Unsafe Canning Methods from the past. 

“But my grandmother always did it this way” Canning methods have come a long way since grandma's time. Yet, some canning methods are still being used that are not considered safe anymore.

Don't risk it,  leave it in the past.

If you are using home canning recipes handed down from your mother or grandmother… be aware of the safety issues. 

Some of these recipes are Fine!  Go ahead and use them.  But be aware of current USDA recommendations.  Things have changed since grandmas times.  New Bacteria have developed. Acidity levels have changed in our foods.  Check out those recipes against new studies. 

USDA Extension?  Do they really know best?

Now I can just hear some of you saying.... that the USDA is just being overly cautious. You don't trust their recommendations.    I truly have considered that issue. I'm not one to just go with the govt flow. So when I hear that the recommendations are over the top too conservative.  I really DID think about it.  Honestly!

Maybe they are....  However, I decided for myself that my peace of mind is worth the small amount of effort to abide by the suggested procedures.  You have to decide too.  

This is what it comes down to for me.  Remember, you can’t see, smell or taste botulism. It is not a risk worth taking.

Open Kettle Canning

In this method hot sterilized jars are filled with hot food. The seals and lids are placed on the jar an the food is allowed to cool. Often with jams and jellies the jars are inverted on thier tops.  Thus this is sometimes called the "inversion method".

This usually creates a good seal, however, while placing your food in the hot jar, the food is exposed to air and the utensils used to transfer it into the jar. Even during this short time, your food may become contaminated. While you have food that is sealed, it is not necessarily sterilized. Spoilers may have entered your jars.  

I know women who do this with their Jam recipes and Jellies. They would probably roll their eyes at me.  They have had no problems….yet.  

I have been tempted to try this method. After all they didn’t have any problems……..

However, every time I think about it, I’m uneasy. I decided to take the extra step and process using the suggested recommendations.  I LOVE peace of mind. Why take the chance? The added effort is minimal.

Oven Canning

Oven Canning Oven processing is another unsafe method. This involves processing the filled jars in the oven. Ovens are not consistent enough to be sure they reach the heat level needed to kill botulism.

Oven temperatures may vary.  The dry heat produced in ovens does not penetrate the jars as quickly. Heat circulation is not the same in an oven.  

There is also a method of preserving dry goods that is called 'oven canning'.  This is not canning at all so don't get them mixed up.  And oven canning dried goods is not safe either.  By heating in the oven you will most likely introduce moisture into your jar of dried goods.  Then the jar seals that moisture in and spoilage is likely.

Other unsafe methods

How about processing your jars in a dishwasher? ….no not safe.  

You can certainly use the dishwasher to wash your jars and keep them warm before packing. But it is not safe to try to process food packed jars using a dishwasher.  


How about adding aspirin to your jars?  Nope… NOT safe either.

Decision Time: You have to decide for yourself.

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Canning Books by Sharon

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