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Jun 22, 2010 02:15 PM

Canners - Can jfood use a pressure canner for Bolognese Sauce?

Looking to buy a pressure canner and want to make sure jfood would like to make sure he can use to can Hazan's Bolognese Sauce.

Any guidance is greatly appreciated.


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  1. You MUST use a pressure canner for this, to be able to bring the temp of the sauce up to 240°.

    So shop happily for your new pressure canner.

    Info link for canning pressure and timing, FYI; pay no attention to the sauce recipe:

    1 Reply
    1. re: bushwickgirl

      Thanks B. Jfood knew it was not safe in a water canner but want to make sure he is reading the literature correctly for the pressure version.

    2. Okay, started this once and it disappeared into cyberspace. Take two:

      I'm virtually certain that the pH of that sauce exceeds 4.6, so if you're going to can it, pressure-canning is a must. The next question is how to obtain the best results.

      I've made the sauce a number of times, and it really isn't possible to overcook it. So one option would be to cook it fully, put it in jars, and then process them. It would be quicker and simpler to cook the sauce in the jars, but I think you'd lose a lot of the goodness that comes from slow cooking and evaporation.

      Since I started, you've made another post talking about "the literature"; are you referring to a pressure-canning recipe for this particular sauce, or for sauces in general?

      Finally (okay, this is completely disorganized, but who needs structure anyway?) what size canner are you planning to get? A 16-quart is ideal if you're just going to be using quart jars (avoid Mirro - they apparently changed the dimensions so that you can't always fit seven quart jars inside), but if you're going to be using pints, consider a 23-quart - same diameter, but with enough extra height that you can stack the jars two high.

      9 Replies
      1. re: alanbarnes


        "the literature" is the fear of God that the jfood will wind up on a CSI episode and the detectives conclude stupidity was the cause of death. Insert laughing posters here.

        Jfood has always canned his tomato sauce in quarts and he winds up with jars in the fridge so he was thinking pints for this adventure so he has indivisual portions.

        He was thinking of the Presto 23-Quart version but it only has "holder downers at each end of the equator while others have up to six screw downs.

        Is it safe to only hve the 2 holderdowners?

        1. re: jfood

          The one in the link you sent looks just like mine (but mine is much, much older). I think you would be fine. I used to grow all my own veggies when I lived on our farm - If you grow it, I would can it. Including meats! So your sauce should be fine. Mine is also a 23 Qt.

          1. re: jfood

            Those aren't holderdowners, they're just handles. The lid screws down about a quarter-turn against a rubber (silicone?) gasket, and is held on all the way around.

            The gasketless pressure cookers are the ones with umpteen holderdowners. They have a metal-to-metal seal, which is harder to maintain. And it only matters if you're planning to do pressure-frying (the gasket is susceptible to damage from the hot oil). Of course, if you were to start broasting chicken, you might become the most popular guy in the neighborhood...

            1. re: alanbarnes

              Information on canning chili con carne, which is pretty similar to Bolognese, grosso modo.

              I see that they warn against thickening the chili--appears as though the viscosity of the food influences the effectiveness of processing in the pressure canner--it can result in "cold" spots that can escape the heat required to kill botulism bacteria. I guess the question is "Is Hazan's Bolognese thick enough that this could be a factor?" Hard to tell...doubt anyone has tested this. I think I will stick to freezing my Bolognese...

              1. re: zamorski

                Similar information for canning pasta sauce with meat. More tomatoes, no milk, but the same basic idea.

                  1. re: jfood

                    I know you like to freeze it with the foodsaver but have you tried using the special glass jars from Ball that you can freeze? ACE hardware carries it and they have different sizes. I use the pint size to freeze the raw ground chicken I use for cat food.

                    1. re: walker

                      jfood lost a fair amount last March with a blackout that lasted five days.

        2. Absolutely you can pressure can Hazan's sauce. I've done it, we've eaten several jars of it, and I'm not on CSI. You can read about it on this thread: My detailed experience with this recipe is toard the bottom of the thread. I add a touch of wine to it when reheating it on the stove to loosen it up a bit.

