I have not been this excited to have a new ‘toy’ since my parents gave me an avocado green Easy Bake Oven…….it is the Ball Fresh TECH Automatic Home Canning System.
Despite watching my Grandmother, all those years ago, canning the old fashion way by using Ball Mason Jars and a heavy black cast ironed speckled enameled stockpot simmering all day long on a stove, I never canned anything in my life. The process was too long and too tedious and sometimes dangerous. It really takes the patience of a saint to can the old fashioned way.
The preservation of food in human history always relied on salting methods. Canning is a method of preserving food in which the food contents are processed and sealed in an airtight container. Canning provides a shelf life typically ranging from one to five years, although under specific circumstances it can be much longer. A freeze-dried canned product, such as canned dried lentils, could last as long as 30 years in an edible state. In 1974, samples of canned food from the wreck of the Bertrand, a steamboat that sank in the Missouri River in 1865, were tested by the National Food Processors Association. Although appearance, smell and vitamin content had deteriorated, there was no trace of microbial growth and the 109 year-old food was determined to be still safe to eat. Imagine that!
In 1795 the French military offered a cash prize of 12,000 francs for a new method to preserve food. Nicolas Appert suggested canning, and the process was first proven in 1806 in tests conducted by the French navy. Appert was awarded the prize in 1810 by Count Montelivert, a French minister of the interior.
Other than sterilization, no method is perfectly dependable as a preservative. The only foods that may be safely canned in an ordinary boiling water bath are highly acidic ones with a pH below 4.6, such as fruits, pickled vegetables, or other foods to which acidic additives have been added.
And to be perfectly honest, canning looked a bit scary to me as child. These pictures give you a glimpse into canning in America in the from 1914 through the 1980s.
Canning garden produce was an annual ritual for most farm women. Mrs. Eugene Smith had several hot summer days of toiling over a wood cook stove ahead of her as she prepared string beans for canning in St. Mary’s County, Maryland, 1940.
Mrs. Harry Handy canning corn with aid of pressure cooker. Saint Mary’s County, Maryland, September 1940. (Photographer: John Vachon)
Canning string beans and corn in Louisiana, circa 1980s.
But since I have been growing my own vegetables and a frequent buyer of fruits and vegetables at my local farmers market, I have been intrigued as to how to preserve foods long after the Spring , Summer and Autumn harvests.
And if you have never canned before, or need a refresher on canning, I would suggest the publication that can be found on -line:
The National Center for Home Food Preservation
While researching modern methods of home canning, I stumbled upon this amazing find……
The intrepid home cook can take on home canning with confidence, with no worries and no time-consuming stovetop monitoring. A first of its kind, the Ball FreshTECH electric canning system eliminates all the guesswork from preserving fresh produce to make jams, jellies, pickles and more. Innovative technology controls the exact time and temperature needed to can according to their recipes—simply press a button and foods are perfectly preserved every time. Faster, easier and more energy-efficient than water-bath canning, the Auto Canner is ideal for novice home canners looking for guidance as well as more experienced canners who want to save time.
Automatic home-canning system simplifies the process of preserving your favorite fresh produce into jams, jellies, pickles, fruits, salsas, tomatoes, sauces and more.
The most popular canning recipes are pre-programmed into the appliance, so you can preserve with the push of a button. Patent-pending SmartPRESERVE technology automatically senses and constantly monitors time and temperature and adjusts for altitude.
Dual temperature sensors and seven built-in safety features ensure foods are processed at the correct temperature every time for safe, shelf-stable storage for up to a year.
Eliminates the need for stovetop monitoring, providing valuable time savings for home canners.
Preheats empty jars in 12 minutes before filling and preserving.
Uses up to 30% less time, 60% less energy and 85% less water compared to traditional water-bath canning methods.Aluminum pot has a nonstick coating for easy cleanup. Also included are the stainless-steel jar rack and the jar lifter.
Despite all the technology with this new machine, there are a few down sides: 1) the price, which runs about $299.00; 2) You can ONLY the electric automatic canner with the tested recipes in the included recipe booklet; 3) The canner can only process small batches at a time.
But for me, these issues were not an obstacle, being a first time canner and all.
The first thing I made was apple jelly. The recipe provided was way too sweet for my liking.
Next, I made strawberry jam, which turned out PERFECT.
And then, I made a hot pepper relish, that was not in the recipe booklet, but turned out just fine using a similar recipe that was in the booklet.
Top row, Left to Right:Apple Jelly, Strawberry Jam, and Pomegranate Syrup
Bottom row, Left to Right: Giardiniera, Hot Pepper Relish, and ChowChow
I have never had so much fun in the kitchen. I think my grandmother would be proud of me following in her culinary footsteps.