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Country Canning Corner

James R. Coffey

Abundance: the inner peace that abounds when we gaze at our overflowing gardens and our stocked pantries and freezers. Canning is simple - we can all learn to preserve and savor nature's bounty!

Maryland Food Preservation expert James R. Coffey has been canning and preserving food for over 25 years.

Author of the book, “Country Canning Cookbook”, he has been described as a “farm-wife” type canner. Mr. Coffey has revised many older methods and recipes to current health and safety standards, and will be sharing them through this blog.

Please send in your food preservation questions and recipes! We reserve the right to update recipes, if needed.

Make Your Own Marmalades!

by James R. Coffey

It's time to start canning! If you've missed my previous posts on HOW to can - you'll need to read them, first! I will share at this time Late Winter and Early spring recipes for seasonal items as they are available. Please feel free to send in your own favorite recipes and we will try to include them. Please include your name, e-mail, and phone number on all submissions. We reserve the right to update recipes, if necessary.

Oranges and Kumquats are in season at this time of the year and now is a good time to make these marmalades.

Orange Marmalade

6 large oranges
5 pounds sugar
1 #2 can crushed pineapple (Do not drain)

When Good Canning Goes Bad!

by James R. Coffey

Preserving food through canning is a fantastic way to enjoy fresh, delicious food year round! There’s nothing sweeter than opening a jar of food you’ve canned yourself – and nothing is more disappointing than realizing the food you’ve worked so hard to preserve is not safe to eat.

This column deals with first identifying spoiled food - and then preventing future occurrences. Yes, you may have a few failed attempts as you learn the art of food preserving- but don’t give up! Save and savor those fresh-picked flavors – all year round! You can do it!

Country Preserving

by James R. Coffey
Preserving the GardenPreserving the GardenWe have over the past two columns discussed the history of canning and the methods involved. Now we will tell you how to can and how to use both a water bath and a pressure canner.

This is also a good time to assemble jars, canning lids, canners and other equipment you will need. Many times once we get into canning season, some supplies run out and are not replaced quickly enough when you really need them. You can find used jars at flea markets, yard sales and even your family members who no longer cans. Purchase your pectin and lids early as your store may run out at the height of the season. Never reuse canning lids at any time. Rummage and Garage Sales as well as E-Bay are a good source to buy pressure canners and water baths. Beware of antique pressure canners as parts may no longer be available for them. I have provided more information in the insert from my canning book:

Methods of Canning through the Ages

by James R. Coffey
Water Bath CanningWater Bath CanningPressure Canner: This is the only method considered safe for canning low acid foods by U.S.D.A. and all canning authorities. A pressure canner is a sealed pot that allows steam to reach above the boiling point of water. This reduces time and gives a greater degree of safety. [we’ll be discussing pressure canning in greater detail in future articles!]

Water Bath: This is the oldest method and the one used by Nicholas Appert. The jars of food are placed on a rack in a pot and the jars are covered with water. When the water boils, the processing time is counted. When the processing time is up, the jars are removed from the bath, allowed to cool and the jars are checked to be sure they are all sealed. This method is also known as cold packing in some areas and the kettle as a cold packer.

This method is recommended for all high acid food. This is fruits, bread spreads, pickles, and most tomatoes, as long as they are acidified. This method was also used for vegetables and other low acid foods. It is still used in the Amish and Mennonite communities for this purpose.

An Introduction to Canning and Equipment

by James R. Coffey
Preserving the GardenPreserving the GardenHome canning is both art and science. Nothing is more satisfying than a full canning storeroom. The science, of course, is that is must be done right or it will not keep.

Canning tidbit: Canning, as we know it today, was invented by Nicholas Appert. This “Father of Canning” was awarded 12,000 Francs for developing his methods – which haven’t changed much through the years. Canning preserves food by sealing it airtight after a heating period which kills the germs and organisms that cause spoilage. If jars do not seal or the heating (processing) period is not long enough the food will spoil.

Why are we talking about canning in February? Because you’ll need to plan your garden around your future canning projects! You’ll also need to gather the necessary equipment. Some people like to can soups and meats in the winter – if so, here’s what you need to get started!

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