Prepper Book Festival: The Preppers Canning Guide

Avatar Gaye Levy  |  Updated: July 3, 2019
Prepper Book Festival: The Preppers Canning Guide

Canning is a blessing and a curse. For seasoned canners, preserving the local bounty not only saves money but is a relaxing and stress-free experience. These same canners giddily prepare fully cooked meals in jars, to be opened and reheated at a moment’s notice.

And everyone else? They suffer a fear of the canning process, botulism, and of blowing themselves up along with their kitchen. Don’t let this canning curse prevent you from learning and benefiting from this important skill. In The Prepper’s Canning Guide, my good friend Daisy Luther teaches you how to can without fear!

Preppers Canning Guide | Backdoor Survival

Not only that, she shares the latest in safety tips plus tried and true recipes from her own prolific kitchen. These are recipes every prepper will embrace because they were developed by a prepper, for a prepper. Meats, veggies, beans, jams, and pickles – they are all here along with useful hints and tips that will ensure your success.

With that introduction, today I share an interview with Daisy plus I have three copies of her book up for grabs in a giveaway.

An Interview with Daisy Luther, Author of The Prepper’s Canning Guide

This is your sixth Backdoor Survival Prepper Book Festival which speaks to your success as an author in the preparedness and survival niche. That being said, how do you differentiate this book, The Prepper’s Canning Guide, from your previous books?

People who have purchased my original canning book, The Organic Canner, will recognize some of the recipes from that book in the new one. The difference is, the new book is written with preppers in mind. It has lots of “kitchen sink” recipes to help you preserve whatever your garden happens to be overflowing with at the moment.

It has a section on canning off-grid, a section on the supplies a canning aficionado will want to have on hand, and even tips for canning the things in your refrigerator so they don’t spoil during a power outage. There are quite a few new recipes and the book is professionally produced and edited.

If you happen to be new to food preservation, you’ll find all the information you need to help you get started canning with confidence.

Do you ever suffer “prepper burnout” and if so, how do you deal with it?

Definitely, especially with the current climate in the United States right now. There is so much political animosity. We’re so divided. I’ve always spent a great deal of time reading and researching current events, but lately, it is so difficult to get to the truth. All of the sources seem extremely biased, and there’s so much anger in every article. It was really throwing me off my game.

Finally, I decided that the most important thing I could do was focus on the things that I can actually control. For example, I can’t win fruitless arguments on the internet. I can’t change the minds of people who are dead set in their opinions, no matter how much logic and reason I apply.

But there are lots of things that I CAN do. I can learn skills. I can store food. I can grow vegetables. I can read books – there are MANY things we can all control, and we should focus on those.

People seem more stressed than ever before. How can we combat this?

Have fun. I am not on board with the philosophy that prepared people have to be grim and serious all the time.

Take time every day to do something just because it makes you happy. Even though we are all focused on getting prepared, that shouldn’t mean that you exclude the things that make life worth living. Make memories with your loved ones. Travel when you can. Pet baby animals. Lay down and watch the clouds cross the sky on a beautiful day.

Survival shouldn’t just be about existing. It should be about taking every chance you can to find more joy in your life.

What, in your opinion, are the greatest challenges we face going forward?

A lot of people think that the economy has been magically repaired, but it hasn’t. The damage done and debt created over the past years are something that can’t be fixed overnight, and I think our situation is very precarious. The second issue is the current unrest – unless people can find some common ground, I think it’s only going to continue to accelerate.

Some people stopped prepping after Trump won the election and I think that was a big mistake. The problems that existed before the election are still there, and now we’ve added these societal issues. Prepping has never been more important than it is right now.

Two acronyms are bantered about among survival and prepper types. They are SHTF and BOB. How do you feel about these two terms and do you use them yourself?

I don’t use a whole lot of acronyms for the simple reason that jargon can be hard to understand and this can be intimidating for someone who is new to prepping. I prefer to use language that is easy to understand, even if someone hasn’t been at this for decades.

What advice do you have for a young person in their 20s who has shown an interest in preparedness?

When you’re younger, you tend to move more often. Maybe you’re changing jobs, getting transferred, getting married – there are all sorts of reasons you might need to be more mobile.

For someone who isn’t firmly settled, focus on having a couple of months’ worth of food, a water supply, and the skills and tools you need to survive. This is a great time to learn skills – you are young, fit, and a lot more suited to roughing it than someone who is older.

Tell me about your own website. Was is its focus and who is the target audience?

My website is The Organic Prepper. I started it back when I lived in Canada, so the URL ends in “.ca” for that reason.

I write about a pretty wide variety of topics. I’ve always had a strong interest in health and nutrition, and I combined that with my love for preparedness when creating the site. I write about frugality quite a bit too – as a single mom raising two kids, my ability to stretch money has meant a much more stable lifestyle for us.

I like to connect current events with the need for preparedness. For example, in January and February of this year, our area was subject to storms lasting for weeks. This resulted in mudslides, avalanches, floods, and giant sinkholes. Roads were crumbling as people drove over them. From this, I was able to write a lot of content that was applicable to our real-life situation.

