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 Post subject: Re: Do I need a pressure canner?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2012 3:11 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2008 10:45 pm
Posts: 1522
Location: Ottawa, ON
Anaerobic environment is one which is oxygen free, or perhaps more practically, very poor in oxygen. Some bacteria, especially the botulism one, only survive in anaerobic environments, such as that in a canned good (which is under vacuum, so doesn't have any air...). But, what many people don't realize is that oil is *also* anaerobic; there is no oxygen in the oil. So you take raw garlic, harvested from dirt and possibly having Clostridium botulinum bacteria spores (the bacteria responsible for botulism) and put it in oil, which is a very good anaerobic environment where it grows and thrives and creates the toxin.

Some people will heat the oil to a temperature high enough to kill the Clostridium botulinum -- about 240 F (212 is not enough to kill the spores) -- and think they are good, but actually it may not work, because the garlic has moisture and it is trapped, so it will boil and the garlic will stay at 212 until it was totally moisture free; so unless you ran the oil hot for some time, you are still at risk. Pressure canning works because the liquids will boil at a higher temperature; high enough to kill Clostridium botulinum. Acid, in sufficient quantity, will also prevent the spores from 'hatching' (around ph 4.6).

BTW, once the toxin is created (i.e. improper storage/canning/etc) it can actually be broken down at something like 185 F, so re-heating your good thoroughly can destroy the toxin even if it was created. However, that is certainly *not* what you want to rely on; you want to not have it in the first place.

My general advice is use stuff in the blue book, and don't get *too* creative unless you know what you are doing.


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 Post subject: Re: Do I need a pressure canner?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2012 3:31 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 27, 2011 3:27 pm
Posts: 526
Location: Finger Lakes Wine Country
Emilie wrote:
... I toss them in a storebought olive dipping oil with fresh (looking) herbs and garlic in it. I've thought on several occasions how easy it would be to make that myself and have it ready whenever I need it. But actually that's something that can't be done? (I'm clueless on food science so have no idea what "anaerobic" means other than in terms of exercise:)

Thanks!

Emilie


It is important to remember that unlike salt, sugar, and vinegar that have some preservative qualities, oil is not preservative and any oil infusion made in a home kitchen should be treated as perishable.

Make them in small quantities, refrigerate leftovers and discard unused portions in timely manner. Treat them as you would homemade mayonnaise.

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 Post subject: Re: Do I need a pressure canner?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2012 4:01 pm 
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Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2008 1:03 am
Posts: 5092
Location: Portland, OR
Paul, Emilie,

Yes, after reading about some of the issues with flavored oils and contamination (which are not limited to botulism; molds and racidity bacteria are more common), I changed my methods of making garlic-infused olive oil. Now I chop the garlic, heat it to 250F for 20 min (enough to make the pieces of garlic turn golden), and the strain out the solids in a fine mesh before bottling.

For herb infusions, I recommend infusing vinegar instead of oil. Herb-infused vinegar is equally useful for dressings, and has the advantage that vinegar is a preservative.

To be fair, though, I made garlic oil the unsafe way for years, and never got anyone sick. As I said with botulism before, the odds are very long even if you're being stupid. It's just that the consequences are so severe if your number comes up.

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 Post subject: Re: Do I need a pressure canner?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2012 7:51 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 4:34 pm
Posts: 2010
Did I misunderstand something here? I thought the stock answer here to any question starting with "do I need" was YES YOU DO.

Mary


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 Post subject: Re: Do I need a pressure canner?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2012 8:27 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2010 8:41 pm
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Location: Near Toronto, Ontario, Canada
marygott wrote:
Did I misunderstand something here? I thought the stock answer here to any question starting with "do I need" was YES YOU DO.

Mary


I tried Mary, I tried.


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 Post subject: Re: Do I need a pressure canner?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 4:33 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 06, 2011 7:53 pm
Posts: 921
Oops...I was too focused on "don't throw out your lovely salsa" to pay attention to the necessary enabling of "yes, you DO need to buy a pressure canner" which would be really helpful for not only ensuring salsalicious food safety, but also allows for canning of precious chicken and beef stock. So, I change my vote. Yes, you really DO need a pressure canner. ;)

I love home made canned goods. I keep thinking I should start making my own jam (I love home-made strawberry rhubarb jam), but never seem to find the time. DH mentionned it when I bought my pressure cooker though. He noticed the Fagor pressure canning set in the pamphlet that came with my pressure cooker and there was some noise from the peanut gallery about jam, home-made tomatoes, and home-canned (rather than frozen) stock. In hindsight I think I missed that opportunity too. (although, to be perfectly honest, I don't suspect he was offering to help pay for the pressure canner....he likes to reap the benefits of my cooking, but I tend to be on my own for funding whatever my latest equipment obsession might be, unless it happens to make a convenient birthday or Christmas gift).

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 Post subject: Re: Do I need a pressure canner?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 2:13 am 
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Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2008 5:29 am
Posts: 453
Location: York PA
sorry I am late to comment. :o Of course you need a pressure canner. I love mine. I have used it to can soups, stews, chili & of course broth. Crystal made me buy one! :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: Do I need a pressure canner?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 3:14 am 
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Glad we are all coming to our senses here.

Mary


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 Post subject: Re: Do I need a pressure canner?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 11:33 pm 
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Posts: 954
Location: Northern California
:lol: :lol: :lol: I'm considering it (after I fully consider the slow cooker, vitamix and foodsaver).


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 Post subject: Re: Do I need a pressure canner?
PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2012 9:51 am 
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Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2008 4:47 pm
Posts: 104
Location: New York outside NYC
I've two pressure canners (not cookers which are not suitable for canning). They sure speed up processing on my typical 3 gallon batch of stock.

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