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Salt substitutes should not be used to make fermented pickles or sauerkraut.
Corn turns brown during processing most often when too high a temperature is used causing the sugar in the corn to get sugary. Some minerals in the water used in canning may also cause it.
The outer leaves of cabbage should be removed. Quarter the cabbage and core. Cut into strips 1/8" thick. The cabbage should be crisp to brittle when dry.
Meats should be extremely dry unless they are to be refrigerated or frozen for long-term storage. Meat is sufficiently dried when it is dark in color, fibrous, and forms sharp points when broken.
Vegetables are sufficiently dried when they are leathery or brittle.
Making Fruit Leather
Fruit leathers, also called fruit roll ups, can be made from almost all fruits or combinations of fruits. Peaches, apricots, cherries, and nectarines are ideal for making fruit roll ups. Wash well, peel (if desired), cut into pieces, and puree fruit in a blender. Sweeten to taste with sugar or honey. Spread evenly, no more than 1/4" deep, on a cookie sheet. The cookie sheet should either be lightly sprayed with a vegetable shortening or covered with plastic paper.
When drying foods at home remember that it is better to over dry than to under dry. When in doubt, continue drying for an additional 15 to 30 minutes. Check for doneness. Allow the product to cool before testing.
Pears and apples will work well in making fruit roll ups if sufficiently softened.
To dry heat pasteurize your dry foods, place food loosely in a 2" or less deep pan and place in a preheated (175 degree) oven. Pasteurize for 15 minutes. Cool your dry products, package, and store.
Here are some signs to look for when checking your vegetables for dryness. Leathery vegetables will be pliable and spring back if folded, and the edges will be sharp. Corn and peas shatter when hit with a hammer. Fruits are adequately dried when they are tough and pliable when cut.
Open kettle canning does maintain a temperature high enough to destroy food poisoning organisms, therefore it is maintained in today's times as being unsafe.
Helpful items for home canning and preserving:
Jar lifter: essential for easy removal of hot jars
Jar funnel: helps in pouring and packing of liquid and small food items into jars
Lid wand: magnetized wand for removing treated lids from hot water
Clean cloths: handy to have for wiping jar rims, spills and general cleanup
Knives: for preparing food
Narrow, flat rubber spatula: for removing trapped air bubbles before sealing jars
Timer or clock: for accurate food processing time
Never dry sulfured fruits in an oven because the sulfur dioxide fumes can be irritating.
I have found that placing a paper towel in a container with produce, such as lettuce, etcetera, helps absorb excess moisture and the produce lasts longer.
1 pound apples = 2 C sliced. 3 pounds sliced apples will make one 9 inch pie. A bushel of apples will yield about 16-19 quarts of canned apples.
Most canning jars sold today use a two-piece self-sealing lid which consists of a flat metal disc with a rubber-type sealing compound around one side near the outer edge, and a separate screw-type metal band. The flat lid may only be used once but the screw band can be used over as long as it is cleaned well and does not begin to rust.
Separate the leaves and rinse well, then blot dry and bunch them together. Wrap the head in a double layer of paper towel and store in a freezer bag in the crisper. The lettuce leaves will be more crisp than when you brought it home, and it will last a long time.