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OK, i have several pints of Green Tomato Mincemeat my Grandma made in 2003. This is something she has been making forever (and canning this way, forever). It is a family favorite (mincemeat cookies, yum!). I am pretty sure she took right from the stovetop into the hot jars, and didn't process it. Here is the recipe, what do you think? Should we keep it? Is this something that can be processed in a hot water bath? Should I reheat and process?<br><br>
3 lbs green tomatoes<br>
3 lbs apples<br>
2 lbs raisins<br>
1 cup suet<br>
1 cup vinegar<br>
4 lbs brown sugar<br>
2 tbsp salt<br>
2 tbsp cinnamon<br>
2 tsp cloves<br>
1 tsp nutmeg<br>
Chop up tomatoes/apples, mix w/ other ingredients, boil until syrup is think. Makes 10 pints.<br><br>
I figure w/ the green tomatoes they are very acidic, and then there is all that sugar, and the vinegar, and the apples, which all lend themselves to hot water bath canning, right? But then the suet would mess it up, right? Could I make the recipe w/o the suet (no oil at all i guess) and water bath can?<br><br>
Help! This is a family tradition, and I would hate for it to go by the wayside because I don't want to pressure can, but I don't want anyone to get sick. TIA!
 

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I'm sure there will be some dissenters, but growing up, we never water bath canned or pressure-canned. Jams, pickles, fruits, and green tomato relish all were hot-packed. The only time I as an adult have ever water bath canned was when the item didn't contain either sugar or vinegar.
 

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oh yeah, definite dissenter here. You could call your local cooperative exchange and ask them. I think they might tell you it needs pressure canned because of the suet, but I am not sure. If no suet, water bath would be fine. I would never hot pack anything but a tried and true jam recipe with either lots of sugar, or pectin, oh yeah, that I test strip for proper acidity. I have read too many stories of botulims, etc!
 

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oh wait, are you asking if you should eat it? from 2003? or reheat and reprocess? I wouldn't eat it, and I definitely wouldn't reprocess it. Why not just make some yourself, and enjoy!
 

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Toss it. It's too old. Even if the seals are still sound, quality goes down significantly after 1+ years in a jar.<br><br>
IMO - see where your Grandma's recipe came from. If it's from before 1988, consider finding a different recipe which reflects up-to-date ratios and canning processes. OR, freeze it instead of canning it. OR, compare it with a safe (since 1988) recipe from the USDA or Ball Blue Book and if the ratios are similar/identical (preferably your recipe will have even MORE vinegar than the "safe" one) - then maybe it's OK to use. Maybe.<br><br>
Acid levels are the key to whether things should be pressure canned or water bath processed. If it's a high acid food, it can be water bathed (pickles, fruits). If it's low-acid, it should be pressure canned (meats, vegetables). The fact that your recipe has suet in it, makes me worry that maybe it should be pressure canned, if you don't choose to just make it and freeze it instead.<br><br>
Botulism would be the big risk you take otherwise. And it's scary. The other risk would be the potential of poor seals and spoilage of your canned goods - considering the time and energy we put into "putting food by" for winter - it just makes sense to can in the manner which should ensure the best seals and best shelf life/safest foods possible, I think. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
(So yes, I'm probably among the UBERcautious - but then, my aunt and my grandma were both Cooperatives Extension Home Economists <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1">).
 
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