First adventures in canning

Canned pickles

Canned pickles

I’ve never canned before. At all. In fact, I didn’t even have basic canning supplies until I bought some last weekend. I took the plunge this weekend and made a batch of pickles. The cucumbers were a mix of Alibi cukes from my garden and cukes from the farmer’s market. I used the Cucumber Chips recipe in the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving.  I followed the recipe and instructions exactly.  But, I don’t know.  I see a few little bubbles in the pickle liquid and they have me worried.  One of the reasons why I’ve never tried canning before is because it seems like there are so many ways for it to go wrong. This is why I’ve stuck to freezer preservation as my main way to save harvests.  But some things you just can’t freeze, such as pickles.

So, for you experienced canners out there, are little bubbles common?  What should I look for after cooling to make sure I’m not going to end up with food poisoning down the road? Thanks in advance for any tips or guidance I might get!


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7 Responses to First adventures in canning

  1. Chiot's Run says:

    Little bubbles are fine, I have them in much of the stuff I can. You don’t have to worry too much about acidic foods like pickles & tomatoes & fruits. The USDA standards for canning (the ones in the Ball Book) are super safe. There are some old recipes I follow and I process things for less time than recommended, the USDA standards are often overkill, they do that because they want to make it foodproof.

    If one of your jars doesn’t seal properly you’ll know it, usually the top will get moldy, then you simply throw out the contents.

    I think the scariness of home canning is partly a myth emphasized by food makers so you won’t can your own stuff. So, keep canning and you’ll get more and more bold with each batch of stuff.

  2. Thanks for the info Chiot’s! I feel much better about the little bubbles now. 🙂

  3. Mom says:

    I agree. As long as the jar is sealed, don’t worry. I believe there is a page in the Ball canning book describing some less-than-perfect outcomes, along with causes, that also indicates whether the food is safe to eat.

  4. kitsapfg says:

    You did great. Pickling is one of the absolute safest forms of canning because of the high acidity of the food product itself. Tomatoes are the second safest particularly when some lemon juice is added which most recipes call for if you water bath can.

    The hard part will be waiting a few weeks to let the brine really flavor the pickles before you try your first jar! We are working on our last jar of home made dill pickle relish and my cukes are no where near ready for any harvests… gasp…. we might have to live without dill pickle relish for a few weeks! The horrors! 😉

  5. wren says:

    pickling is a good way to start the vinegar pretty much kills anything you would have to worry about. acidic fruits and veggies are easy too… don’t try green beans without a pressure cooker for sure though.

  6. Sinfonian says:

    We tried water bath canning last year and it was a snap. I did salsa and was a bit concerned water bathing it, but it turned out great, and didn’t last long enough to worry. We’re considering a tri-family pressure canner, but this year doesn’t look like we’ll need it. The harvest just isn’t there.

    Glad your first attempt was such a success!

  7. Pingback: Quite a year for plums and Ebony becomes Broody « The Zero Fossil Fuel 10 Year Challenge

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