          9 Replies
          1. re: morwen

            great report on the other thread. Thanks M

            1. re: jfood

              Yes, it is, very helpful. Jfood, from morwen's post, just in case you don't know this, "siphoned' means leaked (from under the lid) in canning speak. If you do know, please excuse.

              Pressure canning will open up whole new world for you. I wish you great success with this project.

              1. re: bushwickgirl

                Thanks B, did not know the exact term but got to the finish line.

                Jfood has been canning tomato sauce for a couple of years, Guess he has been lucky in that he has not suffered any siphoning on the water bath method yet.

            2. re: morwen

              morwen, thanks for exhuming that thread. I'm the one who had the overcooked results. I have eaten two jars of my preserved ragu' since I wrote that post, and aside from the slight overcooked 'aroma' mostly (from the residue on the inside of what must have been super-heated lids) it was fine. I'm still alive!!

              I love the idea that it just sits there now with no maintenance, for when I feel like some hearty pasta with little work; no juggling stuff in the freezer and easier to label.

              I did a batch of spicy eggplant caponata recently, and used the advice I received on that previous thread to limit siphoning by keeping the cooking temp/pressure as constant as possible. This time the food came out fine with no apparent over-cooking (thanks, Chowhounds!).

              I scored many pounds of regular mushrooms that were priced for quick sale and I made 6x the recipe for Hazan's mushroom sauce (from "More Classic Italian Cooking") with 1/2 of the butter, and put it up in v. small jars (150ml) that translate to about 4 servings each, using timing for mushrooms in pints. It came out fine as well. I gathered all the frozen chicken/beef broths out of my freezer, boiled them up, and canned them, too, in the pressure canner.

              I've been keeping a notebook as I go along, so that I can record how many jars a certain recipe ends up filling. I had gotten the biggest canner around, but I find it so potentially useful that I might get one half the size, so that I don't use so much energy in heating it up if what I'm making can't fill it. Ideally I would always fill the canner to capacity, but sometimes I'll be limited by ingredient availability. Another aspect that makes it hard to optimize is that some jars have different shapes, and you'll have to figure out how they fit in your particular canner. (For example, for my broth I bought one-liter bottles which cost a little less than the one-liter wide-neck jars, but are narrower and taller).

              I would also love to try pressure-canning things that are usually done in a water bath, only because (even with the long time it takes to heat up) heating up that volume of water would be even longer (as opposed to the inch or two used in pressure-canning). Problem is that recipes and tables seem to be exclusively one or the other: in the cookbook that came with my pressure canner (All-American) the only 'crossover' pressure-canning times given are for raw tomatoes, no other traditionally water-bath-canned food.

              1. re: lidia

                I haven't found many crossover recipes either but I find I'm increasingly using my Creuset dutch oven for small batch canning. I zip tied unusable small mouth canning rings together to make a rack for the bottom and it easily holds half pint and 4 oz jars. I usually do jams, jellies, salsas, chutneys in there. For small batches of pints and quarts I use my taller stockpot which is considerably smaller than my water bath in volume of water it holds. Again I use the zip tied ring rack. I don't expect to have to break out the giant water bath until the tomatoes come in. Marisa over at the Food in Jars blog recently discovered an asparagus steamer works great for small batch canning as well. As long as you are able to get at least an inch of water at a full boil above the top of the jars any pot with a lid should work.
                I think for high acid foods with delicate flavors or where maintaining crispy texture or fresh taste is paramount the water bath is the way to go. I think the higher heat and times in a pressure cooker might destroy those qualities.

                Glad to hear you've taken to pressure canning! I had the lesson driven home recently. I had taken a lot of frozen items from our spare fridge freezer compartment and pressure canned them to make way for new incoming stuff. A few days ago I went out to get one of the last casseroles in there only to discover the power was out! Something had tripped (for no reason we could find) the ground fault that both the chest freezer and the spare fridge is on. Luckily I only lost a few casseroles, about a pound of herb butter and a little container of freezer jam. The chest freezer contents were still solid so it must not have been off for long. This year everything that can be canned or dehydrated will be!

