Category Archives: Preserving science

For Winter Pies: Home-Canned ClearJel Filling

For at least fifteen years Extension agents have been urging home food preservers to try ClearJel, a kind of cornstarch used mainly in factory foods. Unlike regular cornstarch, ClearJel is made from waxy maize, a mutant variety discovered in China … Continue reading

Posted in Fruits, Preserving science, Sweet preserves | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

A Better Boiling-Water Canner?

I’ve always hated my graniteware canner. You know what I mean—one of those big, lightweight, speckled black pots with the cheap chromed rack inside. My rack rusted out in the first year of use. After I replaced it I noticed … Continue reading

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Can Pickles Cure the Flu?

In an article in Letters of Applied Microbiology, Japanese scientists report that feeding a pickle microbe to mice infected with the flu alleviates the rodents’ symptoms. The scientists previously found that this same bacterium, already in commercial use as a … Continue reading

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Another Cause of Soft Pickles

I threw out half of my first crock of brined cucumbers this year, because the cucumbers were strangely soft. Much more upsetting than the loss was the fact that I couldn’t explain it. I am supposed to understand such things! … Continue reading

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Is There Mold in That Paste Tomato?

I stopped growing modern paste tomatoes such as San Marzano a few years ago, when I began finding furry mold growing in fruits that appeared perfect on the exterior. So, while talking about preserving tomatoes to the Multnomah County Master Gardeners … Continue reading

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Experiment with Specialty Pectins

As many readers of this blog already know, I almost never use packaged pectin. After writing a whole book about old-fashioned fruit preserves, made as they were before packaged pectin was invented, I’ve felt no need for Sure-Jell or MCP … Continue reading

Posted in Books and blogs, Fruits, Preserving science, Sweet preserves | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 36 Comments

Summer Kraut in a Quart Mason Jar

Sauerkraut is traditionally made in autumn, when cabbages grow big, white, and sweet in the chilly air. The cold weather helps them develop a high water and sugar content, which in turn helps the cabbages to ferment well. But you … Continue reading

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New BPA-Free Mason Jar Lids: Are They Really Safer?

I can see from the WordPress statistics on this blog that a lot of people are searching for information about bisphenol-A (BPA) in mason jar lids. Apparently word is getting around that Ball and Kerr lids are now BPA-free. The … Continue reading

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Experiments with Tibicos (Water Kefir)

When my friend Rose Marie first asked me what I knew about water kefir, I was baffled. Water kefir, she explained, was a culture for a bubbly beverage made from water, not milk, in the form of “grains” that resemble … Continue reading

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Check That Vinegar Label

Until recently, cider and distilled vinegar sold in the United States was dependably diluted to 5-percent acetic acid. All U.S. Department of Agriculture home-canning recipes that call for vinegar specify a strength of 5 percent, and in writing recipes myself … Continue reading

Posted in Pickles, Preserving science | Tagged , , , , , | 40 Comments