Three Things You Should Never Can At Home

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Are you aware of the three things you should never can at home? Lately I have been concerned with articles on Facebook or blogs with posts stating you can preserve certain foods at home that I knew were not safe to can. Then I started getting emails and Facebook PM’s asking me if this post or that post was accurate. In my gut I knew some of the foods weren’t safe to can. So I went to the experts to confirm my thoughts. I am not a newbie to canning. I have been safely canning my foods per Utah State Extension service guidelines.

I decided to call the Utah State University, Washington County Extension Service. If you have any questions or concerns about canning certain foods you cannot see listed on your local county extension service website then you may want to call them. Here’s the deal, I not only called them I drove there and talked to them in person here in St. George, Utah. When I arrived at the extension service I was able to talk with Carolyn W. about canning eggs, bacon and butter. Her answer in a nutshell is they are not safe to can via water bath or pressure canning at home.

Now, you might say, “I learned how to can them from my friend (or whoever) and my jars look great”. They may even taste okay. But here’s the clincher, you don’t know what bacteria is lurking inside those jars. Please, please, please do not risk the health of your family by canning these higher risk food items. Carolyn mentioned the reason certain foods are not listed on your local state canning extension lists is because they have not been proven safe to preserve via our home canning process.

1. Never Can Eggs

I want to bring this issue to everyone’s attention because eggs are not safe to can at home. Bacteria will grow and you may not even see it in the jars when eggs are canned at home. Now, I am not talking about pickled eggs (which are safe for the refrigerator-for a short period of time only).  Please do not can eggs. Call your local extension service if you still think you can can your own eggs. If the food item you have a question about canning yourself isn’t listed on your local extension service it is more than likely unsafe to process at home.

Yes, you can freeze eggs but personally I don’t want to fill my freezer with eggs. The texture will not be the same with frozen eggs but they would work for baking. I get nervous about the electricity going out. I can only imagine trying to get rid of those thawed eggs in a power outage.

I love reading about people having chickens and gathering eggs from their chicken coops. I have heard good stories from people who are learning to raise chickens who have the land and families working together as a team. I have also heard they have excess eggs and want to know what to do with all those eggs.

Let’s get real here, please save money and buy some professionally processed eggs in #10 cans for longer term storage needs. Or in packages from a reputable company. I only buy Ova Easy Eggs. They are real eggs, you can scramble them, make a frittata, quiche or bake with them. I have a few #10 cans of powdered eggs, but I must say, they do not taste like eggs when cooked in a fry pan, even with butter. They will be fine for baking muffins, cakes, pancakes or bread. These are the only ones I like to buy because they taste just like eggs out of a carton: OvaEasy Powdered Whole Eggs – Case (12 x 4.5 oz Bags)

Read More of My Articles  How To Feed Your Family Breakfast After A Disaster

I realize the cost of eggs are outrageously priced right now. Here is one of the reasons why eggs are so expensive: USA TODAY article on Egg Prices. Hopefully you can still buy some eggs from your local egg farmer.

2. Never Can Bacon

There is too much fat in bacon to make it safe for canning at home. I am not a scientist or microbiologist to be able to explain correctly the significance of the bacteria that grows in bacon if you try canning it at home. I realize some people have canned bacon for years and swear by it’s safety. Here again, we don’t know what’s lurking in our home canned bacon. I highly recommend you do not can bacon at home. Here’s the deal, I love bacon. Doesn’t everything taste better with bacon in it? My husband and I have been eating BLT’s for weeks now with the tomatoes out of our garden.

The only bacon that’s on my food storage shelves are four cans of professionally processed cooked Yoder’s Bacon. They will be used for a treat if we are without power for weeks. It’s way too expensive per pound to store much more. I bought six cans of the canned bacon from Yoder’s. I taught a class with one can and did a post with the other can. I compared the price of precooked bacon from Costco and one can of Yoder’s: Yoder’s Bacon & Ova Easy Eggs by Food Storage Moms.

Yes, I freeze a few packages of bacon when it goes on sale. I thaw it in the refrigerator and bake it in the oven the next day. I line a cookie sheet with foil and spread the bacon out in single layers as well as I can. I bake the bacon at 400 degrees for 45-60 minutes depending on how crispy it gets in that time period. I love that my stove top stays clean by baking the bacon in the oven. I learned this from my daughter and her husband. It’s so much easier.Please note *I buy very thick bacon from a meat butcher so if your bacon is thinner, cut the time in half.  Yoder’s bacon: Yoders Canned Fully Cooked Bacon

3. Never Can Butter

Now let’s talk about butter. It is not safe to can at home either. Maybe you had a friend show you how to can it. Like bacon, butter has way too much fat in it to safely can it at home. Here again, we don’t know what bacteria may be growing in those jars.

