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I have been water-bath canning for the last 5 years. Last year my mom (also an avid canner) told me that she used her oven instead of the water-bath to seal her jars, and it worked perfectly. I tried it, and it worked great for me too! I just set my oven to 220 degrees (water boils at 212 degrees), and put the jars in for the time shown in the recipes, and added 5 minutes just to be on the safe side.

I have read in literature that one should not use the oven to seal jars, but I can't figure out the reasoning behind it. It was so nice not having a hot, steamy kitchen and a dangerous large pot of boiling water near my kids.

I would appreciate any insight you can give!

natalie

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Bootsie-

  "I am too lazy to clean the oven if a jar should break."

LOL I understand that - PLUS I don't have time to add extra cleaning !! :)

"there are NO short cuts.  You cannot see botulism. "

So true!!

As far as self life - Your reasoning - Now that makes sense! :) I also don't have freezer space for stuff like that .
My comment was for the seemingly - double processing of the foods! BUT I understand the WHY now!  :) And MICE can't eat through the jars like they can my food savor bags!
And that brings me to this:
I STILL have dried plums from 98! In zip lock bags I kept in jars! STILL tasty.
My point is this - Shelf life! What is it and who is rating it! Shelf life of some overly processed, chemically raised food- it wasn't quality to begin with! :) So I can see putting a life expectancy to that. 'They' say the food 'loses' the nutrients. Where do they go? I mean the food has been dried or processed to STOP the loss of quality, and the further deteriorating/ripening so ...........that in itself has already 'compromised' that 'quality'.
Saying all that to say this - shelf life? I don't buy it! Meaning my 14 year old dried plums, ( we had quite the bumper crop back then and I don't eat that many a year.) are still more nutritious than any of these MRE's that have a shelf life of how many decades? LOL

Oh and I agree with you on the price AND QUALITY of home grown/put-up foods over ANY store bought. No comparison!
I guess the process being called oven canning was throwing me off - a lot! I was concerned for the people canning raw foods in their ovens- Not sealing dried foods- like I did with a bunch of peanuts I wanted to store without going rancid. And the heating of the oven was not to bring the foods up to temp to stop the food spoiling organisms in their tracks. But just to vacuum seal them-
Oven Vacuum Seal on!! :) Sorry for my misunderstanding!


Bootsie Battle said:

My reason for oven canning was because the suggested shelf life of my dried tomatoes was 3 to 4 months.  I had 5 quarts of tomatoes.  I wanted to have them last all winter.  I could have frozen them but I did not have the space in my freezer when I needed to make a decision.  This method was presented to me and the suggested shelf live is over 5 years.  Countryside article,  which I have looked up,  says 7 to 10 years.   I would never suggest this to be a replacement for the boiling water bath.  I am too lazy to clean the oven if a jar should break.  I have always used the suggested methods.  I raise all of the things I can at this time and I put to much work into getting the crop prepared to take a shortcut and may loose all of my hard work.  There are people taking chances with canning because they want a short cut and there are NO short cuts.  You cannot see botulism.  

 I would think you would bring the jars to a boil before filling them and if you follow the instructions they stay in the water until you fill them.  Return to the jars to the canner and bring to a boil.  I question why this would be a problem for anyone.  As you already have the canner with the water if you are canning correctly.  I do not know if they used the dish washer to sterilize the jars.   The waste of energy would be heating the oven at this time.

 You may feel I was wasting energy but I am still enjoying my tomatoes .  I am Not paying the price for a jar of  sun dried tomatoes in olive oil at the grocery store which is much more than what it cost me to process my tomatoes.  For me, it was a problem solved and I do not have a vacuum sealer.  

Thank you for your comments!

