On the way home from Vancouver, Eric and I stopped over in Vernon at the Davison Orchard. If you are ever in Vernon, you must stop at this delightful place. They have a lovely shop full of delicious fruit. The fruit is all super fresh and grown on-site. Davison Orchard also has a bakery where you can get pies, fresh bread and a delicious lunch. This year the orchard had the most beautiful peaches. Despite Eric’s objections I bought a crate and the plan is to teach myself how to can.
While researching the canning process, I have found a lot of conflicting information, specifically around the sterilization process. The rationale behind sterilizing your cans is that it ensures a proper seal, makes sure your food does not spoil and prevents Botulism. Botulism is super scary! According to the British Columbia Health Link: “Botulism is a serious, often fatal, form of food poisoning. The poison is produced by Clostridium botulinum, a bacterium that is found everywhere – in soil, on raw fruits and vegetables and on meat and fish. Over the years, a number of Canadians have died from botulism as a direct result of improper home canning.
With this in mind I thought it was necessary to get to the bottom of the sterilization process. I decided to take it a step further than simply asking my grandmother (sorry grandma)! To be on the safe side I checked with the National Center for Home Food Preservation. I am not even going to paraphrase what I found. Here is what this organization has to say about the serialization process:
“All jams, jellies, and pickled products processed less than 10 minutes should be filled into sterile empty jars. To sterilize empty jars, put them right side up on the rack in a boiling-water canner. Fill the canner and jars with hot (not boiling) water to 1 inch above the tops of the jars. Boil 10 minutes at altitudes of less than 1,000 ft. At higher elevations, boil 1 additional minute for each additional 1,000 ft elevation. Remove and drain hot sterilized jars one at a time. Save the hot water for processing filled jars. Fill jars with food, add lids, and tighten screw bands. Empty jars used for vegetables, meats, and fruits to be processed in a pressure canner need not be presterilized. It is also unnecessary to presterilize jars for fruits, tomatoes, and pickled or fermented foods that will be processed 10 minutes or longer in a boiling-water canner.”
They take the guess work out even further by providing step-by-step instructions for canning specific types of foods, including peaches!
The lesson here? Look to an authoritative source and recipe if you want to can. Also, botulism= super scary!
Also I promise more on the canning process ASAP!
So do you always sterilize your cans? Even for things like peaches that don’t have to be sanitized? Do tell…