Other current events to watch out for are issues with the market, politics, weather events, crises in other parts of the world, and civil unrest. By watching these events unfold, we can learn what to expect if similar events happen where we live. This can show us the things we need to do to prepare for such events, and can also help us to predict what may happen next in our own scenarios.

Can you drop some hints about your next book?

So many books, so little time. I have a few topics in mind and I’m not sure which will come next. One thing I’m considering is writing about specific preps for specific disasters, instead of the broader view.

Other potential topics are frugal yet healthful food, prepping for people with dietary restrictions, and maybe even some fiction.

Do you have some advice or a personal message you would like to pass on to Backdoor Survival readers?

Don’t be discouraged.

There is so much ugliness in the world right now. There are so many people having life-altering financial problems. Serious health issues are on the rise and will affect nearly every family at some point.

It can make you feel hopeless.

But no matter what is going on in your life, if you face it with a survivor’s attitude, the journey will be easier. Even if it doesn’t result in the outcome you would like, you can alter your path positively. Never lose hope that tomorrow will be better than today.

The Giveaway

Daisy has reserved three copies of her book in this newest Book Festival Giveaway.

A special word about the giveaway question/comment: Please read the question and respond accordingly, even it the answer is “I don’t know”. This week’s question is:

Submit a question about canning or preserving food that you would like answered in a future article.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The deadline is 6:00 PM MST Tuesday with the winners notified by email and announced on the Rafflecopter in the article. Please note that the winners must claim their book within 48 hours or an alternate will be selected.

Note: Due to customs requirements, this giveaway is only open to individuals with a mailing address in the United States.

The Final Word

Before closing let me tell you something about Daisy. She is a mom of the highest order, nurturing two daughters and farm animals which she has named. She is also a blogging colleague, friend, and the nicest person you will ever meet. As busy as she gets, she always has time to help out when needed, even it takes precious time away from her own workday.

Aside from those personal qualities, she is a fantastic author who shuns fluff. Her writing is well researched and often comes from personal experience. Her book, The Prepper’s Water Survival Guide, is a best seller in its own right and must-have for every survival library. I could go on and on, but for now, will just say this: The Preppers Canning Guide along with the Ball Book of Canning and Preserving and the USDA Canning Guide, are the only books you need to set yourself on a path of home-canned goodness.

For more information about the books in this latest book festival, visit Prepper Book Festival 14: Books to Learn, Prepare, and Be Ready for Anything.

If you enjoyed this article, consider subscribing to email updates. When you do, you will receive a free, downloadable copy of our e-Book, The Emergency Food Buyer’s Guide. Also check the Facebook page regularly for links to free or almost free eBooks that we personally review just for you.

You can also vote for Backdoor Survival daily at Top Prepper Websites!



Spotlight: The Prepper’s Canning Guide: Affordably Stockpile a Lifesaving Supply of Nutritious, Delicious, Shelf-Stable Foods

A practical and approachable guide to amassing an emergency food supply filled with your own natural dishes

As the disaster drags on for days, weeks, months or even years, food scarcity and starvation will fuel people’s desperation. Even preppers like you will need more than dried beans and rice to survive. With The Prepper’s Canning Guide, you’ll learn the lifesaving techniques to take your food storage to the next level, including how to:

•Store nutrition-packed foods
•Create delicious MREs
•Can protein-rich meat and poultry
•Make canned produce last longer
•Use time-tested water-bath methods
•Utilize modern pressure canning

From food safety guidelines to grid failure canning tips, this book will guarantee your family stays safe, secure and well-fed.

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170 Responses to “Prepper Book Festival: The Preppers Canning Guide”

  1. I love reading what Daisy writes. I’ve read her website for so long, I consider her a friend, even though we have differing views on many issues. My question for her is this: I have read several articles about canning butter and bacon. Some articles are how to’s and others say never can butter or bacon. Is there a way to safely can butter and bacon?

    • Hi, Linda!

      First, thank you so much for the kind words. I feel like many of you guys are friends also. We really get to know one another after a few years. 🙂

      Secondly – the canning of butter and bacon are topics of heated debate. Many people do it and say that it is perfectly fine.

      First the dairy products: I did can a few dairy products at one point myself, but have opted not to do that any longer. I follow the USDA guidelines with regard to canning because the risk of botulism is one I am simply not willing to take. There IS no approved method for canning butter or other dairy products, so I don’t do it. I recommend getting a powdered or freeze dried option instead.

      For bacon – the method where you wrap the strips in parchment paper and can it that way is not considered safe by the USDA either. (Perhaps in part because they haven’t tested this as far as I know. ) A way that you are able to can bacon is buy cutting it into bite-sized pieces and using a liquid or brine. Here is the recommended method. //

      While everyone has to make their own choices, I generally opt for the safest practices. I always think it would be bad enough to make my family sick, but even worse if it happened during an emergency in which medical assistance wasn’t available.

      Happy canning!

    • I currently buy Oscar Meyer or Kroger pre-cooked bacon when it is on sale. It comes in a zippered pouch and then a box. I find that it usually will have an expiration date of 6-7 months out. Once you open package then refrigerate any left overs. Has the same amount as a package of uncooked bacon and in low salt type as well. You will find this back in aisle around the meat or refrigerated area. You will know when it turns bad it gets very dark brown and smells.