I watch for butter to go on sale and fill my freezer with as many as my budget will allow. I also bought some powdered butter that tastes awful. I get the dry heaves just thinking about the smell of it. One website states their powdered butter “tastes like Land O’Lakes butter.”  No it doesn’t, I have tried them all. They are fine for baking.

This is an statement I was given from the USU Extension Service on a sheet of paper listing food to NOT store:

“Home Canned Butter, especially unsalted butter has NO protection from botulism, salted home canned butter has no science-based process to can safely. Heating the jars does sterilize it, but it will NOT kill any botulism spores. When you remove the oxygen from the jar, it allows for the potential growth of botulism spores”.

I highly recommend this brand of canned butter for your food storage: Red Feather PURE CANNED BUTTER – 6 cans of 12oz each – great for survival earthquake kit

Read More of My Articles  7 Ways To Keep Brown Sugar Soft

Thanks to Lauralee H. explains how butter was stored in pioneer days:

The pioneers only made small batches of butter at a time from milking their cow. Then they stored it at room temperature in a butter bell. A ceramic type of dish where they spooned the butter into the top bell part and over the butter poured a small amount of boiled salted water that was cooled over the butter. Then a plate type bottom was placed on it, and it was turned over quickly and sat down on the counter. That way the salted water was on the bottom of the butter sealing out the air. Each time they needed the butter they poured the water off and used the butter. Most of them did salt their butter back then when churning it. They tried not to make too much butter at a time, only what they could use up in maybe three days. If they made big batches they were going to do baking that would use it up. I think you can still purchase butter bells.

Thanks to Shelley for this great comment:

The National Center for Home Food Preservation is the go-to resource for safe. approved methods and recipes. If I ever have a question this is where I go. I am also a Master Food Preserver through Washington State University and I also rely on the Extension Services to provide information. Please don’t trust the online resources you see as safe. Research first!

https://nchfp.uga.edu/index.html

Thanks to Linda telling me what her mom did years ago:

hello, great post. My mom was born in 1910. She told me stories of how things were done in Ky for generations. They had cold dairies (called various things) but what it came down to was watch where the river level was at the highest point in the year and go a few feet above this. You dig out the river bank, shore it up, just like they do in the mines, caves, etc. Milk, eggs, butter was stored. mom said it was very cold even in the summer. Winter temps allowed longer storage thus greater amounts stored. For pitted fruits a fruit cellar dug into a mountain or wood building covered to be a small hill, etc.

JoEllen:Actually you might have included anything “dairy” as something unsafe to can as well. There’s a crowd out there who advocate water bath canning of extra milk. Hopefully they will survive their ICU stay…

Please be careful when canning ANY foods at home, but these three we should never can at home. Here’s to safe canning.

Utah State Extension Service: Utah State Extension Service.

 

 

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59 thoughts on “Three Things You Should Never Can At Home

  • July 9, 2015 at 7:08 am
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    What about dehydrated eggs? If I recall, you’re supposed to scramble them, dehydrate them, powder them, then vacuum seal them in a jar. I would think the same method would work for bacon, if you took your time and cut the fat out. You’ve got me scratching my head on butter though. How did the pioneers do it? Salt pack it?

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    • July 9, 2015 at 7:31 am
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      Hi James, they did mention at USU you can scramble the eggs and dehydrate them. Be careful with the powder part because the accessory tube can get broken if you suck up the powder. Some people put bags on top of the powder. I prefer to just buy mine. I would love to know how the pioneers stored butter. Bacon would have been salted/cured/dehydrated. But that is different than canning bacon in jars. I hope someone comments on Facebook how the pioneers stored butter. Linda

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      • July 9, 2015 at 9:41 am
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        They took it on the hoof. They took a milk cow with them. Not only did they get milk but it raised the calf it had so it could give the milk and in really hard times could be a food source. All that and it fed itself along the way.

