Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Forget the Boiling Water Bath ~ Can in the Oven


It’s autumn!

Autumn means harvest, and harvest means canning.

The mouth-watering aroma of apples and cinnamon and nutmeg wafting through the house. The feel of the solid wooden spoon in your hand as you stir the thick goodness. The fall sun dimpling through the mason jars.

The heavy pot of boiling water that spits and scalds every time you pry off the lid.

Yeah, that part.


It turns out that you don’t need that boiling water bath when canning fruits and tomatoes. (I include tomatoes in the fruit category, but some don’t. We can debate that in the comments, if you’d like. J)

You can seal jars in the oven. It’s easier and faster, and here’s how you do it.

(There is some controversy surrounding this, so I’m only telling you what worked for me. I encourage you to research and decide for yourself. I've included two links below.)

Wash the jars, lids, and rings in hot, soapy water.

Preheat the oven to 275. I also switched on my speed bake, just because I’m a worrier.

Sterilize the jars and lids. I was concerned that the jars still be sterile, so I dunked them in a pot of boiling water. It may sound odd to sterilize but not can in a pot of boiling water, but I didn’t use my boiling water bath. I just used a large cooking pot, and I didn’t fight the lid sticking because I didn’t use the lid. If you sterilize this way, don’t let a jar sit on the bottom of the pot or it could break in the water.

Ladle in your salsa or apple butter. Place the lid on and tighten down the ring. Be careful as you grab the jar. It’s hot!

Place the jars on a cookie sheet in the preheated oven. I like to use oven mitts to protect the backs of my hands also.

Heat for 20 minutes. After I remove them, I place them on a cooling rack.

Listen for the ping. That indicates the lid has sealed. Once they are cool, you can also press two fingers on the lid. If it bows or dimples under your pressure, it hasn’t sealed.

I’ve used this technique for salsa and apple butter. I don’t think it is safe for vegetables and meats. Those items still need to be processed properly in a pressure canner. For further reading and interesting debate, go to the Taste of Home community forum or a blog called What Julia Ate.



Enjoy!







Have you used this process of canning? How did it work for you?




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42 comments:

  1. I do it all the time. It has always worked for me. I think we call tomatoes vegetables but they really are a fruit. But they never are in a fruit salad, just a lettuce one. Who knows?

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    1. Michelle, you were the one who gave me this suggestion, and it has saved so much time and effort. I've had a couple of jars that didn't seal, but that happens with the water bath also. And that's a good point about tomatoes never being in a fruit salad. They're a curious fruit.

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    2. I define "fruit" as anything that contains a seed and grows from the base of a blossom. By that standard, tomatoes are fruits, as are eggplants, squash, nuts, and cucumbers. :)

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    3. I've never heard of cucumbers being a fruit, but why not?

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    4. I'm just confused as to how you got the fabric under the lid? Was this just for decoration after you opened the jars to use them or??? I'm sure they wouldn't seal with the fabric on there???

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    5. There are actually two parts -- the lid and the ring. The lid is what actually seals. The ring just holds it in place until it seals. After the canning process, after they have cooled (be sure to let it cool!), I remove the ring, place the piece of fabric over the sealed lid, and put the ring back on.

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  2. I have got to try this! Great idea!

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    1. I'd love to hear how it goes for you, Kayla. Enjoy your harvest!

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  3. Replies
    1. Never canned? I watched my mother a couple of times when I was younger, but I'm mostly self-taught. It's not difficult to learn, and a great way to preserve your harvest.

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  4. Love canning, but have never done it in the oven. We had to leave most of our harvest this year because we moved August 1.

    Not sure if you saw this, but I started a new link up on my blog and I'd love for you to come link up :)

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    1. I'm so sorry, Crystal, that you had to leave your garden. Perhaps an orchard or farmer's market near your near home offers produce at a good price?

      I've participated in your link-up and put you on my link-up page. I'm also going to go back to putting each link into each individual post. That can be rather time-consuming but seems like the best way to give credit to the host blog. Thanks so much!!

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    2. Meghan, please don't worry about going back and adding a link to each post! I appreciate your support and helping me get it started by including it on your link up page and by participating. I really wouldn't want to think about you going to the trouble of doing that.

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  5. I would like to learn how to can things in the near future. I will have to keep this in mind when I do. Thanks for sharing this handy tip with the Thrive @ Home community!