Hi . this is how i can tomatoes,dill pickles and peppers--i heat the oven to 250 degrees -then i prepare the tomatoes in the jars ,place them in the oven for 70 minutes  at 250 degrees,,pickles at 250 degrees for 60 minutes,,cherry peppers at 250 degree for 25 minutes  [when i take the tomatoes out of the oven after 70 minutes the tomatoes are boiling in the jar. i have been doing this for years without any problems.i found and old 1934 canning book [it was either BALL OR JERR that list the times for canning in the oven,,,Richard

I just wanted to add my thoughts to this interesting discussion!

I was taught to process preserves in the oven by my mom and she, and my aunt, who is an infection control officer at a hospital and frankly, a germaphobe, swear by it.

I wouldn't describe it as a 'short cut'. Jars are sterilized in a dishwasher, lids in simmering hot water on the stove. If brining, the brine is heated and then topped up with boiling water (eg. 1c brine for a quart mason, with the rest filled with boiling water).

The jars are then put into a bain marie (water bath) of boiled water in a baking dish in a 250 degrees oven for 10 minutes or more. 

I've had lots of success with this method and my mom and aunt both say that the technique will effectively stay any bacteria.

Processing isn't just about killing existing bacteria. It's also about creating the proper seal to keep bacteria out after it cools. The water in the canner allows air to escape the jar while it expands from heat and doesn't allow it to reenter before the seal is set. This vacuum seal keeps oxygen and microorganisms out of the jar. It's why it's also important to remove rings after the jars are completely cool so if a seal pops you know that it has gone bad. Rings can create a false seal if left on.

But the jars also seal properly (as you describe) with this method, so I'm not quite sure what the problem is.

Rachel Hoff said:

Processing isn't just about killing existing bacteria. It's also about creating the proper seal to keep bacteria out after it cools. The water in the canner allows air to escape the jar while it expands from heat and doesn't allow it to reenter before the seal is set. This vacuum seal keeps oxygen and microorganisms out of the jar. It's why it's also important to remove rings after the jars are completely cool so if a seal pops you know that it has gone bad. Rings can create a false seal if left on.

I don't doubt that it is sealing but is it the proper seal with the right amount of air removed? I can put fresh-from-the-udder milk in the fridge and it will also seal when it reaches fridge temp but it's not a proper seal. 

It's a good point, Rachel. I am just trying to find the balance between safety and taste, because pickles done this way are just so much better. I am not advocating that anyone that feels uncomfortable should oven-process, but I do have a high level of comfort here because my aunt, who plans for infection control for large hospitals, considers this a safe and effective method when care for sterility is taken in the whole process, not just the final step. And this is a woman that had a platform built to put candles on for birthday cakes so no one is blowing on the cake's surface - she is that thorough!

It's an interesting discussion and one I will continue to research and learn more about!

Oh - and I wouldn't use this process for canning any animal product such as eggs or meat - a submerged boil all the way there!

Andrea Stewart said:

It's a good point, Rachel. I am just trying to find the balance between safety and taste, because pickles done this way are just so much better. I am not advocating that anyone that feels uncomfortable should oven-process, but I do have a high level of comfort here because my aunt, who plans for infection control for large hospitals, considers this a safe and effective method when care for sterility is taken in the whole process, not just the final step. And this is a woman that had a platform built to put candles on for birthday cakes so no one is blowing on the cake's surface - she is that thorough!

It's an interesting discussion and one I will continue to research and learn more about!


You might want to consider refrigerator pickles if it's the taste you're after. Is it more the taste or the texture? There are additives you can use to make pickles crunchier. I like to use a product called Pickle Crisp which makes regular canned pickles crunch like refrigerator pickles. 

I won't can eggs of dairy, not even in a pressure canner, but meat always needs to be pressure canned. 

It's the taste and texture - our old family recipe, from the brine, add-ins and texture is just fantastic. I keep them in a cool cellar, but truthfully, they are opened pretty fast when given away and when we eat them too, so they are probably spending most of their 'life' in a fridge anyway.

I will look into Pickle Crisp though - thank you!

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