Canning & Dehydrating

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nwood1982 nwood1982's picture
Canning & Dehydrating

I am a big canner/dehydrator always looking for others! Post if you have canning questions (don't know if I can answer them, but who knows?), comments about canning, or if you want to go in together on big fruit purchases for canning. I'll post if I see especially amazing fruit deals anywhere.

admin admin's picture
Hi, nwood!

I do a fair bit of canning, too, although so far only with the water bath method. I've been finding some pretty good deals on fruit over at Portland Fruit Market (SE Foster and 80th). If you talk to the owner, he'll show you around their big walk-in, and is happy to negotiate per-case pricing.

nwood1982 nwood1982's picture
Portland Fruit

That's usually where I go! I've bought a number of cases of stuff from him. Tomatoes, apples, pears, peaches etc. And for anyone else looking, always check out the bruised/old fruit over by the big walk in. I got a banana box full of bruised apples for $5 last year. That's a lot of applesauce.

bassettmama bassettmama's picture
Great deal on fruit

I don't know if they still have some, but the Kruegers fruit stand on Sauvie Island had Marion berries for $12 for a full flat. It was great, I made 10 pints of jam from each flat(low sugar).

I have a question from either of you though, this is the first year I am actually canning, I have only made freezer jam before. If your lids don't seal after two times, should I just put a new lid on, or give up and just put the jam in the fridge to eat first? I got most of them to seal but two are very stubborn.

bassettmama bassettmama's picture
forgotten part of question

I forgot, what type of pectin do either of you prefer? I seem to have better luck with Sure-Jell, but this year couldn't find any, so tried Ball brand and for freezer jam it didn't set at all, with strawberry or marion berry. The cooked jam worked great though, maybe just a little to great it is a little hard for my taste, but at least it set. LOL Do you you have a preference, and a place to get it?

Thank you

nwood1982 nwood1982's picture
canning question

If I was having that much trouble, they would end up in the fridge to eat first. Are your jars new or used? If used, double check the rims of your trouble makers.

My wife and I don't really have a preference as to brand. Cooked jam usually sets a bit harder, and it gets harder the longer you cook it because the fruit's natural pectin is being released. Be sure to get freezer-jam pectin if you're doing freezer jam. Most pectins can't do double duty.

My wife and I now only use the pomona's pectin. Not out of preference, (though if I had to choose one brand, that would be it), but because we have a ton of it.

admin admin's picture
I just did some cherry jelly,

I just did some cherry jelly, and used the Ball low-sugar pectin. It worked pretty well, although I did use more than the recommended amount.

bassettmama bassettmama's picture
Thank you, that helps. I will

Thank you, that helps. I will just keep it out to eat now. These are new jars by the way. I am going to clean up some old jars and use them pretty soon. ONe of the people on the swap site is selling. or trading pectin $25 a pound, is that a fair price? I have NEVER bought that much at a time, I don't know how fast I would use.

nwood1982 nwood1982's picture
Food (or pectin) for thought

I'm the one selling/trading; this may help.

admin admin's picture
When I moved into my house

When I moved into my house last year, there were a whole bunch of jars hidden away in a closet in the garage, still containing jams, fruits, etc. Many of them were labelled from the early 1990's. I was going to just dump them in the compost and recycle the jars, but I started feeling bad thinking about the old lady, now passed away, who put up all those plums and marionberries, so I soaked them in bleach/water for a few days, and got them all cleaned up and ready to re-use. Actually that was part of the reason I started canning! I'd always wanted to try it, but never really gotten around to it before then.

mountainrabbits mountainrabbits's picture
I'm very interested in

I'm very interested in canning and dehydrating more, I've dehydrated things before like fruits, herbs, made jerky and fruit leather etc. and oven canned pastas, cereal, mixes etc. and made some jam a couple times and made dilly bean and garlic. But I really want to expand and make a whole lot more and can it :)

becca becca's picture
cheal fruit?

I would love to keep a discussion going about where to buy cheap fruit!

Apricots- the Lent's Farmers market has apricots for $2.99/pound. The guy there said he would sell me anything over 15#s for $1.50/pound! Is this the best price? I LOVE apricot jam. I made a small batch last week and added too much fresh lemon juice resulting in a delicious tart jam. I plan on making more!

nwood1982 nwood1982's picture

What did you have in mind? I've done stuff from chili in the pressure canner, to apple chips on the dehydrator. If you have a pressure canner, you can process just about anything. I'm going to do some fish and (hopefully) some game meat this year.

mountainrabbits mountainrabbits's picture
My goal is to get 50% of my

My goal is to get 50% of my family's food homemade and preserved in some traditional form (canned, dried, smoked etc.) and the other 50% all local homegrown food from farmers and gardeners in the area. I have never used a pressure canner but I just talked to my mom about using hers, I guess she bought it a couple years ago and has never used it so it will be a learning experience for both of us. :) I would love to learn how to process fish and meat in a canner, my husband fishes and that would really free up some space in our freezer! Do you smoke your fish first?

nwood1982 nwood1982's picture
RE: Fish

I wouldn't; it would probably screw with the texture. You could probably add a bit of liquid smoke (homemade if you have it!) and can like usual:

Clean, wash and fillet fish. Dice ~2" and pack in pint jars.
Add whatever you want spice-wise - mustard, ketchup, salt, pepper, vinegar, liquid smoke, garlic, onion, lemon juice etc.
Top off jars with 1" headspace. You can use water or even tomato juice for this.
Process for 90 minutes at 12 lbs.