  2. I do love canning!!! there are many things that I have yet to learn how to can. I want to learn how to can everything that anyone has already mentioned. At the top of my list is how to can: milk,butter, bacon, I would like to learn how to can some specialty items like, Bell peppers canned in water like you would see in the grocery store. ( The only recipes i can find use a pickling brine) specialty sauces like I see in the grocery store, for instance Sesame Ginger Simmer Sauce ( sold at Safeway). Canned tamales, corn beef. are now also on my list after seeing some of the other entries,

    • Some of the things that you see in the store you really can’t safely duplicate at home. Bell peppers in water might be able to be pressure canned (I’ve never tried this) but I fear they’d be pretty mushy. I recommend against canning dairy products and anything with a flour-y thickener. You can always add the thickener at serving time.

      Some things really do work better in other preserved formats, like freeze-dried or dehydrated. Safety should always come first. 🙂

    • Jeff, pressure canning requires liquid to build up the pressure, so no, you cannot pressure can dry items like flour, etc. But many vacuum sealers have an attachment that you can use to vacuum seal canning jars and you could use this method to help preserve dry goods in canning jars.

    • I have a case (9?) half gallon jars with vacuumed flour in them. I also have rice and dried beans vacuum sealed. I also have wheat berries vacuumed sealed.

      If you have stored dried beans that have gotten older, you know that they are hard to cook to tender? Well, I have some like that and decided to pressure cook them. (Let them soak overnight before putting in pressure cooker.) They were just as tender as the newer ones from the store.

    • Thank you Deborah for that suggestion! I have some older dried beans and no matter how long I cook them they never quite get as tender as they should. I’ll have to try the pressure cooker next time.

    • Jeff – I concur with Ann! Vacuum sealing is the best option for dry foods. I like to freeze them for 48 hours before sealing them up to kill off any critters that might be in there.

    • Pawpaw fruit is lower acid than most fruits. I would probably make it into a pawpaw butter and I would definitely process it in a pressure canner.

    • I don’t know the definitive answer to this one, but if I were going to can grape leaves, I’d pickle them. The vinegar would ensure you had enough acid to make it safe.

  3. I have been intimidated to start canning, even though my sister does it all the time. I’d love to have this book to guide me. Thanks.

  4. I love all the useful information you share. i would love to know more about dehydrating vegetables, fruit, and herbs. and the best way to store each. thank you so much.

    • Ann, they make Sure-Gel with less sugar now. I’ve used it for making my diabetic hubby jellies. I think you can use gelatin in it, too, but check with an expert first.

  5. I am nervous about pressure canning. I’ve heard horror stories. It sounds like this book would be the perfect way to move forward with confidence in that area of our preparedness!

  6. How is the best way to pickle cucumbers? I’ve tried and they are always too soft. I want crispy ones like the store bought, but want to do my own.

    I love canning! I just can’t make pickles.

    • The shelf life is the same – approximately one year. The difference is based on the type of food you’re canning. Low acid foods must be pressure canned, while high acid foods are fine to water bath can/

    • The nice thing about canned foods is that they are something you replenish every year. It’s sort of a pioneer-style way of eating. You preserve your food in the summer in fall when it is at the best possible prices. Then, you enjoy it all winter long when things get more expensive.

      Our home isn’t huge either. We put risers under our beds to make more space, use the backs of closets, and use trunks instead of coffee tables. We have many unusual hidey-holes for our food!

  7. Will water that’s been softened (ex: potassium chloride or sodium chloride) change the chemistry of canned food?

    • Very soft water can make canned foods “mushier” while very hard water can look quite cloudy when the minerals settle due to the high temperatures during canning. Hard water can also make food a little bit tough. Neither is harmful but can be a bit off-putting in appearance.

      If you water is extremely soft, you might consider buying distilled water for the purposes of canning.

  8. Does the transparent glass of jars (allowing light to the food) degrade the contents faster than commercially canned food (in cans)?

    Thanks to both Gaye and Daisy for providing excellent content that will ultimately save many lives.

    • Dean, it’s best to keep your jar canned foods in a cool dark place out of direct sun light.

    • There are issues with both methods. If the glass jars are exposed to light, especially direct sunlight as Deborah mentioned the food in the jars will degrade faster. But the glass jars are more chemically neutral than metal cans, so if they are kept in a cool dark place the food in the cans will degrade faster.

  9. Someone once asked me what can you can? I tell them that if there is anything in a can or bottle at the store you your self can can it. You just need to make sure that you are doing it right.

  10. While I don’t have my mom’s original dill pickle recipe, I remember them being tart, crisp & had garlic & probably all spice, maybe other ingredients that I’ve forgotten over time. I found a recipe that seemed similar to what I remembered but the picles never crisped. I tried several batches with different ways, I limed the cukes and even tried pickle crisp. They were all soft. The flavor was good but they were NOT crisp. Anything you recommend? I would really like to re-create my mom’s pickles. She’s been gone for almost 30 years now, and her recipe was probably from the 40s or earlier.

