Why are pickling recipes with vegetables safe for the waterbath?

I've been teaching home canning for a long time.  I'd love to share what I've learned with you.   Simply Canning School's online video based classes .

Why must you can green beans in a pressure canner, but you can put pickling recipes like dilly beans or pickled beans in a waterbath?  What's the difference?

Hi there, my name is Sharon Peterson, and I am with SimplyCanning.com where you can find home food preservation classes, tutorials, and articles.  Come visit me, and I will help you get your pantry filled.

Learn what the difference is, and why the waterbath is fine for pickling recipes.

It's all about the acid.  

Pickling Recipes with Vegetables: Why are They Safe in a Waterbath?

Lesson notes on pickling recipes, edited for clarity:

So I want to talk to you today about the difference between pressure canning and waterbath canning with vegetables and pickled vegetables.  So as you know, vegetables are a low-acid food, like these green beans.  Because they're low acid, you need to have the high heat of a pressure canner to process them safely for storage on the shelf.  Now the reason you need that pressure has to do with the acidity of the food.

Green beans are just packed with water and a little bit of salt, and it goes into the pressure canner.  When you have dilly beans, they look almost the same.  But these dilly beans are packed with vinegar and a little bit of dill and some garlic and seasonings.  The vinegar adds the acidity that makes this safe for a waterbath, whereas the plain green beans have no added acid and so must be processed in a pressure canner.  So that's the difference.

It's the same thing with corn.  You have to process corn in a pressure canner.  In fact, corn has a pretty long processing time in the pressure canner, but I have a corn relish recipe.  This has corn and a little bit of peppers and onions, and it's again packed in vinegar.  The vinegar adds the acid so it can go in a waterbath.

If you are canning plain peppers, you have to use a pressure canner.  But if you're doing a pickled pepper, you can use a waterbath, because, again, it has the vinegar and added acid.

So plain veggies must go in a pressure canner.  Pickled veggies with the proper acid level can go in a waterbath. 

Now I emphasize with proper acid level, because it depends on the recipe.  You really have to use a recipe that's tested so that you know it has enough added acid that makes it safe for the waterbath.

That's my canning tip today.  If you're pickling veggies, you can use a waterbath, if you have the right recipe.  If you're canning plain veggies, you have to use a pressure canner.  I hope that was helpful.  You guys have a wonderful afternoon.  And again, this is Sharon with SimplyCanning.com, and we'll see you in the next video.

Pickling Recipes with Vegetables: Why are They Safe in a Water Bath?

Related Pages

Pickle Recipes
Dilly Beans
Pressure Canning Confidence

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Page last updated: 3/4/2020.

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