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        • July 9, 2015 at 10:14 am
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          Hi Diane, thanks for commenting. I think we all need to do a little research on the pioneers ways….thanks for the tip! Linda

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          • May 9, 2016 at 7:02 pm
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            Butter was always used up as it was made, I would add corn to the list, if a female cans corn
            during their period there is a chemical reaction. that causes the corn to spoil, also if you have any infections. Eggs can be stored in water for up to a year,so they say, but most often also used up as gathered. Everyone needs chickens and a milk cow, especially with a growing family, or to have one or the other and swap out with a neighbor. Barter was key back in the day.

          • May 10, 2016 at 5:38 am
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            Hi Gin, oh man do I wish we could all barter like back in the day. My dream would be to have neighbors to barter my bread for beef, chicken, and eggs. I love reading on Facebook about people having chickens and what they do on a daily basis. Thanks for the tip on corn. I will check on that for sure. I love learning new things. Thank you so much, Linda

      • July 9, 2015 at 10:31 pm
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        The pioneers only made small batches of butter at a time from milking their cow. Then they stored it at room temperature in a butter bell. A ceramic type of dish where they spooned the butter into the top bell part and over the butter poured a small amount of boiled salted water that was cooled over the butter. Then a plate type bottom was placed on it, and it was turned over quickly and sat down on the counter. That way the salted water was on the bottom of the butter sealing out the air. Each time they needed the butter they poured the water off and used the butter. Most of them did salt their butter back then when churning it. They tried not to make too much butter at a time, only what they could use up in maybe three days. If they made big batches they were going to do baking that would use it up. I think you can still purchase butter bells.

        Reply
        • July 10, 2015 at 6:37 am
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          Hi Lauralee, thanks for this information! I am adding this to my post, your rock! Linda

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  • July 9, 2015 at 12:14 pm
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    Linda, Haven’t you referred to the freeze dried butter that several companies make? If not have you ever tried it? Sounds great for prepper supplies.

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    • July 9, 2015 at 12:27 pm
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      Hi Melissa, yes I have some #10 cans of butter but I have yet to buy one that tastes good. I have them solely for baking in an emergency. I can eat toast without butter. The Red Feather butter is awesome. The smell of the #10 cans of powdered butter smells awful to me. It might just be me. Thanks for stopping by, Linda

      Reply
  • July 9, 2015 at 12:25 pm
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    Great post Linda. Can’t imagine having extra bacon to can. Haha! I have also been taught that pumpkin puree should not be home canned. What do you know about that? Interested to hear your opinion. Thanks for a great post

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    • July 9, 2015 at 12:34 pm
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      Hi Janet, thank you. I hesitated about shouting out please do not can bacon, butter and eggs. But then I kept getting emails asking me if this post or that post was okay. My gut told me no. I was right. You cannot do pumpkin puree according to the USU extension service. It says you can can cubed pumpkin but then says: Caution: Do not mash or puree. Now we know! Linda

      Reply
  • July 9, 2015 at 6:02 pm
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    Yes, I’ve been seeing this as well and have been shocked and appalled. Thanks for spreading the word.

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    • July 9, 2015 at 7:17 pm
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      Hi Gayle, I am so glad you agree! My gut told me you shouldn’t can these items. Now I know even more things that can’t be canned safely after talking to the extension service. Thanks for stopping by, Linda

      Reply
  • July 9, 2015 at 7:56 pm
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    Thank you for your useful posts

    Reply
  • July 9, 2015 at 10:56 pm
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    Does this apply to ghee, as all well. I have heard it can sit on your counter, and remain safe for weeks. I was thinking of trying it.

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    • July 10, 2015 at 6:43 am
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      Hi Jonnie, I would highly suggest you contact your local state extension service. I would love to hear what they say. If you find out let me know. I will try and contact mine as well. Thanks so much, Linda

      Reply
  • July 10, 2015 at 8:50 am
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    In Re: baking bacon, I put the bacon on wire racks over the foil wrapped baking pan. Really reduces the grease and the bacon is still crunchy.

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    • July 10, 2015 at 3:59 pm
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      Hi Lorren, thanks for the tip on the racks. I just ordered one for my bacon that I bake in the oven! Have a great weekend, Linda

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      • July 13, 2015 at 9:51 pm
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        Do you really bake bacon at 400° for 45 to 60 minutes? I also bake bacon in the oven at 400° but for maybe 20-25 minutes . I can imagine the smoke alarm going crazy if I left it in for an hour!