    • Make sure you always cut the blossom end off of the cucumber for crisp pickles. As well, you can add something with natural tannin to the jar. Grape leaves, blackberry leaves and raspberry leaves placed in the bottom of the jar can help.

    • Short answer is YES.

      Long answer – you may not want to add all of the salt and spices normally added to corned beef because they will intensify as it processes and sits in the jar. If you DO add all the spices you will probably have to use it in small amounts in dishes like corned beef hash. (I learned this the hard way with ham.)

      I nearly always raw pack meat when canning and would also raw pack this.

  11. I wonder about canning small amounts. I have only done large batches of applesauce (3-4 bushels). Any tips about efficiently canning small batches (when you have enough produce for just a few jars)

    • Good question! Our household is down to 2 people and I am cooking a lot of cut down recipe’s made for 2 people. If something happens and my daughter’s family end up at our house I can always open more jars or make bigger batch of something.

    • Not sure how safe it would be, but my mother canned a few pints in her pressure cooker. She followed the recipe for the bigger canner. They lasted longer than she did. She died about 2 years after she did all her canning. You might need to check with a canning company to make sure it’s safe.

    • Now that my oldest daughter is out on her own, there are only 2 of us at home also. I don’t recommend using a pressure cooker (sorry – I know someone suggested that) because it isn’t exactly the same as a pressure canner. But here are some things you can do:

      * Can in pint jars
      * Get a second rack so you can stack pint jars and do a double batch of smaller jars
      * Fill your canner by doing a batch of beans in the extra jars when pressure canning (there are always dried beans around that you could cook up.)
      * Can more than one food at a time – just make sure they have the same time/pressure requirements or go with the longest time or highest pressure.

      I hope this helps!

  12. I would like to know how to determine how much produce you would need for ‘x’ cans or how many cans would be needed for ‘x’ amount of produce.

    • This is a question that the publishing company asked me and it is one I was unable to answer.

      There’s so much variation in your foods. Let’s take tomatoes, for example.

      One variety might be a super-dense tomato. This would make a lot more sauce with a lot less cooking down than an incredibly juicy large heirloom tomato, for example. For the heirloom, you might strain it to get out some of the water, and then be left with only half of the end product, even if you started with the same weight as the dense tomatoes.

      The same holds true with other fruits and vegetables, and even meats. Even the same variety can produce different amounts – perhaps one was raised in a drought-ridden area and one had tons of water and fertilizer. The end result will be very different.

      That’s a long way of saying, I just don’t know. It’s possible to generalize, but you can’t really be specific. It’s very imprecise.

  13. I hate heating all that water to do a “water bath” canning, and it is so heavy, so I think it is unsafe. They sell “steam bath” cookers, but some people say no to steam. I know that steam will get hotter than water and it seems to me a great way to go. I use my pressure canner/cooker and just leave the jiggler off. What is Daisy’s opinion?

    • The USDA has approved steam canners (finally!) but I’ve never used one. I’m sorry, but due to lack of experience, I can’t give you much more information than that. Here’s the paper on steam canners.


      I have used my pressure canner for water bath canning too. As far as safety is concerned. I generally just remove the jars with my jar lifter and leave the pot on the stove until it has cooled off to the point it won’t burn me. Then, I dump it into the plugged sink and use it for a load of dishes. 🙂

  14. i really want to know how long water bath and pressure canned goods last, storage wise. My darling DH threw out not just the applesauce I had canned but the jars as well because he said it was two years old and therefore no good. The jars were in the basement pantry, dry and around 55-60 degrees. No bulging or anything. My cousin , who has been canning for years told me when she came for a visit they were still good for quite awhile. the jars had been there for two years. She said I did a great job of my first attempt at water bath canning. Now I am scared to death to do any canning for fear I will poison my family. Thank you

    • 1) The jars are glass. They will last forever unless they are cracked, chipped (especially the rim!), or scratched. The glass jars can be cleaned and sterilized and used over and over – this is one of the big benefits of canning. The bands can also be reused, but generally rust after a few uses so they should be replaced periodically. The flat lids are one time use only and should be replaced each time.
      2) As long as the food was canned and stored properly it can last much longer than 2 years in my personal experience. The most common thing that you’ll find after 2 – 5 years is that the taste degrades – even though the food may still be safe to eat it just isn’t tasty anymore. As a test, I just went down to the pantry shelves in my basement (dry 65-70 degrees year round) and found a pint antique canning jar (jar is at least 50 years old, but probably closer to 100) of spicy tomato juice that I water bath canned in September of 2011 (always put the date on your jars!). It’s still yummy! You should always look for discoloration/mold/unsealed lids/bad smell or anything else that looks off when using ANY canned goods (including commercial), but in my opinion two year old jars that were properly canned and stored are just fine and even if you decide your food is too old to eat you should save the jars.

    • The USDA says home canned food lasts “at least a year.”

      Of course, expiration dates on everything tend to err on the side of “too soon” rather than “too late.” Here’s exactly what they say about it:

      “Properly canned food stored in a cool, dry place will retain optimum eating quality for at least 1 year. Canned food stored in a warm place near hot pipes, a range, a furnace, or in indirect sunlight may lose some of its eating quality in a few weeks or months, depending on the temperature. Dampness may corrode cans or metal lids and cause leakage so the food will spoil.”