Lots of recipes tell you to brine the fish first. This kills a lot of microbes, so is generally a good idea. Of course, the canner kills just about everything, so take your pick. It will help things last longer after opening.

It's one nice thing about pressure canners is that you can usually cold-pack your jars! No bringing everything up to boiling first. With the temperature/pressure combination as well as the amount of time the jars spend processing, any microbe is destined for a very short lifespan, and the meat will get cooked through as well.

I made the mistake of insisting on hot-packing chili (hot-packing is when you have to bring it up to boiling before loading your jars, almost always necessary for water-bath canners). It turned out bitter because it was overcooked.

AngelinaE AngelinaE's picture
Canning Fish

I thought I'd give you my opinion on canning fish. I've been canning for about 8 yrs now. And one of the first things I learned to can was fish. Tuna to be exact. I would not recommend smoking the fish, it will taste funky. If you want to add spices, that is fine. But all I ever used is sea salt and Old Bay. (im originally from MD and Old Bay goes on everything seafood :). Since most people havent had 'real' fresh canned tuna i would recommend making batches with and withOUT spice. Fish always needs to be cooked in a pressure cooker. And i know it is a non-no, but i use the outside cooker stand (that attaches to a propane tank) to can fish. The smell will stay in your house for a very long time if you can inside.

Gina's Simply C... Gina's Simply Creative's picture
storage and preserved foods

Admin - i dont think your question was answered about the jars in the house. It is recommended not to keep if they are past 2 years, however if the seals are not compromised then they can keep for years. I have personally opened things after 5 years and they are still as good as the day i put them in. Use your best judgement and your nose knows. Happy canning

Denice_a Denice_a's picture
smoked fish

I have canned for over 20 years - I tend to can just about everything. Smoked fish can easily be canned. It does soften the texture some, but no one has ever said it was odd. It's great for making spreads or cooking with or just for eating with crackers. The canning process will pull some of the natural oils out of the fish so there will be an inch or so in each jar... I highly recommend it.

Denice_a Denice_a's picture
Pressure Cooker Testing

Do you know who tests pressure cookers in the Salem area??
I'm looking to purchase a used cooker and would like to have it tested prior to using it.

wolfbytez wolfbytez's picture
Testing pressure canners

Try your local ag station, they used to test them for free and it's possible that they still do.

Here is a link to their site in the Salem area:

The ag station in Tillamook also used to loan out water bath canners and dehydrators for free as well so I think it might be a regular service. They also sometimes hold canning classes for around $5 a class as well, good to learn the latest guidelines for everyone!

Ms.Skywalker Ms.Skywalker's picture
Your canning question

I'm not sure if anyone answered your question but I wanted to tell you my Master Food Preserver teachers (80 year olds) taught me that if a lid fails and does not seal one time you must replace it or freeze the product. I hope that helps.

Chickenwrangler Chickenwrangler's picture
Pressure Canner

Hi there,

I'm in the market for a pressure canner and was wondering if there was anyone who could recommend a particular brand or model or may have one they'd like to lend, trade or sell? I want to start canning stock and some things with low ph. Thanks in advance!


nochickens nochickens's picture
General Canning

Visit the National Center, , often, maybe seek out and take their class. The safe methods they use will keep you and your family safe.

Bad canning will kill you. No kidding.

Oregon State has free help: .

Shop Walmart and small town ( Mt. Angel ) hardware stores for fair prices and, surprise, crocks!

The most valuable lesson I learned as I started canning was to match my equipment to my family. There are two of us and a Granite-Ware 11 1/2 quart water bath canner
matches most recipes (7-8 pints), Fred Meyer had them 1/2 price after the season. I find three worked great, one to process, one to heat the water, one to heat the jars.
But I get carried away.

I bought a big Presto, probably won't use it, but Yahoo groups canning forum, ,

sold me on tossing the pressure guage and using the weight to set pressure. Now I see some new pressure canners are coming with the weights. No calibration, just learn how to use the weight.

Probably too much information,

Be safe! Tom

swampdogs swampdogs's picture
helpwith canning and dehydrating

I'm starting my storage for winter and have little equipment,i'm wondering if anyone would be willing to share there dehydraters?

admin admin's picture

After throwing up my hands at the price of pickling crocks, I found a pretty good deal at Fred Meyers. They have these "utensil crocks" that are meant for holding your spatulas and so forth. They're heavy ceramic, with straight sides, and a little over a half gallon each. Right next to them were little dessert ramekins that fit almost exactly into the crocks, and could each hold a quart jar of water, to weigh down your fermenting ingredients and keep them submerged. They were also running a two for once special on those items, so I picked up two crocks and two followers for about $8. Anything in ceramic or plastic will work well as a crock, as long as it has straight sides and doesn't narrow at the neck.

nwood1982 nwood1982's picture

I found a place that sells 10-gallon crocks for $60/each or $50 if you buy 2 or more. At 'The Barn' fruit market. They don't come with followers, but I have yet to see a better deal, even at estate sales.