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    1. Canning was so intimidating when I first tried it. I was sure I was going to make everyone sick. But it's a lot easier than it seems. I'm sure you'll do great, Jenni!

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  6. Wow! In the oven! Will have to try this and share the idea with my mom too. BTW - I'm now your newest follower. Glad to have found your special place in blogland!

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    1. I hope it works for you as well as it works for me. Thanks so much for the follow and glad to have you here, Jen!

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  7. Love this idea. Can't wait to try it myself!

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    1. I would love to hear how you like it, Pamela. Enjoy your harvest!

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  8. love it - I'd love your apple butter recipe to go with it :)

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    1. I'll see if I can work that recipe into a post, Kelli. Thanks for asking!

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  9. Nice tip, although I'd hate to hav to turn the oven on for only 20 minutes. Seems easier to use a hot water bath if I am only canning a few jars. I guess if you have a lot of jars then. It makes sense. You'd be able to do them all in one shot rather than continually changing out the jars in the hot water bath.

    Here is what I canned recently.

    http://mrsgardengirl.blogspot.com/2012/10/fire-roasted-red-peppers.html

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    Replies
    1. I canned 19 pints of salsa the day I took the pictures and wrote the post. I fit 8 pints in the oven two times, and then the last batch was only 3 pints. Whatever works for you, and enjoy your canning!

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  10. My mother has done this for years, it works great. BTW-I found you through the link up, nice blog.

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  11. Great tip! :) thanks for linking it up.

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  12. I just began canning and put up my recipe. I am a new follower and invite you over! ( by e-mail)

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    Replies
    1. The pears look delicious! Thanks for following.

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  13. Wow. I didn't know you could do this! Thanks for linking up with us at No Ordinary Blog Hop. Every blessing, Kelly.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Kelly, for all your work at NOBH. Many blessings to you and the crew there.

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  14. Hopping over from NOBH. I'm so excited to read this! I stay away from canning because of the whole water bath thing. I grew up watching my mother, grandmother, and aunts can in the summertime. It was so labor intensive! But this looks great. I have a ton of apples, so I'm thinking. . . .

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    1. When I first tried it, I was glad to be rid of the boiling water bubbling up on my hands and the huge, hot pot on the stovetop that the children always wanted to touch. Hope it works well for you, Ellen.

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  15. I've also heard of people running their jars through a hot dishwasher cycle. Are there those out there who have done this? My Aunt does it, but I've never tried it myself.

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    1. I'm no expert, but I guess it could work if you used them as soon as they came out. The point, I think, is to use them while they are still hot and before germs have had a chance to get in there. Perhaps other readers could comment? Or maybe Google? Great question, Thea!

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  16. Could you do this with pumpkin butter, too? I wonder about those cakes you bake in the mason jars with the lids like that, too. Thoughts? This is great!

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    Replies
    1. http://www.foodinjars.com/2010/10/canning-101-why-pumpkin-butter-cant-be-canned/

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    2. Kate, my understanding is that only fruits with high acid content can be canned with the boiling water bath or, alternatively, in the oven. Pumpkin is not a fruit with high acid content, so I would guess it would go in a pressure canner. However, I've never made pumpkin butter or used a pressure canner, so don't rely on me! JCMF has left a link to a blog post about why pumpkin butter can't be canned. It has some interesting information in it and suggests freezing pumpkin butter instead. Thanks so much, both of you, for commenting!

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    3. Pumpkin butter shouldn't be canned to start with. You can put up pumpkin chunks, but pumpkin butter is too thick (even for a pressure canner) to process safely. That one needs commercial canning. Me? I need a bigger freezer! LOL

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  17. I actually used to work for the company that owns Ball and Kerr. You can clean your glass jars in the dishwasher, but only to clean them. But putting the jars in the oven actually increases the chance of your jars breaking. Even on an oven's lowest setting it's still going to be way hotter then even a pressure canner can get. And the "ping" isn't the seal. Your lids can ping without ever actually sealing.

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    1. Thanks, Amanda, for sharing your experience.

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  18. Amanda is absolutely correct - canning in the oven is unpredictable and dangerous. The ONLY safe way to can acidic fruits, tomatoes and pickles is in a hot water bath canner using USDA approved recipes, such as the ones in the Ball Blue Book, and the only safe way to can meats and non-acidic foods is in a pressure cooker, according to USDA directions.

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