      Personally, we eat anything containing meat within a year. Fruits, jams, and acidic foods, we’ll stretch to 2 years or more.

  15. How do you feel about solar dehydrating vs canning and are there units out there that you would recommend? Also, I have heard differing opinions on stacking canning cars. Some it is fine, others say it compromises seals. Any thoughts or opinions?

    • Carol, people have been solar dehydrating for a really long time. That’s how the Native Americans dried their foods. My MIL remembers drying fruit on a sheet on a tin roof. You do have to cover the produce with another sheet to keep flies off. It was her job to turn the fruit over.

    • Solar dehydrating is great. The thing is, you don’t have to pick one or the other. I use a wide variety of different preservation methods for our food storage.

      I occasionally do stack small canning jars, but never the quart jars, simply because it is more unstable and I live in California – I can’t even imagine the mess in an earthquake.

    • If they are vacuum packed, and an oxygen absorber is placed inside, it can last for 25 years or more. Check with a dehydrator manufacturer to be sure.

  16. We have eaten home canned things that are 5 years old. I make sure the seal is intact, and I smell the contents. If they’re off, they’re thrown out. I haven’t had anything bad, yet. I also heat them to a boil and boil at least 3-5 minutes.

    • Vegetables, ballpark one year. Fruits, you can extend a bit longer – two years. Always make sure the seal is intact and that everything smells or looks ok. Also remember, past one year, the foods really won’t taste as good.

  17. What would be the best way to preserve dog and cat food that is not kibble or canned? I make my own cat and dog food and don’t want them to go hungry should TSHTF and we need to use what we have. Can you comment?

    • You can feed your animals chicken, beef, green beans, and carrots. Look online for homemade dog/cat food. If you are pressure canning, you need to pressure can it for the longest time of whatever foods you have in there. It really depends on what you fix. We made our dogs food when she was in Renal failure. We mixed ground beef, extra lean, with cooked rice, green beans, and carrots. Everything was cooked from scratch. The only thing canned we used was the green beans, and they were home canned. BTW! The vet said she wouldn’t have lasted as long if we hadn’t fed her what we did. She also wanted the recipe we used.

    • Thanks! I already have my own recipe (made from about a bazillion I found on-line) and figured that would be the case – can for the longest time any of my ingredients have. Sometimes, you can over question yourself, you know?

    • There is a section in the book about canning your own recipes. You probably will want to add the grains at serving time and can only the meats and veggies you feed your pets. This will need to be pressure canned to be safe. Remember that botulism can kill animals too!

    • Yes, Daisy, I knew they would have to be pressure cooked. Now my question to you is: If I’m canning and feeding this food to them in case of a power outage, how would I cook the grain? That’s what I meant by TSHTF – The Stuff (only it’s another word) Hits The Fan (all in capitals for clarity). No power. So I understand your comment, but because this is a preppers site, I thought I’d ask. As I mentioned, sometimes it is easy to overthink yourself, if that makes sense. I make all my critter food from scratch (they are much healthier this way, and despite what you hear, if you grow your own veggies, NOT more expensive), as well as their snacks. I didn’t lose a pet from the pet food scare several years ago, but I know those who did, and I could not bear it if that happened to any of my furkids. My other kids don’t eat kibble or canned (by others) so I’m not as worried about them, LOL.

    • I would purchase some “instant” rice or whatever starches you are using. Although it may not be quite as nutritious as what you give them now, it will still be far better than any store-bought kibble.

      The grains could make the food too thick to process safely if you try canning them.

      Again, I know people who do it, but that doesn’t mean it’s safe.

      You have very lucky furkids!

    • Jan, I marinate my jerky in Worchestshire sauce, Soy sauce, and some liquid smoke. I’ve used black pepper on it, have used Tobasco sauce on it. You can use any spices you desire. I dehydrate mine for 12-24 hours. After it cools, I place it in a quart canning jar and vacuum seal it. It wil last for years like this, but . . . It never lasts that long. The most a week. I have given it for Christmas gifts. You can use roast or round steak. I have used both. If I use roast, I get the meat market to cut it for jerky. If I use round steak, I cut it myself in about 14-inch strips. Hope this helps. Oh, and you can use turkey, chicken or fish to make jerky. We just like the beef best. And I don’t pre-cook my meats.

  18. I have canned a lot in the past but I do have some questions. When canning meat, chicken, beef, etc. how long is good for?

  19. My Mother canned a lot of meat, fruit, jams and vegetables while we were growing up and they always tasted so good. I remember her frustration on the occasional jar not sealing well. So my concern is of that same issue. I do want to get back to canning using both methods but I am so skeptical of the jars not completely sealing and I really hate to get sick from food issues. I have a couple versions of the Ball canning books, one my Mother had and one I purchased 10 years ago and the USDA Canning Guide so I would love to win your book to add to this collection on canning.

    On a side note: Gaye Thank You for getting the problem I reported fixed. No issues responding to this Rafflecopter.

