce in larger batches to can it so that its ready to go when we want it? I'd like to try it with the hamburger and without the hamburger. I'd also like to know if adding mushrooms would hurt anything. Any help or suggestions you have would be very much appreciated!! thank you for your time!!

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    1. Of course you can can extra quantities! The rule of thumb for such endeavors is to process in accordance with the ingredient requiring the longest processing time. So list all the ingredients in your sauce (including mushrooms) and look up the processing time for each ingredient. Especially since you have low-acid items like mushrooms, you will have to pressure-can. A canning reference book (my preference is "Putting Food By") is necessary to learn the processing time for each ingredient.

      - Patrice

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  17. I am learning to can, and have a question. My sister in law gave me wheat in black buckets. She says they are about 20 years old. I know in a number 10 can, the shelf life is 30 years. I also know that they found good wheat in tombs in Egypt. I was wondering, can I recan the wheat from the buckets into number 10 cans, and restart its shelf life? I have about 10 large buckets of wheat here...I really don't want to lose it. Thanks.

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    1. As long as you store your wheat in suitable conditions (safe from moisture, rodents, bugs) then you shouldn't have to can it. Wheat stores just fine under conditions. Canning is unnecessary to increase its shelf life.

      - Patrice

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  18. can I re-can green peas? I bought 2 LARGE cans ( I think they are #10 cans) I always cook my peas for about 20 to 30 minutes anyway with "fat back" even on the small cans. If I open one of these Large cans I will have a lot of peas left to do something with if I can't RE-Can them? If I do re-can them will they hold their pea shape or turn to baby food?

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    1. I've re-canned a lot of peas with fine results, although I've used large bags of frozen peas instead of already-canned peas. If you re-can peas that have already been canned, I don't know if they'll turn to mush or not -- so try it and see what happens. The peas should be heated, then canned at 10 lbs. pressure (adjusted to your elevation) for 40 minutes for both pints and quarts.

      Let me know the results.

      - Patrice

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    2. Hey Patrice, I thought I would give you a update about canning "Pre-Canned" peas in those #10 cans.
      Out of 2 cans ( 12 lbs. I think) I got 13 pints. They pressure canned pretty good. After processing time and removal from canning the peas they had swelled quite a bit. Wasn't expecting that since they where already Canned. Anyway, this morning when I washed the jars and removed the lids the peas had returned to their normal size. They actually canned up pretty well. They retained their shape and very little residue was in the bottom of the jars. Don't know yet about the taste. Will have to wait till I open up a jar in a couple of weeks. Will keep you updated on the taste.

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    3. This is great! Now we know what happens. I'm glad to add this info to the canning repertoire, so whenever anyone comes across a great deal with big cans of peas, we can all take advantage of it. Thanks for reporting back!

      - Patrice

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