Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Book Review: Incredible Home Canning Solutions by Martha Millhouse

by M. J. Joachim

Never mind the typos and some formatting issues, let’s get into the heart of what this book claims to do - offer canning solutions to newbie canners. As a newbie canner, one who has thoroughly done my research, I might add, this book was a total disappointment for me. 

Hot water baths preserve both high and low acid foods, but you wouldn’t know that by reading this book. I put this book down thinking, “I’m sure glad I did so much research before I read that one!” Otherwise I might think I need two types of canners, and I’d constantly be trying to figure out the ph value in any foods I wanted to can.” It’s enough to make any newbie, wannabe canner, forget the whole thing! Intimidating readily comes to mind. And no, you don’t need to have a pressure canner to can low ph foods.

You simply need to add the extra acid - a bit of lemon juice or vinegar to the recipe, as required according to the recipe. You also need to know how long to process your jars in the hot water bath, something completely omitted in the recipes provided in the book. However, pressure canning times were provided with those recipes. It helps to know what size jars too, because different sizes of jars are processed for different amounts of time.

Don’t even get me started on how to check to see if jars are sealed correctly. Suffice to say, this chapter wasn’t included in the book. All we were told was to check to see if jars are sealed and if not, reprocess within 24 hours. Considering this is a book written to help newbie canners, don’t you think knowing how to tell if jars are sealed correctly would be valuable information?

I could go on, but I’m sure you get the gist. I won’t be recommending this book for numerous reasons. If you want to learn to can, visit youtube and watch their canning videos. There are also some very thorough blogs out there - tons of recipes included, and the classic Better Homes Cookbook has a wonderful section on canning in it. Plus there are some great university sites with all sorts of information on canning, complete with pdf’s you can print to keep copies of necessary processing times for all sorts of foods.

Canning isn’t rocket science, and truth be told, it’s very easy to do too.

I’m so happy you stopped by today. Thanks, and I’ll see you again soon!

M. J.

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