                1. re: morwen

                  I love to cook and I love to preserve. I am having problems pressure canning my tomato sauce. I live at 3900 feet. My sauce has onions, garlic and olive oil which I believe lowers the acid so I pressure can. I increased the pressure from 11 pounds to 12-13 pounds as indicated in my presto booklet and added more time for a total of 15 minutes for quarts. As has happened in the past, I lost liquid from the jars and 1 didn't seal at all. The other 3 had lids that were sucked down but when using the tapping with a spoon method to check for a seal, one sounded dull. I decided to open the jars to check if they were sealed and even the one with the dull sound was sealed tightly. To be safe, I poured them into a large heavy bottom pot and am boiling the sauce. This really drives me crazy, I don't have time to deal with these problems as my tomato crop is going strong and I need to "get canning". What am I doing wrong? I left an inch of head space and followed all other directions carefully. I have been freezing instead because I would hate to poison anyone. Trouble with freezing is it makes it hard to give my goodies to my daughters who live 2 hrs and 10 hrs away from me. I really need some suggestions as I make a killer (not literally I hope) roasted tomato sauce and everyone who eats it wants some. Thanks for any suggestions.

                  1. re: Suzarooze

                    You are correct to pressure can your sauce since it contains olive oil. Sounds like your poundage and times are correct. Loss of some of the liquid is called siphoning and is a pretty common occurrence. I can leave a generous inch and still have jars of sauce siphon. If, after your jars are cool, you can remove the rings and lift them by the lids alone you have a good seal. It's not uncommon for me to find I have a jar that didn't seal during pressure canning. Don't know why that is, since I rarely have a seal fail when water bathing. I just reheat the contents of that jar, put it in a clean jar with a new lid and run it through the pressure canner again. Not only is real estate in our limited freezer space valuable but my son really likes care packages from home too so I try to do as much shelf stable preserving as possible.

                    1. re: morwen

                      Thanks, I just hate having to do things twice. The jars of sauce that I opened to check the seal became chili. I recooked it for about 45 min just in case then turned it into chili, with our weather right now it was a good choice. You have given me the confidence to try again, thanks.

                      1. re: Suzarooze

                        Suzarooze, even on the rare chance that there is botulism in your canned food, the harmful toxin can be destroyed by emptying the food in a saucepan and boiling it for 15-20 minutes, according to what I have read.

            3. Jfood, did you end up canning the sauce? how did go and how would you compare it reheated vs frozen bolognese reheated.

              15 Replies
              1. re: cassoulady

                Good question....Biscuitboy is curious too

                1. re: cassoulady

                  Canner is still in the Amazon box (insert hanging head) as the summer weekend weather trumped the indoor cooking. Jfood did water bath some salsa and peeled tomatoes, though.

                  On tap for when the weather turns is the MH bolognese though. Jfood will definitely report back when it is prepared as well as when he reheats.

                  1. re: jfood

                    is the impetus to can the bolognese raher than freeze an issue an of freezer space or are there other benefits?

                    1. re: cassoulady

                      last March there was a major power outage and jfood was out of town. the freezer in the basement is not connected to the generator and jfood lost all the frozen food.

                      likewise jfood wants to gve some to little jfood, whose freezer does not have the space.

                      1. re: jfood

                        makes total sense. good luck with it. I have only canned pickles so I am not much of a resource.

                        1. re: cassoulady

                          For canning questions, I think you should always refer to your Ball Blue Canning Book, or go here: This is Ball's site.

                    2. re: jfood

                      I'm down from 8qts of the MH Bolognese canned in March to 3qts left in the cupboard. I'm thrilled with the way it reheats. I do have to add a little liquid to loosen it up (a touch of red wine or a little water). My reason for going shelf-stable is the same as yours - power outage freezer scare - plus there's other things that simply can't be canned that merit the freezer space.

                      1. re: morwen


                        jfood is thrilled you did the MH sauce. He was thinking og reducing the final simmer by 30 minutes and then place in the jars and can. Thoughts?

                        Likewise...what pressure time did you do with the canning? pints or quarts?