    • A few issues that can cause the jars not to seal:

      *Make sure that you clean off the lip of the jar before putting the flat lid on. Use a cloth dipped in vinegar to get off anything that is sticky or greasy.
      *Get good quality lids. I only buy brand name lids like Ball or Kerr. I find that the ones from discount stores have a much higher failure rate.
      *Don’t let your lids be exposed to extremes in temperature – both heat and cold can affect their ability to seal.

  20. Gaye, I have to say that this is one of my favorite posts. I have learned so much from you. I’ve been preserving foods for the past 20 plus years. My dear MIL taught me how to can green beans. And that created a monster. Last year, hubby got involved in the canning aspect. We canned everything we bought fresh or grew.

  21. I am new to canning and the botulism thing makes me nervous. Is there any kind of quick test that you can run i.e. like litmus paper testing that would ensure the safety your product. Would love your book so I can work on become a better canner!!

  22. My biggest problem with pressure canning is that I live at about 1200ft above sea level. Most pressure canning instructions now are either below 1000ft or above 1000ft, but the above 1000ft instructions (leave the time the same but increase the pressure to 15) are so far overkill for my elevation stuff comes out tasting burnt. I’d love to see some of the older instructions that give different instructions for different elevations or find someone who still uses the old method to teach them to me.

    • You don’t need to go to 15 pounds!!!

      Add 1 pound for every thousand feet above sea level. So for you – if it calls for 10 pounds PSI, just go to 11 pounds.

      🙂 It’ll be MUCH tastier!

    • Problem is that my pressure canner has a jiggler that only has 5 10 15 as options, so how do I do 11?

    • I can broth all the time – every single time we have enough of something to make a batch of broth, into the crock pot, then into the canner. I can’t speak to whether it is less beneficial, but I always thought that the longer it cooked, the better it would be for you. Don’t can the bones, though – they get really yucky when canned. Total gelatinous mush. (Another lesson I learned the hard way!)

    • Dennis, it all depends on what your are canning. If it’s acidic foods like tomatoes, water bath canning. Green beans, potatoes, carrots and other veggies like that pressure canning is best. Get a Ball Blue Book or a Kerr canning book. It will tell you how to can, what.

  23. I have to admit I am ‘scared’ of canning. What if I do it wrong? What if the pressure canner explodes all over my kitchen? I see dollar signs in damages, time and product! I’m scared of what I don’t know to even know what questions to ask.

  24. My suggestion to new canners is buy a book on canning! I have several. I did get one when I bought my canner, but also invested in a Ball and a Kerr canning book. They are close to the same, some different recipes in each one. But the basics are the same.

  25. I have caned meat, veg and fruit (and broths) but no mater what I do, the chicken I can is so dry. Is there something I am doing wrong? Also: Can butter be canned? I see lots of different techniques, some seem not so safe. AND I recently read an article espousing the use of wax instead of water bath canning jams and jellies. Really? Or would you be courting disaster?

    • I would be more comfortable using the water bath canner than wax. I know they used wax a good while ago, but I think water bath canning is better. JMHO

    • 1) Try adding some liquid to the chicken – it will turn out “poached” and melt in your mouth. The liquid will turn to broth – double bonus.

      2) You should not can butter, according to the USDA.

      3) The wax method is not considered a safe method. Water bath canning is the safest way to preserve jams and jellies.

    • When I butcher chickens I use the bones from the carcasses to make broth (cram the bones in a big pot, add just enough water to cover and boil for 24 to 48 hours). Then I can the meat with a little bit of the broth in each jar. Excellent flavor, melt in your mouth, and super concentrated broth in each jar. Triple bonus 🙂 White meat will always be drier than dark meat, so if you’re buying meat you might want to consider buying thighs instead of breasts.

      Back in the 1960’s my mother used paraffin to seal jams and jellies. The benefit was that she could use any jars, not just canning jars, and you had to spend money to buy the canning jars. The down side was that there was a fair amount of spoilage because the paraffin doesn’t seal and preserve as well as the canning jars and lids. I don’t use anything other than canning jars, it would be heartbreaking to see all my hard work go moldy.

  26. I really want this book! Organic canning is definitely what I need to learn more about. I’d also like more information about reducing the need for sugar in canning foods. Thanks!

  27. I will always be afraid to try a pressure canner because as a child, my grandmother blew beans all over the ceiling.

    • You have to keep your eyes and ears opened while pressure canning. When we can, we stay in the area where the canner is until we turn the fire off for it to cool down. We have never left a canner unattended. Leaving a canner unattended is a dangerous thing. Just keep on your toes and there’s nothing to worry about. The pressure guage cooker is best. My first canner was one with the jiggler on it.we have some antique ones that have the gauge.

    • I’ll be honest – canned vegetables are a mushier texture. It’s just how they are. We use our canned veggies in soups and stews, generally, and also in purees.

      All vegetables are low acid and must be pressure canned, with the exception of pickled vegetables.

    • This is assuming you generally eat your veggies cooked al dente. Some people prefer their vegetables more thoroughly cooked and really enjoy them canned.

  28. I’ve never had soggy veggies, well, except for summer squash. My green beans are even better than store bought. All that’s in them is, beans, water, and canning salt, and not much of it. No preservatives. They are as good as fresh cooked.