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        • July 14, 2015 at 7:39 am
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          Hi Jami, I buy the really thick bacon from the butcher. I am glad you mentioned this I am going to go add that to my post, Thank so much, Linda

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  • July 10, 2015 at 6:28 pm
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    Yep, they still make butter bells. I make my own butter and use one for storage. They work well for keeping store bought butter soft as well. The directions with mine said to use cold water to seal it.

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    • July 11, 2015 at 6:39 am
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      Hi Crystal, I have a butter bell as well! I am impressed you make your own butter! I love it! I use cold water with my butter bell as well. Linda

      Reply
  • July 10, 2015 at 6:45 pm
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    The National Center for Home Food Preservation is the go-to resource for safe. approved methods and recipes. If I ever have a question this is where I go. I am also a Master Food Preserver through Washington State University and I also rely on the Extension Services to provide information. Please don’t trust the online resources you see as safe. Research first! 🙂

    https://nchfp.uga.edu/index.html

    Reply
    • July 11, 2015 at 6:41 am
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      Hi Shelley, I am so glad you commented on this post. I kept seeing all these posts from bloggers saying it was safe to can these and other food items as well. I am going to add your comment to my post, thank you so much! We need to get the word out to people that some foods are NOT safe to can at home. Thank you so much, Linda

      Reply
  • July 11, 2015 at 2:39 am
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    hello, great post. My mom was born in 1910. She told me stories of how things were done in Ky for generations. They had cold dairies (called various things) but what it came down to was watch where the river level was at the highest point in the year and go a few feet above this. You dig out the river bank, shore it up, just like they do in the mines, caves, etc. Milk, eggs, butter was stored. mom said it was very cold even in the summer. Winter temps allowed longer storage thus greater amounts stored. For pitted fruits a fruit cellar dug into a mountain or wood building covered to be a small hill, etc.

    Reply
    • July 11, 2015 at 6:55 am
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      HI Linda, great comment, I am adding to my post! I love the information you talk about cold dairies and storing these foods. This would be great info for an emergency if we had to keep our food cooler. Thank you! Linda

      Reply
  • July 11, 2015 at 8:52 am
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    We have canned lots of bacon. I follow Jackie Clay’s instructions on canning it. We lay each strip on parchment paper, lay another piece of parchment paper on top, roll it up and put it in a 1 1/2 pint jar and can for 90 min at 10# pressure. It is delicious. You need enough parchment paper laid out for a pound of thick cut bacon.

    Reply
  • July 11, 2015 at 10:34 am
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    I can understand the eggs raw eggs though they can be pickled and the butter would melt change the molecular structure , so I understand that. But bacon I remember having raw caned bacon in the house growing up, it was single height and rolled in a can about the size of a tuna can. If you can, can lard why not bacon. Do not grasp that one.

    Reply
  • July 13, 2015 at 9:54 pm
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    Do you really bake bacon at 400° for 45 to 60 minutes? I also bake bacon in the oven at 400° but for maybe 20-25 minutes. I can imagine the smoke alarm going crazy if I left it in for an hour!

    Reply
  • July 13, 2015 at 10:11 pm
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    I have a butter bell Don’t know what I would do without it

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    • July 14, 2015 at 7:41 am
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      Hi Leah, I have a butter bell too! I have two incase one breaks! Hugs! Linda

      Reply
  • July 14, 2015 at 7:19 am
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    I kept the liver fat from a butchered cow. My intention was to make my own shortening, and canning it. I read several articles, but now wonder if like bacon and butter, if it would be safe? Hmm, maybe it would be more like the pickled eggs, and best for the refrigerator?

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    • July 14, 2015 at 7:46 am
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      Hi Angela, I would doubt that it would be safe but I have no expertise in that area. I also wonder how long it would last in the refrigerator. I would call your local state extension service. Be safe, thanks for stopping by, Linda

      Reply
    • July 14, 2015 at 11:56 am
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      The time you spend canning it you would be better off just freezing it. I use to store bacon or chicken fat in my fridge for cook8ng or baking with. I cant remember exactly but it lasts atleast a few weeks in the fridge

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      • July 14, 2015 at 12:02 pm
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        Hi Lyndsay, you are so right about the time spent to can, freezing works better for the amount of bacon my family consumes. I save my bacon grease too! Thanks so much for stopping by, Linda

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  • July 14, 2015 at 8:19 am
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    Never can soups with milk or cheese in them. Like tomato bisque soup.

