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?? re making marmalade safely

Steady Habits Jan 3, 2009 08:05 PM

It's been a long time since I made preserves, conserves, marmalade, etc.

Do I have to go through the whole boiling of jars routine, which always made me nervous (I'm clumsy), or is it good enough to run the jars through the elevated water temp cycle of my dishwasher?

If so, what do I do with them, afterwards? Just set them on a rack until filling?

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  1. ourhomeworks Jan 3, 2009 08:26 PM

    I always wash mine with hot, soapy water and then put them in a 250 degree oven on a cookie sheet covered with a clean kitchen towel. I leave them there until I'm ready to fill them. This is a safe, Master Food Preservers approved method.

    Be sure to put the filled jars in a boiling water batch canner. You should consult a tested marmalade recipe for time (it will probably be about 10 min)

    1 Reply
    1. re: ourhomeworks
      Steady Habits Jan 3, 2009 09:30 PM

      Thank you so much for your help. See how long its been? I didn't even recall about the oven step. I'm about to pull out my cookbooks (standards, trustworthy) and look for a recipe, so I'll check on the water bath. Thanks again.

    2. greedygirl Jan 4, 2009 12:08 AM

      Running them through the dishwasher will be fine. Just make sure the jars are still warm when you fill them.

      1. j
        jazzy77 Jan 4, 2009 08:51 PM

        I've got a batch of orange marmalde sitting on the stove right now.... I'm using the recipe in "Barefoot Contessa at Home."

        I run my jars through the dishwaster than then boil them with the rest of the things I'll be using to can with. I don't have a proper canning "set up" but have no problem using what I have (i.e., tongs, a pasta pot with lid, and a steamer basket) for the small batches of preserves that I make. Nevertheless, I try to make sure that everything that will touch the jars gets some time in boiling water. I place the jars on a cookie sheet covered with a kitchen towel and fill as soon as possible.

        Interesting note here, Ina's recipe doesn't say anything about canning, but just assumes that the heat will seal the lids on the jars (she doesn't even invert the jars). However, I found an interesting article by UC Davis (http://homeorchard.ucdavis.edu/8199.pdf , pg. 9). It's says to process for 5 minutes, but even that seems low.

        4 Replies
        1. re: jazzy77
          greedygirl Jan 4, 2009 11:48 PM

          We do things differently here in England. Here, I run the jars through the dishwasher to sterilise them (or place them in the oven), then simply fill with the preserve, pop a waxed disc on top to seal, then some cellophane secured with an elastic band, and finally a screw-on lid. Very easy and works fine.

          1. re: greedygirl
            JoanN Jan 5, 2009 05:05 AM

            Those waxed discs, or even pouring melted wax on top of the jam, are no longer recommended either on this side of the pond, although you'll still find not-that-old cookbooks with those instructions and a lot of people who always did it that way still do. Same issue as turning the jar upside down; there's no way to absolutely guarantee that the seal is a perfect one.

          2. re: jazzy77
            alkapal Jan 5, 2009 12:12 AM

            i thought processing was more for things that will go bad, like veggies. so much for my limited knowledge. isn't the sugar a natural preservative?

            1. re: jazzy77
              JoanN Jan 5, 2009 05:01 AM

              Inverting the jars to ensure a seal is not (or perhaps I should say, no longer) a recommended practice. The concern is that if the seal is not already tight before you turn the jar upside down, a bit of liquid might leak between the seal and the rim of the jar allowing bacteria to enter. If you already have a good seal, turning the jar upside down won't hurt. But if you don't, you could be lured into thinking that you do.

            2. j
              jazzy77 Jan 5, 2009 01:55 PM

              Okay, so I just pulled the last jars out of the water bath. I use 8 oz. Ball jars for my preserves and processed them in the water bath for eight minutes. All but the last batch have sealed already, so I am optmistic all is well.

              Also, I put my jars through the dishwasher and kept them hot in the oven on a cookie sheet (thanks ourhomeworks) until I was ready for them. I put the rings through the dishwasher too, and washed the lids in hot soapy water.

              6 Replies
              1. re: jazzy77
                JoanN Jan 5, 2009 02:14 PM

                Congratulations! Sounds good. I'm sure if the first batches sealed, the last ones will as well. I was surprised to read recently that it can take as long as 12 hours for the jars to seal properly, so don't give up on them if they don't seal as quickly as the others. That hasn't happened to me, but it's good to keep in mind just in case.

                1. re: JoanN
                  Steady Habits Jan 5, 2009 11:00 PM

                  Joan, your discussing with jazzy raises another question, for me. (I should note I've made preserves/conserves maybe five times in my life, two or three times with someone more experienced, a couple of times on my own.)

                  The people I know who've made them (and hence, showed me)--two older ladies, in particular--have used "re-cycled" jars they've saved from other foods. They use Ball or Mason jars for preserving veggies, fruits, etc., but I've never seen them buy those when making preserves, marmalade, etc.

                  Is that a bad thing, to use jars that other products came in, as long as the jars are sterilized?

                  1. re: Steady Habits
                    alkapal Jan 6, 2009 04:34 AM

                    well, "not joanN" here, but, imo, glass is glass, and i've seen them "recycled" from veggie to marmalade. (although some glass can take on an odor from strong-smelling contents. for this probem i had recently, i poured in baking soda and vinegar, put the lid on and shook it, then let it sit. it cleaned the odor!) <edit to clarify: i'm talking about recycling proper canning jars, not those from glass-packed commercial products....>

                    but usually, we've put marmalades in "prettier jars" for gift giving and not just utilitarian usage. that *may* account for your experience. my sister used the quilted ball jars for her special guava jelly..... http://www.freshpreserving.com/pages/...

                    i just know for sure that you use new seals every time.

                    1. re: Steady Habits
                      JoanN Jan 6, 2009 04:54 AM

                      When I first became interested in making jams and marmalades in the mid-70s, my sources were the ’75 edition of “The Joy of Cooking” and the first edition of “Putting Food By.” Both books have instructions for sealing jellies with paraffin. It was common practice at the time. But a lot of things that were in common practice in the kitchen even as recently as 25 years ago are no longer recommended.

                      And recycling commercial jars, whether you sterilize them or not, is one of them. When people were sealing jars with paraffin, it didn’t much matter whether or not the jar could be sterilized, boiled, or withstand the pressure of pressure canning. Since the jar wasn’t being processed, it didn’t matter if it didn’t comply with USDA standards. Non-dedicated jars may be too fragile, not sufficiently heat-tempered, or too bulky for the safe processing of some foods, so as a general rule of thumb, if you want to be in compliance with recommendations for modern canning practices, you should not can in any jar not specifically manufactured for that purpose.

                      1. re: JoanN
                        alkapal Jan 6, 2009 04:57 AM

                        joanN, you read carefully (unlike me!) that steady habits was asking about recycled jars from other non-canning-jar-packed foods. i agree with you 100%-- only "recycle" proper canning jars.

                        1. re: JoanN
                          Steady Habits Jan 6, 2009 07:51 AM

                          Thank you both, Joan and alkapal.

                          Exactly my problem. Any general cookbook I have that discusses jellymaking, etc., is from that late 70s/early 80s era. No point in consulting them now on the packaging or processing. I didn't die from my previous forays into preserve making, but, then again, I didn't die when I accidentally ran that stop sign. That doesn't mean I ever want to chance it again. Especially with all the sugars available for those little creatures to feast on. Thank you both!

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