  29. I am still educating myself on canning so I don’t really know whakt to ask yet but I think winning the book would be a great assistance in my education.

  30. How often should pressure canner gauges be tested? Is home testing adequate, or should they be tested by a professional?

    • You can generally take them to your local county extension office and have them tested for free. Just give a call to find out what day the master preserver will be in.

  31. I have never canned a thing in my life. My experience is a mix of growing in deep country and many years military. I can grow just about anything and have hunted everything you can think of, but this is something I need to get a handle on. I have survived for long periods of time on gods bounty but even I can see where this would improve anyones quality of life. Thank you for showing me this book to me.

  32. Knowing how to preserve and put away food is just about in the lost arts category. In today’s world everything is in a frenzied rush and there is NEVER enough time. Life is not how it was once. Even just 25 years ago was very different. I would love a much slower world where you could actually enjoy the different times of the day and have the time and energy to do gardens and reap their harvests and stash away the plenty for winter. But just as preserving is a craft we lost so is gardening.

    • Hi Dennis!

      There are all sorts of different canners on the market, and pros and cons to each. I’ve used several and here is my rundown:

      I use a 23-quart Presto pressure canner. It isn’t extraordinarily heavy and holds a full load of jars. The downside is that you may have to replace gaskets on occasion. In 3 years, I’ve only replaced the gasket once. They’re cheap and I keep half a dozen on hand. It is very reasonably priced.

      The smaller Presto canner can be used on a smooth top stove. It is the only one that is usable on those types of stoves.

      The All-American is the Cadillac of canners. It’s expensive but there are no parts that will ever require replacement. The downside is that it is extremely heavy. If you have any mobility issues or joint pain, it may not be right for you.

  33. Love Ms Daisy Luther! Enjoy your articles and emails.

    How long can you keep items that have been canned? I have stuff my Stepmom has given me from maybe 8-10 years ago. Will it keep indefinitely?

    Thank you,

    • I’d probably recommend discarding things that have been canned for so long. They might not be safe and the flavor will have most likely be very degraded.

  34. Thank you for this information. My wife and sister and mother-in-law used to can years ago. I was always interested in the process but after father-in-law and I help prep what was going in the jars we were shooed out of the kitchen.

  35. I know nothing at all about canning. What would be the best all around type of canner for someone who is just starting to get involved in canning?

  36. How can I can peaches using brandy instead of juice?
    Also, what do you think about using an inert gas (nitrogen) to displace the oxygen in a container of dry food, like beans or rice?

    • The instructions would be the same if you’re using alcohol instead of juice.

      I am familiar with the nitrogen process but have never done it myself, so I can’t answer that question.

  37. Since I’m in a small household, I’d need to use pint jars instead of quarts. I’ve not pressure canned before, so am unsure how to adapt the recipes I have available.

    • The smaller jars would be canned at the same pressure but for less time. Many recipes have the time for pint jars and it is generally 15 minutes less. However, if you are doing the “meals in a jar” kind of recipes, those make only 2-4 servings so you may want to consider canning them in quarts.

  38. I am getting ready to come into a good deal on citrus fruit and am interested in canning it. I know how to can it but am wondering if anyone has canned it before and what they thought about the taste.

  39. My question is about used canners. What should I look for when considering a yard or thrift sale canner? And do you recommend a jiggler or a gauge type if the unit is used?

    • I prefer the gauge type.

      You’ll want to check the gasket and make sure it isn’t cracked or brittle. If it is, a replacement gasket is only about $10 or so.

      Make sure there are visible flaws with the canner or the lid.

      Regardless of how good it looks, you should always take it to your local extension office and have it tested.

  40. Last time I pickled cucumbers they came out too salty even though I used the exact amount of pickling salt that the recipe called for. I’m fairly sure that I had enough jars of cucumber as well. Can I reduce the amount of salt in the future or will that cause issues to arise?

    • The USDA suggests that home-canned food be consumed within a year. After that, it may still be safe to eat but the flavor will degrade rapidly.

      There are a few obvious signs that the food is spoiled:

      – a bad small
      – discolored
      -jar is not properly sealed

      Unfortunately, many of the issues aren’t readily noticeable and there is no test to make sure the food is safe. I generally try to eat the food within the year I canned it.

  41. Does anyone know of where I could purchase a stainless steel canning rack for both my large and small water bath canners? THe ones Hst came with the canners corroded after one season, impossible to clean eve with vinegar. Thanks for any help with this!

    • Thanks, Daisy, for your help. I have a difficult time with canning racks due to our very hard water locally. I’ll search on Amazon (that was a Duh???? moment for me..sometimes I can’t see the forest for the trees). ????

  42. I was wondering about those reusable canning lids. Do they really work and seal the jars as well as the regular lids? I have water bath canned tomatoes and pickles and jams. I bought a pressure canner and would like to try canning chicken but I have been afraid to give it a try.

    • A lot of people swear by Tattler lids, but honestly, I didn’t like them. I found that they had a higher failure rate than the disposable lids. I keep some on hand in case of a long-term emergency, but I don’t use them on a regular basis.

