Saturday, September 12, 2009

Pressure canning: Test batches

I'm relatively new to canning, and so approach the whole process with deliberation. My main concern is that I'll can something that doesn't taste good, and I won't know about it for months. The solution that was suggested by a couple of different blogs is to do test batches.
A test batch is a smaller-than-normal batch that you make to experiment with different tastes and methods to see what actually works for your own personal taste.

There's also quite a bit of random prohibitions out there about what you can, and cannot, can. Some of them are based on food safety -- like pressure canning meats, seafood and poultry -- and some appear to be based on preference or appearance.

Today I did a test batch of canned pork. I did one half-pint jar of each of these:
1) raw Ground pork, plain.
2) raw Ground pork in chicken broth
3) browned ground pork plain
4) browned ground pork in chicken broth
5) raw ground pork with chopped raw garlic
6) pork roast, plain
7) pork roast in chicken broth
8) pork roast in mushroom soup
9) pork roast with ground cloves
10) pork roast with curry powder

What I'd like to come up with is a couple of different variations on canned pork that would be good on top of rice for a quick meal, or as an ingredient for a quick meal. Open a jar, throw it into the microwave, eat.

Of this current test batch, the pork in mushroom soup, the browned pork, pork with cloves and the pork roast in chicken stock are the favorites. I'll do another batch tonight with some more candidates.


Anonymous said...

What about food safety - e.g. botulism? How concerned are you about that?

Bruce King said...

I'm very concerned about food safety. That's why I follow the manufacturers direction to the letter about processing time and pressures and preparation.

Remember that people eat millions of cans of food every day. You've got cans of food in your kitchen now. The basic issue is that if you pay careful attention you can come up with a product that is better than what you can buy.

"better" - constructed of only the ingredients you want to eat, containing only the level of quality that you want to eat, and hopefully prepared so that it's tastier to you because it's made the way that you like it.