Using a home canner is a great way to preserve foods in mason jars. Using a home canner can help you save money and become more self-reliant. However, not everything can be canned!
Home canners are great for canning certain vegetables and fruits but are unable to reach the heat required to properly can foods that are too oily, have high fat content, or are too viscous. Commercial canneries also use additives, preservatives and processing equipment that you can’t replicate at home.
Check out this list of 10 items that you shouldn’t can at home:
Milk, or items containing milk, aren’t recommended for home-canning. Milk has a low-acid level and supports an environment which fosters botulism growth at room temperature. Many times, the fat in milk can also protect botulism spores during the canning process.
With the high density and fat content, lard is just not a good item to can. The fatness and density won’t allow the heat of the canning process to penetrate the contents, allowing the food to house spores and other harmful bacteria.
There are some recipes out there for canning refried beans but they can be dangerous. The thickness of the refried beans is too much for the heat to penetrate the interior of the bottle. You might be better off getting freeze-dried refried beans instead.
Once again, density is a problem with canning pickled eggs. The skin of the egg is a little too much for your home canner to handle.
Butter or Cream
Like milk, butter or cream items, are not recommended for home canning. The amount of heat required for dairy items to be canned correctly would actually make the foods inedible. It’s not recommended that you can any items with dairy at home.
Lots of families want to can cornstarch to use in future baking projects. However items that contain cornstarch shouldn’t be canned because of their ability to break down acidic food mixtures and interfere with heat-killing pathogens.
A popular trend is for people to create “cakes in a jar” or other dishes containing flour. Flour products (breads, doughs, etc) are very prone to botulism.
Nuts and Cashews
Most nuts have an oily texture and can lead to botulism. The oily outside coats and insulates botulism spores and creates an anaerobic micro-environment which allows the spores to live in a high-heat environment.
Most meats and fish are too oily to be canned correctly. The oil allows for botulism spores to stay inside the jar.
Similar to refried beans or peanut butter, purees like pumpkin puree or squash puree are too gelatinous to can at home. Cooking cubed pumpkin however, is a nice alternative that is safe to eat. Cubed squash however will compress during heating and become too thick.
This list is made of items that have unproven canning recipes. Before you say, “I’ve canned those items and I’m fine,” please note that many canned foods aren’t guaranteed to have botulism spores but they are unproved when using the home canning process. Just remember that because your items haven’t had botulism spores in the past doesn’t mean they couldn’t in the future.