canning question

kjmamaJuly 25, 2013

Newbie here, how much can you can in a day- considering children are around:) Trying to decide between a 14 quart canner or a 7 quart.... thanks

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If you have kids and access to cheap fruit and veggies I would go big- I have a 16 quart water bath canner it was great when I lived closer to the okanagan where you could pick up cheap fruit and gardens had huge harvests.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2013 at 7:25AM
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Welcome :-)

There are too many variables to give you solid information, but some things to consider....

-Would you normally have enough produce/meat to fill 14-quarts? In order to get the best use you would want to process a canner as full as possible.

-You have 14 jars to wash and keep warm, and a large amount of food to process and keep hot if you are hot packing.

-Would you use 14 quarts of something within a year, which is the suggested time for storing and using home-canned food.

-What kind of stove? Does it have a burner large enough and enough BTUs for the larger pressure canner?

I always did as much prep-work as possible the night before, including sanitizing the kitchen, setting out the equipment needed, filling pots with water, etc. I'm an early riser (I normally get up between 3:00-3:30 a.m.), so I could have most of my canning done before the kids were up and around in the summer; as well as taking advantage of doing it during the cooler hours of the day.

I do more dehydrating these days to save energy costs for home food preservation (canning takes a LOT of energy - heating the canner as well as additional stress on the air conditioner), and what little water bath canning I do I use the Ball Home Canning Discovery Kit (around $12 where canning supplies are sold) because I can use my stock pot and do 3 quarts at a time, which works well for my needs.


    Bookmark   July 26, 2013 at 7:26AM
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Thank you both. This year we are going to have a very big harvest - potatoes, corn, beans, tomatoes and pumpkins. I will be able to use 14 quarts of those vegetables. We have a gas stove, so it should be OK. I just don't know if I can do it all in one day or if need to break it up into 2 seven quart days. Most people who can say bigger is better, but I will be canning mostly by myself, with a little help from children.

How much time is involved in prepping 14 quarts of food would you say?

    Bookmark   July 26, 2013 at 7:59AM
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Have a visit with your County Extension Service Office (Foods Agent). They will be able to give you more specific information. You don't want to assume your gas stove will work, you need to be sure it does. If you can't heat the volume necessary, you may find your food isn't processing properly and risk bacteria growth.

These are some numbers that might help you out. How fast you work is something I can't factor. Because you are just getting started, it's going to take you longer than a seasoned veteran.

Green beans... An average of 14 pounds is needed per canner load of 7 quarts; an average of 9 pounds is needed per canner load of 9 pints. A bushel weighs 30 pounds and yields 12 to 20 quarts " an average of 2 pounds per quart.

Depending on how many plants you harvest from, you may not have enough all at once to do 14-quarts.

Keep in mind vegetables begin losing vitamins as soon as they are harvested, so you need to store them in a refrigerator until you have "enough" to process. The best plan is to process your food A.S.A.P. in order to maintain the nutrients, otherwise all you end up with is empty calories the older your produce is.

(Source: Complete Guide to Home Canning) "Nearly half of the vitamins may be lost within a few days unless the fresh produce is cooled or preserved. Within 1 to 2 weeks, even refrigerated produce loses half or more of some of its vitamins. The heating process during canning destroys from one-third to one-half of vitamins A and C, thiamin, and riboflavin. Once canned, additional losses of these sensitive vitamins are from 5 to 20 percent each year."

Potatoes... An average of 20 pounds is needed per canner load of 7 quarts; an average of 13 pounds is needed per canner load of 9 pints. A bag weighs 50 pounds and yields 18 to 22 quarts " an average of 2½ to 3 pounds per quart.

Factor in how long it takes you to wash and peel 40 pounds of potatoes, as well as how long to cube them if you want 1/2-inch cubes. Boil 1/2-inch cubed potatoes for 2-minutes or 10-minutes for whole potatoes and drain. Pack into your jars and cover with boiling water.

Do yourself a favor and get an electric kettle - maybe 2 or 3 of them the next time you see some on sale at Aldi - so you always have boiling water ready to go. Water heats fastest in an electric kettle and you won't need to take up an additional a burner on the stove for it.

Do you have large stock pots, or other pots, that will hold large amounts of food needed to cook them in before jarring them? It's suggested we use hot packing over raw packing these days.

