For those interested in pickles and other food preserving, I
getting a good modern book and reading it first. The one our
family uses is:
Stocking Up III
The All New Edition of America's Classic Preserving Guide
by Carol Hupping and the staff of the Rodale Food Center copy
These books are updated from time to time with the intent to make
food processing safer and the food better tasting and retain more of
The book I have often takes the time to tell the why of why one
process should or should not be used. Get the latest version you
can. As mentioned in earlier post botulism cells can't grow in
environments with pH lower than 4.6. Anything without these acid
levels must be pressure canned. Pressure canning allows for
temperatures to be higher that 212 deg F. so that botulism spores
can be killed.
Also these books have charts so that different foods are processed
for different amounts of time and pressures depending on food
density and can size so that
a piece of food in the center of the can gets hot enough at
its center to be safe. I have seen instances where home caned
tomatoes (an acid fruit that doesn't
need to be pressure canned ) that have been water-bath canned
have gone bad. This spoilage is usually obvious. One just throws
it away. What is important is that food spoiled by botulism doesn't
fizz or stink or taste bad and the toxins produced by it can kill
you. SO: Get a good book with sound recipes and stick to it. You
can change up the spices, but don't muck with the
of vinegar and lemon juice as these are the sources of acid.
Also don't take a water bath canned tomato recipe and add a
bunch of something like
to it. Tomatoes are an acid fruit and zucchini is not so half
zucchini would cut the acid in half.
You could however pressure can as if it were straight
zucchini to error on the safe side.
Lemon juice or citric acid is often added to tomatoes in more
modern books as some of the more modern tomato
are being bread for lower acid and are unsafe to water bath
can without a little extra acid.
Now say your a brewer and
made vinegar. That's ok for flavoring fresh food but don't
use it for canning because it's acid content may not be
to work properly in preserving. Use store bought vinegar that is
regulated to a specific strength. Medieval recipes: cross reference
with similar modern ones. Make sure that the
quantities of things that keep things
safe are maintained
. A pH meter might even be a good idea. If you ain't willing
and haven't tested it on yourself first, don't test it on your
For the brine cured (fermented) pickles the Euell Gibbons Dill crock
given in the book uses 3/4 measure salt and 10 measures water and
1/4 cup cider vinegar to a gallon.
Note the salt should be canning salt which does not contain iodide
and is a specific grain size. Sea salt may not contain iodide but
is usually larger crystals and has a mixture of various salt types
which may through a recipe off. Use of tested recipes is important
till you have a good understanding of what your doing and know how
the process should go, taste and so forth.
It is my understanding that the salt prevents the growth of many
organisms while providing a good environment for lactic acid
producing bacteria to grow. This in turn produces an acid
environment that is unfavorable to botulism. I don't know what
effect the salt has if any,
So how about wine and beer.
Beer ? can some of you all grainers refresh my memory on what wart
wart and mash pH is?
Mead (honey water mixes) can get has high as 4.2 or 4.3 but is
usually lower and wine is usually 3.5 or lower. so no botulism there
since pH is well below 4.6