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1.4.5 Can I invert my jars instead of using that nasty waterbath thing?




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This article is from the Food Preserving FAQ, by Eric Decker ericnospam@getcomputing.com with numerous contributions by others.

1.4.5 Can I invert my jars instead of using that nasty waterbath thing?

(Nope).

From: edecker@inforamp.net (Eric Decker) PFB (Putting Food By) says:
"and NEVER invert processed jars in the mistaken idea that you're
helping the seal - quite the contrary!" Page 264 of PFB, 4th edition
debunks (in my opinion) the 1/8" Inversion theory. My comments will be
indicated as [ED "Unsaid in the news release but voiced by staff
responding to telephoned queries to the GF Consumer Center in White
Plains, New York, the benefits are that the jam/jelly - being still at
a temperature to destroy spoiler micro-organisms - will sterilize the
underside of the sealing disk, and the little amount of air trapped
under the lid. [How filthy are the lids and jars before use? E.D.] A
vacuum can form if the jars are hot and the contents are about 165F/
74C. But it won't be a STRONG vacuum, because any amount of air left
in the jar will invite growth of mould eventually - even though the
jar is technically sealed. While a vacuum formed for us at PFB using
the "inversion" method, the "inversion" vacuum was not so strong as
the vacuum seal on the B-W treated jars. This fact is a reminder that
the "finishing" Boiling-Water bath was welcomed by scientists in the
South, to counteract heat and humidity of storage in the region; and
soon it was adopted for dryer and more temperate climates. [I'd vouch
for this: I've canned in Seattle, where seals formed easily, and in
Tucson and North Carolina, where the seals took their own sweet time
in forming. Give me that finishing waterbath every time-- LEB.] At the
same time, food scientists determined that 5 minutes in a B-W bath was
adequate (instead of a longer time advocated earlier) to strengthen
the seal and drive air from the headroom, and sanitize the surfaces
where micro-organisms could have lit. Presumably the reason for
standing the jars on their heads is to hold the hot contents against
the head and the sealing disk to equal the action of the 5 minute B-W
Bath. A further help would be to deal with floating fruit as the
medium gels; turned back upright, the contents would shake down by
themselves. The same results can be got by giving the jars a twirl
several times after they're set aside to cool upright after their
bath." (Note: in filing and capping the jars, we at PFB must have left
the bands a bit loose. After we inverted it, one jar spurted hot, hot
jelly over a hand in a mean scald. This indirect hazard can also make
"inversion" less than foolproof.) [Since the writers of PFB know how
to tighten a band properly, if bands have to be applied that tight,
deformation of the gum is almost certain unless the lids were applied
without a sterilization process which softens the gum. E.D.] "PFB is
not gainsaying General Foods just to be tiresome; we, too, used to
advocate the quick "inversion" with almost non-existent headroom -
(though never setting the jars upside-down, regarding this practice as
harking back too far to old-time ways with preserving) - so we reverse
our own recommendations, too.

Postscript: extension food scientists whose work we admire have
expressed their worries over the "inversion" technique used at
high altitudes and they are against it.

Post-Postscript: General Foods shows fairness in their news release in
saying they will continue to mention B-W Bath method as an alternative
on all their printed materials." [Conclusion: I feel it gives a false
security to the user of the "inversion" method. Neophytes especially
are at risk with this method for they do not have the experience to
make valid food judgements. It is far better then, to master the basic
proven techniques that work under all circumstances. Safe, reliable
canning is more of a procedure than just a recipe - ED

 

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previous page: 1.4.4 My grandmother always reused commercial jars and sealed her jars using paraffin. Should I do this too?
  
page up: Food Preserving FAQ
  
next page: 1.4.6 The dishwasher sterilizes jars, right?