Tomatoes... An average of 21 pounds is needed per canner load of 7 quarts; an average of 13 pounds is needed per canner load of 9 pints. A bushel weighs 53 pounds and yields 15 to 21 quarts-an average of 3 pounds per quart.

It will take 30-60 seconds in boiling water PER tomato to remove the skins.

You can find more information at the National Center for Home Food Preservation (linked below).


Here is a link that might be useful: National Center for Home Food Preservation

    Bookmark   July 26, 2013 at 12:31PM
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wow, thank you!

    Bookmark   July 26, 2013 at 11:28PM
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kjmama, I'm assuming, as are others replying to you that you know you need a pressure canner for those veggies and not a water bath or steam canner. Just thought I'd make sure. :)

    Bookmark   July 26, 2013 at 11:40PM
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olychick is right, you need a pressure canner to safey can low acid vegetables, although tomatoes and fruits can be done in a boiling water bath canner. You will need to acidify the tomatoes, I use citric acid because I dislike the taste of lemon juice in my tomatoes.

Another variable to consider is the size/height of the canner itself. Elery has a large one which I cannot fill without climbing up onto a stool to lower the jars into the canner, nor can I remove jars without that stool. It also doesn't fit well beneath the hood over my stove.

I will also point out that if you are buying a canner, you can use a pressure canner to process items via boiling water bath, but you cannot use a water bath canner in place of a pressure canner. So, if you'd prefer a single device for both purposes, look at tall pressure canners.

I also worked full time while being a single mom with kids at home and still did my canning, although I did much of it late in the evening, after the kids went to bed. Now I can with help from my grandkids. I've not had problems completing 14 quarts of tomatoes or beans or whatever in a day. However, some things are more time consuming than others, so if you have a bushel of beans you might want to snap them one day and can them the next. I could can beans all day long if someone snapped them for me, they're easy, only the prep work is time consuming. Same for tomatoes, just peel them for me, LOL.

My grandkids/helpers a couple of years ago:

Realistically, though, many things can be prepped ahead of time one day and canned the next day. Potatoes can be scrubbed, carrots or beets cleaned and tops trimmed, tomatoes peeled, beans snapped. I've often prepared a batch of salsa one day by chopping all the vegetables, then put it together the next day, simmered it and then canned it. Fruit doesn't prep well ahead, usually, it oxidizes, but it can be prepped and cooked, then left in a jelly bag to drip of made into juice the next day and canned. You just have to figure out what you can safely do ahead of time without compromising the quality of the final product.

Happy canning!


    Bookmark   July 27, 2013 at 1:53AM
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The ultimate waste-not-want-not canning tips.....

-If you are canning apple pie filling or applesauce, you can save the apple cores and peelings to use for making apple jelly.

-If you have a dehydrator, skins off your tomatoes can be dried until they are crispy dry. Store them in a jar with a tight fitting lid. They can be ground, as needed, in a coffee/spice mill for tomato powder. To make tomato paste, mix the tomato powder in a 1:1 ratio with water. For tomato sauce use a 1:2 ration.


    Bookmark   July 27, 2013 at 8:51AM
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As Grainlady mentioned, I use the apple peels and cores for apple jelly. Although I put my apples through the Squeezo for sauce, the debris can still be simmered and placed in a jelly bag for jelly.


    Bookmark   July 27, 2013 at 11:30AM
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I got by for years with a 7 quart canner, while raising 5 children. However, I used to can much more than 7 quarts in one day.While a batch was processing I worked on the next 7.

If you are unsure, start with the 7 quart and either get another 7 quart if you feel you need it someday, or get the larger one then. I have a nice 48 inch range now with 8 burners, so my method is two 7 quart canners so far. I've also invested in a USA made pressure canner, but have not used it yet since I'm still freezing many things.

If you store your canned goods in a cool and dark environment, it will keep indefinitely for you. There may be some loss of vitamions, etc. but I've kept food for two years with no ill effects. If you can enough food, you have insurance against a crop failure the folloowing year, and it can get you by with some of your favorites. For example, those of us who do not spray lost most of our tomatoes this year. Last year they were great. ily the next. I also did not can enough applesauce one year, and could not get good apples the next year. We sure miss the applesauce!

According to Jackie Clay who writes many articles for Backwoods Home magazine, she's kept foods for years, testing their limits out, with almost no ill effect. I'd say can more than you think you need. You may be surprised at what you will use.