                        1. re: jfood

                          I think that's about the amount of time I reduced the final simmer. I left it a good bit more moist than it would normally be if serving it directly from the pot. I did bring it back up to a near boil, stirring all the while, before putting it in the jars. Leave a very generous 1" head space. Wipe the rims with vinegar to make sure there's no spots of grease before putting lids on.

                          I pressure canned at 12# pressure for my altitude (10# @ sea level) for 90 minutes for quarts. I followed the Ball Book of Home Preserving recommendation for pressure canning ground beef for the time. It recommends 75 minutes for pints. Of course the sauce is going to continue cooking while it's pressure canning and even though you would think there's no place for it to evaporate to, the meat must have absorbed more of the moisture because I do have to add a little wine or water when reheating.

                          Definitely leave the jars sit undisturbed after processing for as long as it takes to cool completely. Those puppies stay wicked hot for a long time and you can see bubbles moving in them for a good while after pulling them from the canner! Also, the sauce contracts a bit in the jars as it cools so the jars look like they weren't filled enough. No worries, they're full.

                          I had two seals fail out of eight and I think it was because those jars had a scant 1" of head space. I reheated the sauce, put it back into clean jars, used new lids and reprocessed it and they came out fine.

                          1. re: morwen

                            morwen, thanks for your continued, detailed, contributions to this topic. I think they encourage everyone and give us confidence.

                            I just had the occasion to use one of my ragu jars that I canned last spring for an "emergency" impromptu meal. It was just the same as when I had first put it up. Haven't been eating much ragu in the summertime but with the fall coming they will be gone through quickly and it'll be time for a new batch adjusted according to some of your suggestions; it's a good cold-weather activity.

                            1. re: lidia

                              You're welcome! Sometimes lately I feel my generation (I'm 53) was the beginning of Big Food's/Big Ag's experiment on the population with processed foods, GM seeds and animals, monoculture, pesticides, and fertilizers. While I wasn't a back-to-nature homesteader or hippie radical in the 70's, I was definitely influenced by those movements and just beginning my career in kitchens. In the 80's I had my son and was determined to feed him the best food I could afford and that got me canning. Each year more stuff came out of my garden and from local farms into my pantry. Now the whole grocery store food scene is just downright scary to me so anything I can do to encourage people to grow, buy local, and prepare/preserve their own is one of my priorities. It really isn't difficult and is actually fun (most of the time)! I figure if someone puts up just one batch of sauce or jam and then enjoys it in winter, progress is made and a seed has been planted.
                              Contact your local cooperative extension service and see if they offer the Master Food Volunteer/Preserver program. It's free in return for a few volunteer hours and well worth the time. You'll learn all kinds of things about food preservation and safety. If they don't offer it, lobby for it. Tell others of like mind to contact the office. They'll offer it if they have enough interest to run it.

                              1. re: morwen

                                I also wanted to tell you, Morwen and jfood, how encouraged I am by this thread. I am a new-all-over-again canner, having grown up in a rural area where the canning of everything from moose meat to partridgeberry jam was the way you ate in winter.

                                As a young person, I left all that behind when I left for university and the city...and, I am ashamed to admit, even scoffed at those old-fashioned ways.

                                Now my newly married daughter and I are re-discovering these joys. So far rhubarb chutney, crabapple jelly, blueberry preserves, stawberry jam, apple syrup, tomatoes by the gallon and spiced onions have all been successfully canned.

                                But thanks to you folks, next year its a processor and there will be no stopping us!!

                      2. re: jfood

                        I'm interested to know which pressure canner you purchased. My husband bought me a 10 liter (just over 4.5 quart) pressure cooker/canner and I've been toying around with PCing a batch of pasta sauce in pints. Problem is, the PC can only do a few at a time (4 or so) so this would take a long time.

                        Was going to also PC gumbo and chili after doing pasta sauce. I have the Ball book of canning as well and find it very helpful! I WB salsa all the time and am looking to expand.

                          1. re: morwen

                            the link doesn't seem to be working. Here's the link to the homepage:

                            Scroll down and click on the image for Presto pressure canner kits. Below it is a link to All American pressure canners, the Cadillac of pressure canners.

                    3. The USDA has a good guide on pressure canning that I refer to frequently.