I posted this question on the Ball jar Facebook page recently but they pretty much advised me to not stray beyond the recommended "put hot jars into hot water" canning method. But here's my dilemma:
I have a bunch of okra and peppers that I raw packed into jars that were 3/4 full of vinegar, 1/4 full of water, a bit of sugar, and mustard seed. Your average canning guide would recommend that even though I am raw-packing, I should still put the raw veggies into hot jars, then put the hot jars into hot water.
Here's what I am thinking though: I can put the cold jars full of the raw-packed pickles into cold water, then bring the whole thing up to boiling and can for the recommended period of time. Since the boiling time is really what does the sterilizing, I don't think it should matter if I start with cold pre-packed jars?
Secretly I have tried this method before and it worked fine. But after I posted this on the Ball jar Facebook page and got a "no" I thought I would publicize the question and see if we can't open the discussion on this new method.
It's pretty nice to be able to assemble the pickles one night and then sterilize and can them the next night.
Opinions or thought on this are appreciated!
I totally get how what you want to do makes sense. Maybe they are thinking that you want to put the cold jars into already boiling water? That would be bad because it could break the glassware, but if it's put into cold water and then all of it is brought up to boiling I don't know how that wouldn't work. It's like when using a pressure canner, you put the jars in and then bring them up to temperature, not the other way around.
Though I'm not an expert...Maybe check the USDA information.
The cold-pack- in-cold-jar then water-bathed process does not nessessarily sterilize the jars (pressure canning does).
Still, the jars need not be hot when packed as long as they've been sterilized beforehand. In fact when using a cold-pack recipe they should not be hot for reasons you mentioned. You could sterilize the jars and place plastic wrap over them until ready to pack or put the rings & lids on loosely to kkep the contaminants out.
Packing them and placing the rings/lids on the sterilized jars the night before is probably OK for pickled items containing vinegar (high acid content) but the raw packed items are not sterile and might contaminate an otherwise sterile jar if the vinegar where not there to protect the ingredients.
Ball will never go out on a limb and say its OK unless it's 10000000% safe to do so (same with the county extension offices). So....you rolls the dices and takes your chances;-). Our parents and millions of us did things in the old days that are supposedly not right but it's all about risk management and your tollerence for that risk. Stick with the most current rules and your odds are as good as they could get. Stray from them and you'll likely be OK but you will have slightly worse odds. I take some of those risks but know enough about what I'm doing to know if the risk is big or ever so small. Unless you know what the deal is, its always best to listen to the experts and even then its a good idea! A big part of the reason the average life expectancy is longer than it used to be is that we are constantly learning to improve the odds in one way or another.