I once had a smaller Ball canner made for pints. I can't find it now so it must have gotten lost (or stolen) in our move.I loved that little canner when I made jams.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2013 at 2:55PM
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thank you!

    Bookmark   August 5, 2013 at 7:40PM
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Get the bigger canner. And to reiterate what others have said you need a pressure canner.
I can a lot. However, I assess our eating needs and our tastes to discern if a particular item will be frozen or canned. Some vegetables with a huge harvest get donated to the local food pantry if we cant keep up with, because I do not like either frozen or canned, case in point swiss chard. Some items I actually make the recipe and stick that in the freezer. For example I have 4 strawberry rhubarb pies in there right now that will be meted out over the winter. I also have Strawberry-Rhubarb Jam and Strawberry syrup canned, as well as frozen strawberries.
I prefer my potatoes and pumpkins in my root cellar. I will roast some of my winter squash/pumpkin, form it into haystacks on a cookie sheet until frozen solid and then transfer to freezer bags. Each haystack is about a cup of pumpkin or squash, which works in many recipes, muffins, veggie lasagna, etc.
I also prefer my corn frozen, not canned. Green beans go both ways, I put up dilly beans, canned beans, and frozen beans. They all have a role in our winter eating.
I really like my tomatoes in the water bath method, v pressure canner. Its a taste thing. However I know there are certain recipes, that I need to add baking soda to in order to neutralize the acidity of water bath canned tomatoes. I also roast my abundance of cherry tomatoes with garlic and basil, puree and freeze in 1 tablespoon lumps to have frozen oven roasted tomato paste.
Make what you will eat.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2013 at 8:25PM
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I agree with local eater, if your family won't eat it, don't bother to waste time and ingredients.

I like greens canned, and I like green beans canned, but I like corn frozen. I also freeze asparagus, because I can roast it and it's still pretty good.

I never seem to have a problem getting rid of salsa but made a batch of spaghetti sauce that eventually became pig food because everyone seems to love Prego here. Ugh.

I don't like canned pie fillings, as I can't stand the gelatinous goo made by ClearJel and others, but I freeze fruit and use that to make pies when I want them.

It's all a matter of taste.


    Bookmark   August 7, 2013 at 10:12PM
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localeater: I have ended up with an unexpected bunch of tomatoes, including cherry variety, and am not prepared to deal with them on short notice. Do you have a recipe for the paste, as in approximately how much garlic and basil to how many tomatoes and what temperature do you roast for about how long? Sorry for the hi-jack!


    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 3:07PM
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liz, katiec has a recipe for roasted tomato and garlic soup, I'm thinking it would be similar, but without the chicken broth. I'm assuming you are freezing it?

Roasted Tomato Garlic Soup
Recipe By :Katie
12 tomatoes -- *see Note
2 carrots -- cut in 1" pieces
1 large onion -- quartered
2 whole heads garlic -- peeled (or more, to taste)
olive oil
2 cups chicken broth -- (or 3)

1/2 cup chopped fresh basil -- (or 1 Tbsp. dried)
Core tomatoes and cut in half. Place, cut side up, on foil covered cookie sheet with carrots, onion and garlic. Brush with olive oil. Bake at 400F for about an hour, or until vegies are roasted and a little blackened. Place in a large saucepan with the chicken broth and basil and simmer for about 10 minutes. Blend with a stick blender (or in small batches in a blender) until almost smooth. To can: Process in a pressure canner, pints for 60 min. and quarts for 70 min.For dial gauge canners use 11 pounds pressure at 0-2000 ft., 12 lbs. at 2001-4000 ft., 13 lbs. at 4001-6000 ft. and 14 lbs. above 6000 ft. For weighted gauge canners use 10 lbs. pressure at 0-1000 ft., and 15 lbs. over 1000 ft.
*Note: These measurements are approximate...I use whatever it takes to cover the cookie sheet. This makes 1 1/2 to 2 quarts of soup. Cream may be added to taste when the soup is served.


    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 5:22PM
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Thanks. Yes, I am planning to freeze, so if I want to also make the soup, is it freezable? (without the cream)


    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 6:37PM
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Pressure canning must be a newer thing I have an old kerr canning book for water bath canning and it has times for beans and other low acid veggies but the times are much longer. Same with salmon. I don't have a pressure canner but have canned salmon and beans.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 7:42PM
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Pressure canning must be a newer thing I have an old kerr canning book for water bath canning and it has times for beans and other low acid veggies but the times are much longer. Same with salmon. I don't have a pressure canner but have canned salmon and beans.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 7:43PM
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CLBlakey, pressure canning is not a "newer" thing, my old Ball Blue Book has been calling for pressure canning of low acid vegetables, meats and fish since at least the 50s, so over half a century.

