Experienced pressure canners - what happened!!?? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 07-12-2011, 07:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi all!

 

DH got me a pressure canner for Christmas, and for the first time last night I tried pressure canning some pickles. I think it was a disaster!  I will walk through my steps, and maybe those with experience can point out what went wrong and how to avoid next time?  Thanks in advance!

 

Prepared bread and butter style pickles using sliced kirbys with salting, macerating in pickling liquid for 1 day;

 

Boiled pickling liquid as directed;

 

Boiled pint jars and lids and seals; water was up to, not over, jar necks and inside jars inside pressure canner;

 

(canner is a Presto 23 quart pressure canner, aluminum)

 

Filled jars with pickle slices.  Jars seemed full, but I did NOT mash contents down and keep forcing more in.  Filled jars to half inch headspace with boiled pickling liquid.  Put on seals and screwed on lids "finger tight" as recipe said;

 

Placed jars in pressure canner.  Since I poured the water out of the jars back into the canner after boiling, when I put the closed jars back in, jars were not totally submersed in water, but the water level WAS about mid-way up on metal jar lids;

 

Processed pickles at 11 pounds of pressure for 15 minutes.  Let cooker totally release pressure and cool without opening over the course of several hours.

 

When I opened, it appeared that pickling liquid had leaked into canning water - water was light tea colored, and canner was stained black below level of water;  It did not seem that color of pickling liquid inside the jars was diluted, but I can't be sure.  Also, pickles were no longer filling jar, but had floated to the top with now about 1.5 inches of pickling liquid in the bottom of the jar.  Each pickle slice also has a weird microbubbled appearence, almost like glacee fruit.  Did not open to taste yet.

 

Tried to scrub the canner with Barkeeps Friend, but it seems like it will take a lot of elbow grease to totally remove the black staining - is it necessary?  (Also, don't want to use an abrasive too much if that will compromise the structural integrity of the canner and its ability to withstand pressure - does anyone know if "micro scratches" from cleanser can make the canner weaker?)

 

Are pickles safe to eat or ruined?

 

Please help, I have a ton more cukes in various sizes to pick and do various picklings to, and I want to get it right!

 

Jane

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#2 of 10 Old 07-12-2011, 11:38 AM - Thread Starter
 
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UPDATE:

 

The pickles are a writeoff too - their texture is totally disgusting, totally broken down, like the worst most overcooked commercially canned green beans.

 

So, everything about this lot of pickles was awful.

 

I look forward to opinions!

 

Jane

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#3 of 10 Old 07-12-2011, 12:26 PM
 
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Originally Posted by janey99 View Post

...

Placed jars in pressure canner.  Since I poured the water out of the jars back into the canner after boiling, when I put the closed jars back in, jars were not totally submersed in water, but the water level WAS about mid-way up on metal jar lids;

 

Processed pickles at 11 pounds of pressure for 15 minutes.  Let cooker totally release pressure and cool without opening over the course of several hours.

 

That probably why it went wrong - too much water. My cooker's instructions call for 1" of water. Adding so much extra means that the cooker takes longer to come up to pressure which cooks the pickles just that extra amount. How long did it take to come up to pressure?

 

Also, is it possible the pickles were english cukes rather than pickling cukes? They contain far more water and get more squishy when cooked.

 

Adding a little calcium chloride to the pickles can help them stay crisp but only helps with limp pickles, not glacee ones


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#4 of 10 Old 07-12-2011, 12:56 PM
 
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I was under the impression that you can't ever pressure can cucumber pickles. They will always turn to mush. Boiling water bath only, usually for 10 minutes. We learned this the hard way last year. :-/  I think it's pretty important to stick generally to tested canning recipes for safety purposes. Getting a canning book is in my hopes for my birthday this year. Barring that (the Ball complete guide and the USDA books are on my list), I'd recommend check out this site: http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/

 

Here's one of their pickling recipes: http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/how/can_06/bread_butter_pickles.html

 

If you notice, most of their recipes have a pressure-canning guide option and a boiling water bath option...except for the pickles. This is what made me realize something wasn't right with my attempt to pressure can pickles, then a few more googlings and I found out that mushiness was the problem. Sorry for the loss of those pickles, mama. Good luck on the next round!  

