Thread: Cooking
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GM GM is offline
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Hank Rogers wrote:

> GM wrote:
> > It is*critical* you follow canning safety guidelines (but you surely already know that). I once made a batch of tomatoes that caused several of us (we were at a cookout) to become quite ill, in hindsight we were very lucky that it was not worse...

> What was the root cause?
> It's pretty hard to screw up tomatoes, as they are acidic.
> (pressure canner isn't needed). Boiling water bath works fine.

I dunno what happened...I used a boiling water bath...

Only sick for a day, but we got severe intestinal upset and jaundice. This happened at the cookout, and also a bit later with another jar, with just myself...

Just found this. other sites also recommend pressure canning, not a hot water bath:

"...Unlike pickles and most fruit preserves, tomatoes are comparatively low in acidity, and so must be acidified in order to be canned using the standard water-bath method. Foods with a pH higher than 4.6 can harbor botulism bacteria spores; tomatoes are generally right around 4.5, so you're playing with fire if you do not bring the acid level up. Moreover, if you add anything to your tomatoes, such as onions, garlic or basil, you are lowering the acidity further.

Water boils at 212 degrees Farenheit at sea level; this is not sufficient to kill off the botulism spores. By raising the pressure in the cooking environment, you raise the temperature at which water boils. By raising the pressure to 11 pounds, you raise the boiling temperature to about 240 degrees Farenheit, which will kill off the spores.

So, if you intend to do much canning of low-acid foods such as tomatoes, stocks or meats, you may want to invest in a pressure canner. Modern pressure canners are easy and exceedingly safe to use, and you will be able to rest easy knowing that your canned goods are free of toxins..."