The real concern is botulism, which will either kill you or make you wish you had died. It's not terribly common, this information comes from the Center for Disease Control:

"How common is botulism?

In the United States, an average of 145 cases are reported each year.Of these, approximately 15% are foodborne, 65% are infant botulism, and 20% are wound. Adult intestinal colonization and iatrogenic botulism also occur, but rarely. Outbreaks of foodborne botulism involving two or more persons occur most years and are usually caused by home-canned foods. Most wound botulism cases are associated with black-tar heroin injection, especially in California.

Foodborne botulism has often been from home-canned foods with low acid content, such as asparagus, green beans, beets and corn and is caused by failure to follow proper canning methods. However, seemingly unlikely or unusual sources are found every decade, with the common problem of improper handling during manufacture, at retail, or by consumers; some examples are chopped garlic in oil, canned cheese sauce, chile peppers, tomatoes, carrot juice, and baked potatoes wrapped in foil. In Alaska, foodborne botulism is caused by fermented fish and other aquatic game foods. Persons who do home canning should follow strict hygienic procedures to reduce contamination of foods, and carefully follow instructions on safe home canning including the use of pressure canners/cookers as recommended through county extension services or from the US Department of Agriculture. Oils infused with garlic or herbs should be refrigerated. Potatoes which have been baked while wrapped in aluminum foil should be kept hot until served or refrigerated. Because the botulinum toxin is destroyed by high temperatures, persons who eat home-canned foods should consider boiling the food for 10 minutes before eating it to ensure safety. Wound botulism can be prevented by promptly seeking medical care for infected wounds and by not using injectable street drugs. Most infant botulism cases cannot be prevented because the bacteria that causes this disease is in soil and dust. The bacteria can be found inside homes on floors, carpet, and countertops even after cleaning. Honey can contain the bacteria that causes infant botulism so, children less than 12 months old should not be fed honey. Honey is safe for persons 1 year of age and older. "

So, 145 cases and 15% are from food. So, possibly 20 per year? Out of all the millions of people in the U.S. Still, it's not something I care to experience, so I pressure can those things, following time and pressure guidelines carefully.

Liz, I don't see any reason why that soup cannot be frozen successfully. I've never done it, but without the cream there doesn't appear to be anything to get watery or separate. I usually run mine through the food mill as Ashley likes hers smooth, not chunky.


    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 9:45PM
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I guess I was more meaning as a rule not that it didn't exsist. My canning book is from the 70's and there it does not say that pressure canning is the prefered way but a way.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 11:11AM
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You may want to update your canning book. There were significant changes as of 1989, especially when it comes to altitude and the amount of time for processing.

Other up-dates... Due to low-acid tomatoes being produced, you need to add an acid to tomato-based foods being canned in a water bath canner to assure the proper pH.

Check out the link below for the National Center For Home Food Preservation and take their self-study coarse to help bring you up-to-date. You can also download the USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning for more information and recipes.

We are contending with more strains of bacteria, and more deadly bacteria, than even existed 20-years ago, so it's important to use tested recipes now more than ever.


Here is a link that might be useful: National Center for Home Food Preservation

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 2:01PM
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I am new at canning. I bought a Presto canner 16qt. and started canning. Under the meats, it said 10ls. pressure. I realized, I am at 1844 ft in elevation. Will the stuff I canned at 10lbs. still be ok to use. All sealed tightly, and I have eaten some of the chicken canned about a month ago. I'm canning everything else at 15 lbs. Thank you so much for your answer.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2014 at 12:24AM
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I'm so glad I ran across this post. I never realized that a pressure canner is necessary for low acid foods. I've never tried canning them, only jams and pickles. I was given a huge enamel pot to can in and then found out I can't use it on my glass-topped stove, so I've been using a smaller stainless steel stockpot, which doesn't hold as many jars. In a way it turned out that a bigger one would be impossible for me to heft around full of jars since the one I have is very difficult for me with my bad back. But, I was planning on trying out other things and now I know not to do it. I have a lot of older canning books that never mentioned having to use a pressure canner.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2014 at 6:19AM
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My best hint would be to follow the adage "Many hands make light work." and enlist a friend or two to be canning partners with you next summer. It's amazing how quickly food preservation goes when you work with others and share the results. It's something to consider.