  43. What is the safest way to can meat?

    New to canning so I would love your book to guide me on this exciting new endeavor!

    • The only safe way to can meat is pressure canning. 🙂 I’m sure you will become as addicted to canning as I am – it’s such a great way to put back food.

  44. I know fermented foods are good for the digestion and would like to learn more about them in general. What would be a good fermented food to keep for long term storage? I’m sure some foods are better than others. I’d like to try fermenting some cabbage first since it’s inexpensive.

  45. I’ve always relied on Ball Blue Book for canning recipes. I see recipes on the internet but always return to the old Ball book. I’d like a new recipe book that I feel like is trustworthy. Hope I win one of these! 🙂

  46. Can homemade creamed corn or fresh shelled black-eyed peas or butter beans be canned? Up until her passing a few years back, my mother would fill an upright freezer every year with gallon bags of fresh creamed corned and shelled peas and beans. When we were growing up my siblings and I spent our summers shucking and silking bushel after bushel of corn and shelling peas and beans until our fingers hurt. As kids will do, we complained the whole time we were having to do it but never complained when it came time to eat it!

    • Robert, I don’t know about creamed corn, but I do know that peas and beans can be canned. I’ve done it. Check with a canning book to see how long and what pressure.

    • Here’s a safe recipe for creamed corn:


      And yes, peas and butter beans can also both be canned. 🙂

  47. I could spend my whole day on this site. I always learn something I didn’t know before. As a teenager I used to help with the canning process but my job was picking, washing and prepping the vegetables. When in came to actually canning we kids had to get out of the kitchen. I remember the pressure cooker rattling and hissing and developed a deep fear of the damn thing. Well, last year I bought a pressure cooker, jars, lids and other canning supplies. Can’t figure out how to do it. There’s too many opinions online to make me feel like I don’t have to worry about everyone dying from botulism. I really could use this book or maybe attend canning classes if there is even such a thing.

  48. While we like canning, and do much of it, we also try to dehydrate to preserve more of the nutrients. We dehydrate bush green beans, but have not found a good mechanism to rehydrate them. While the flavor when we rehydrate is good, the texture of the beans is way to rubbery and chewy. Any ideas on good ways to rehydrate green beans?

    • Vern, do you blanch the beans before you dehydrate them? I’ve read a lot about dehydrating and most places tell you to blanch for 5 minutes, more or less, before dehydrating. I haven’t done any yet, but plan on it soon. As well as other fruits and vegetables.

    • I have tried them and didn’t care for them. I found that they were more difficult to use and had a higher rate of failure.

      This being said, maybe it’s just me. A lot of people really like Tattler lids.

  49. I canned some chicken last year. Some jars are ok, but hubby says that some have had a metallic taste. I threw any that were “off” out, but what would be causing that?
    As far as future articles, probably pickling. I have yet to make pickles on my own. I’d also like to do asparagus too, since all the commercial canned stuff is just flat nasty.

    • I’m not sure what would have caused the metallic taste.

      I’m not going to lie. Home-canned asparagus isn’t that much better than storebought. It’s going to be mushy. (I’m guessing that was the part you didn’t like about it.)

      I resolved the texture issue by using my home-canned asparagus for cream of asparagus soup.

  50. I have a large can of processed cheese I would like to put in smaller jars. Can I water bath or pressure can them safely to leave on a shelf?

  51. Just starting to get results from my journey of many attempts at gardening and the next step is canning, where do I start?

    • This depends on what you want to can. First thing would to decide that, then get a canning book. Next would be to get the canner for what you want to can. Acidic foods, a water bath canner. Non acidic foods, like peas beans or carrots, a pressure canner

  52. What are the time limits for canned food? A couple of years or indefinitely if the seal is intact? How can you tell it’s second hand pressure cooker is safe to use?I

    • Home canned food is best if used within a year of canning. After that point, the flavor begins to degrade. You can stretch that a bit further with high acid foods like jam or fruit. I wouldn’t advise eating canned meat much past the one year point.

      You should always use a pressure canner, not a pressure cooker for canning food. If you purchase one second-hand, always take it to your local extension office for pressure testing before using it.

  53. Mother, Grandmothers, and Great Aunt all canned. I have canned some, but am still learning…mostly jams, some chili and soups. Would like to learn about pickling also.

  54. We have many black raspberry bushes and mulberry trees. Is it best to make jam with these fragile fruits?

    • They really don’t hold their shape or texture, but, this being said, you can water bath can them in syrup. They’ll be pretty mushy, however, they’d be great as ice cream or waffle topping that way. 🙂

      We generally use them for jam or jelly.

  55. I had my first experience canning last summer. I ‘helped’ a friend. I need a canning for dummies type book.

  56. I am an older woman with physical and financial limitations. As a result, I must prep to “bug in” with very little means. One thing I would like to know is how to store rice for the longer term. Can I use a canning jar?

    • You can use a canning jar with one of the Food Saver jar sealer attachments for best results.

      Another thing you can do is purchase the rice in #10 cans from your closest LDS center. It is more expensive but they’re perfectly preserved to last for a couple of decades. As well, you can open them as you need them, keeping most of them sealed for the future.

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