 

 


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#5 of 10 Old 07-12-2011, 07:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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That probably why it went wrong - too much water. My cooker's instructions call for 1" of water. Adding so much extra means that the cooker takes longer to come up to pressure which cooks the pickles just that extra amount. How long did it take to come up to pressure?

 

Also, is it possible the pickles were english cukes rather than pickling cukes? They contain far more water and get more squishy when cooked.

 

Adding a little calcium chloride to the pickles can help them stay crisp but only helps with limp pickles, not glacee ones


Yeah, I think too much water played a part for sure. But, you put only one inch in your pressure canner? In mine, I think that would still be below the level of the tray/platform. Is it the STEAM that does the work, and not the WATER?! (I haz teh canning stupidity!)

 

Pickles were definitely pickling cukes - I have two varieties growing, but they are separated and obvious.

 

I will try waaaaay less water next time!

 

Thanks!
 

 

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#6 of 10 Old 07-12-2011, 07:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by RosieL View Post

I was under the impression that you can't ever pressure can cucumber pickles. They will always turn to mush. Boiling water bath only, usually for 10 minutes. We learned this the hard way last year. :-/  I think it's pretty important to stick generally to tested canning recipes for safety purposes. Getting a canning book is in my hopes for my birthday this year. Barring that (the Ball complete guide and the USDA books are on my list), I'd recommend check out this site: http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/

 

Here's one of their pickling recipes: http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/how/can_06/bread_butter_pickles.html

 

If you notice, most of their recipes have a pressure-canning guide option and a boiling water bath option...except for the pickles. This is what made me realize something wasn't right with my attempt to pressure can pickles, then a few more googlings and I found out that mushiness was the problem. Sorry for the loss of those pickles, mama. Good luck on the next round!  

 

 



I got the recipe from the Ball preserving book, but I switched to my pressure canner's instruction/recipe book when it came time for the "cooking" because the Ball book only referred to "processing" for 10 minutes.  The pressure cooker pamphlet called processing bringing to11 pounds pressure for 15 minutes.  When I read the rest of the pamphlet and it says you can pressure cook a short rib in 12 minutes, I should have known better!

 

Good thing my growing is going well, at least - I have two 8 foot rows of kirbies covered with baby pickles - next week I can try again!

 

Thanks for your thoughts - I think you are right too!

 

Jane

 

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#7 of 10 Old 07-13-2011, 12:27 AM
 
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Originally Posted by janey99 View Post

Yeah, I think too much water played a part for sure. But, you put only one inch in your pressure canner? In mine, I think that would still be below the level of the tray/platform. Is it the STEAM that does the work, and not the WATER?! (I haz teh canning stupidity!)

 


Just checked, and its says to have more than 1.5" to make sure it doesn't boil dry during canning. Yes, its the steam that does the work - it expands and creates the pressure.

The manual for the All American Pressure Cooker/Canner is excellent about explaining the steps.
 

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Originally Posted by RosieL View Post

I was under the impression that you can't ever pressure can cucumber pickles. They will always turn to mush. Boiling water bath only, usually for 10 minutes.

 


You're completely right. I sure missed the obvious :-D

 


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Originally Posted by janey99 View Post

 

I have two 8 foot rows of kirbies covered with baby pickles - next week I can try again!

 

 

That's going to be a lot of pickles. You'll be swimming in them!
 

 


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#9 of 10 Old 07-13-2011, 07:50 AM
 
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1 pickles do not need to be pressure canned, it's over kill and likely why they are mush

 

2 too much water in the pressure canner as others posted. The steam does the work in pressure canning.

 

3 the black below the water level is totally normal in pressure canners

 

 

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#10 of 10 Old 07-14-2011, 09:46 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for your point 3 - I will take aggressive scrubbing of the pot off my to-do list!

 

Jane

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arduinna View Post

1 pickles do not need to be pressure canned, it's over kill and likely why they are mush

 

2 too much water in the pressure canner as others posted. The steam does the work in pressure canning.

 

3 the black below the water level is totally normal in pressure canners

 

 



 

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