Here is a link that might be useful: Group canning

    Bookmark   January 31, 2014 at 9:17AM
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Snoopy, please refer your question to GardenWeb's Harvest Forum. The members there are very knowledgeable and helpful. They'd be able to give you the best current information available.

Here is a link that might be useful: Harvest Forum

    Bookmark   January 31, 2014 at 7:42PM
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Snoopy, do you have a dial gauge or a weighted (jiggle type) gauge? Checking with the National Center for Home Food Preservation, they suggest 11 lbs of pressure at 1-2000 ft using a dial gauge, but 15 lbs of pressure with a weighted gauge if you are over 1,000 feet.

I'm assuming you are using the instructions with your canner, which is why you are using 10 lbs?

If you are using the dial gauge, you're probably OK, although you did process at 10 lbs per the manufacturer rather than 11 lbs. per the NCFHFP and I tend to err on the side of caution when canning. Of course, no guarantees can be made, gauges can be off, etc. Weighted gauge it's clear that I'm going to have to say "no", you needed that 15 lbs.

Now, you may very well eat it all and be fine, the instances of botulism are very small, but very real. It's not a chance I think I'd want to take.

If you are a beginning canner, I suggest you check out the National Center For Home Food Preservation. They even have an on line canning safety course you can take for free and you'll find recipes, instructions and other useful information there.


    Bookmark   January 31, 2014 at 11:35PM
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When you open your low-acid canned goods in question to use them, be sure to bring the food to a boil for a FULL 10-minutes at altitudes below 1,000 ft. to kill any potential bacteria. For altitudes at and above 1,000 ft., add one additional minute per 1,000 ft. additional elevation. This information is outlined in the "Complete Guide to Home Canning" available on-line.


Here is a link that might be useful: USDA -

    Bookmark   February 1, 2014 at 5:52AM
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This is old, and maybe I should look for a newer question, but I'll just do a general answer now. I'll repeat myself a lot with this subject, but readers can always ignore me!

You've received mostly great advice here, but some not so safe. As someone said to someone who was doing high-elevation canning, better safe than sorry. I've always felt comfortable with the possibilty of paralyzing myself, but never my family, friends, neighbors, or coworkers. If you have to toss out even $50 worth of food, would you prefer that to paralyzing the respiratory muscles of your children? Or your grandparents? Frankly, I'd give everything I have in this world, and everything I ever have in my life, to avoid that. Yes, C. botulinum is that serious, and causes great suffering. I'd prefer death, myself, but I'm on the elderly side of life.

I also recommend you have two large pots, around 21+ quarts for a pressure canner so that you can do either 7 quarts or 18-19 pints; and a smaller one if you want for sterilizing the jars. I have a 12-pt. stock pot. One is for keeping the empty jars hot; the other for actual canning. That way, you can sterilize another load while the first is going through the canning. It's up to you, though. I do have a 20-ish qt. water bath canner, too, but I have an apartment stove, too small for both large pots.

While a pressure canner is more expensive than the water bath ones, you can use the pressure one for both methods, as long as you don't tighten down/lock the lid when doing water baths.

I'm a Master Food Preserver in California and always recommend, as a lot of people here did, calling your county agriculture extension office for more information.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2014 at 4:54AM
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Rita you might want to invest in a small butane stove/burner for that pressure canner. I found one at a local restaurant supply place and it is so darn handy. I use it all the time for camping and also sometimes when I need extra BTU's for canning. Another option might be a small propane burner. I just happened upon the butane one. Not sure about the difference between the efficiency of butane vs propane but I think both would work for a pressure canner if they were big enough. Just a thought. The burner I got was under 50 bucks, great investment for me!

    Bookmark   June 3, 2014 at 9:26AM
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I am a novice at canning pickled okra. I found a good recipe on the internet for Spiced Pickled Okra. I like the flavor & spice combination of this recipe. I only have one problem, the okra didn't come out as crisp as I would have liked it to be. The recipe I used called for 2 cups cider vinegar, 2 cups water and 3 tbsp. pickling salt. I have a two-fold question: #1 What can I do to this recipe to make the okra crispier? & #2 Can I salvage this batch and crisp it up or do I need to start over? I purchased some Ball Pickle Crisp granules.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 6:34PM
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