    Reply
    • July 14, 2015 at 8:40 am
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      Hi Tammy, I am glad you said this! We need to get the word out about unsafe canning! Thanks for commenting! Hugs! Linda

      Reply
  • July 14, 2015 at 9:01 am
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    Has anyone tried canning or using Clarified Butter?

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    • July 14, 2015 at 11:50 am
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      Hi Rhonda, I have been canning for 50 years and I just follow the guidelines of the state extension service. I would contact your local extension service. I am thinking not because they said salted or unsalted butter is not safe. Linda

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    • July 14, 2015 at 11:51 am
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      Hi Adele, I would contact your local state extension service. My guess would be no but you need to know the facts yourself, Linda

      Reply
  • July 14, 2015 at 10:54 am
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    Can cooked bacon be canned in soups?

    Reply
    • July 14, 2015 at 11:51 am
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      Hi Brandie, I would contact your local state extension service. I never can any bacon in my jars. Linda

      Reply
  • July 17, 2015 at 6:22 pm
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    I also have researched the canning of pumpkin and not only pumpkin, but any squash – butternut, acorn, etc. is only safe to can in chunks – never mashed or pureed. I believe that the reason is that home canners just can’t get hot enough – like the commercial canning factories can – to make it safe.

    I’ve opted to freeze my winter squash thus far, but it seems that canning in pieces is ok per reliable resources. Happy canning, all! 🙂

    Reply
    • July 17, 2015 at 6:45 pm
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      Hi Jaime, I looked up the canning for squash (winter) it states in my USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning you can can in chunks only. It states do not mash or puree. Happy and safe canning to all! Linda

      Reply
  • October 10, 2015 at 9:52 pm
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    We have been canning butter and bacon since 1997 and have not as yet had the first bit of trouble. I would guess that the fear is made by somebody that would benefit from us not canning our own. We do use store bought butter and bacon(when it is on sale). Have not tried using fresh milk or bacon. We are still around and kicking.

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    • October 11, 2015 at 8:48 am
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      HI Jerry, I am glad you haven’t had any problem by canning these items. I went to our county extension service to confirm my fears of botulism canning these. So many articles have been written saying it’s safe and the county extension service says it is not. I am glad you are still kicking and around, I love that! Happy Sunday! Linda

      Reply
  • October 14, 2015 at 11:16 am
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    The American Frugal Housewife, published in 1832, mentions (in a story about the foolishness of traveling) a family that lost fifty pounds of stored butter because the maid, left in charge, didn’t check it. Butter was stored in brine and often saltpetre. The cow didn’t give milk all year round. From what I can tell from old cookbooks, spring was THE time to store up butter in your cellar.

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    • October 14, 2015 at 11:38 am
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      Hi Marie, the butter story is interesting! I love old cookbooks! Linda

      Reply
  • October 25, 2015 at 4:59 am
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    Hello,
    We can bacon all the time. It has always sealed and then cooked up just fine afterwards.

    Reply
    • October 25, 2015 at 11:18 am
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      Hi Rebecca, I am glad to hear you have never had any problems canning bacon. Linda

      Reply
  • January 5, 2016 at 9:30 pm
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    My sister, who is a chef, just got a butter bell for Xmas. Her mother-in-law got it for her. It’s just adorable.

    Reply
    • January 6, 2016 at 7:39 am
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      Hi Trudy, I love butter bells! That’s a great Christmas gift! Linda

      Reply
  • October 3, 2016 at 10:49 am
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    Actually you might have included anything “dairy” as something unsafe to can as well. There’s a crowd out there who advocate water bath canning of extra milk. Hopefully they will survive their ICU stay…

    Reply
    • October 3, 2016 at 1:28 pm
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      Hi JoEllen, thank you so much for your comment. Facebook comments have been brutal over my post. I wrote this post about a year ago and just updated it a little. The milk thing is so frustrating, I hope they survive their ICU visit as well. We need to get the word out because just because they have been canning bacon, milk, eggs and they are still alive……people are writing posts that they have zero knowledge about the safety issues. I will be writing another post very soon which dairy will be added (all dairy is not safe to can). First of all, why are people storing jars of canned milk, they are unsafe but they take up so much room. Buy some #10 cans of instant milk or powdered milk processed by commercial companies with safe canning standards. Blessings to you and your family, thanks again! Hugs! Linda

      Reply

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