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Aug 2, 2010 06:56 PM

Question RE pressure canning untested mango BBQ sauce recipe

Hi all you canners! Down here in Miami this time of year, we have mangos by the truck load! I have a very large tree that normally produces literally hundreds of huge mangos each year. I enjoy making homemade gifts and usually put up quite a number of various mango jams, salsas and such - probably about 60+ pts last summer just in mangos. I have been using tested/published recipes and a waterbath canner.

Maybe 10 years ago when I first started canning mangos I wanted to can a mango BBQ sauce from a simply AMAZING recipe. At that time I had called the Ball Blue Book hotline for guidance on processing times and was told to can my recipe in a BWB for 20 mins. I hadn't made the BBQ sauce for several years and last year decided to make it again. I had a problem with siphoning and wrote to the National Center for Home Food Preservation and the Univ of GA for help. I was then told I should NOT can my BBQ sauce recipe in a BWB since it is untested and contains olive oil, onions and fresh basil. I tried to find out about pressure canning it, but could not get an "OK". I even looked into getting the recipe lab tested but the cost was something like $5,000! This recipe is so delicious, I half considered/fantasized about trying to find the money if I could!

I have looked high and low, and cannot find one single published/tested mango BBQ sauce recipe of any sort. There are several peach BBQ sauce recipes, and I have even written to Ball and "So Easy to Preserve" to see if I could sub mangos for peaches, but they refuse to say it's OK. I threw the entire huge batch of mango BBQ sauce I made last year out rather than risk the slightest thought that I could make someone sick.

So, here is my question for you experience canners (thanks for sticking with me this long!):
Would it be safe to can this recipe using a pressure canner? I am buying a pressure canner and researching canning times for similar things such as thick soup, chili, tomato sauce, etc..

Here is the recipe (I usually quadruple the amounts):

Randy's Mango Barbeque Salsa

4 TBL olive oil
1 lg onion, chopped
2 clove garlic, minced
1/2 C orange juice
2 TBL black pepper
1 1/4 C white vinegar
2 TBL dark brown sugar
1 TBL Hungarian hot paprika
1 28-oz can peeled plum tomatoes
2 mangos, peeled, pitted and cubed
2 TBL granulated sugar
8 TBL Dijon mustard
1/2 C molasses
1 TBL chili powder
2 TBL teriyaki sauce
2 TBL Worcestershire sauce
2 TBL tamari sauce
1/2 C chopped fresh basil
1 TBL freshly toasted and ground cumin seeds

Heat a large, heavy saucepan to a moderate warm temp and add the olive oil and onions. Stir. Allow onions to caramelized on the edges (about 5 min). Add garlic and stir for one min. Add all of the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat and allow to simmer for about two hours, stirring occasionally (make sure it doesn't stick/burn). Carefully puree in a blender or food processor. Yield 1 1/2 qts (I think it actually yields more than this).

Any advice you have is greatly appreciated! If nothing else, I hope you try the recipe. I got it out of The Miami Herald in 1996 and it's absolutely delicious!


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  1. Since the NCHFP did not specifically say you can't pressure can your bbq sauce, by default I would say you can; most tomato based bbq sauces can be BWC with the addition of an acid to lower the pH. But that doesn't negate the safety issues. The canning websites I use and trust state without fear that bbq sauce can be BWC or pressure canned, depending on the ingredients. The olive oil and possibly the basil in your recipe would make me want to pressure can your recipe. The mango, a high acid fruit, and the onions are not an issue.

    You can modify your recipe to exclude the olive oil. Normally with sauces and salsas that are meant to be canned, all the ingredients in the sauce are combined and simmered; the onion sweating step is not necessary and I doubt whether the little bit of flavor you get from the caramelization is going to be missed in the complex sauce. I suspect that step was written into the recipe without considering that the bbq sauce would be processed for canning by someone; rather, just jarred and kept in the frig.

    Have you checked you bbq sauce for pH? Most chain drugstores carry pH strips. Anything lower than 4.6 is fine for BWC, above that is pressure canner material. Knowing your sauce pH does not change the fact that olive oil and basil are present in your recipe. I would check the pH, just for curiosity's sake, remove the olive oil from the mix, and pressure can the sauce to your heart's content.

    2 Replies
    1. re: bushwickgirl

      Thanks so much for your reply! Can you tell me what canning websites you like?

      I think mangos are sort of in the tomato range in terms of acid (a bit on the fence), which is why they've told me I can't sub in mangos in place of peaches in recipes. With all the extra acid in the recipe I would think it's okay, but I will definitely try to get a pH strip to see if I can get a better idea. I think your advice to remove the oil is a good suggestion. But, I have seen a few approved/tested recipes for pressure canning that contain up to 1/3 cup oil.

      Thanks again!

      1. re: FoodieFrannie

        Between the orange juice and the vinegar you've got 1 3/4 cups of added acid in there plus some of the other ingredients are acidic, and roughly 5 oz of added sugar. If you want to cut down on the oil you could probably sweat the onions in half or less than the amount called for. I don't think I'd be concerned about the basil. I'd say you can definitely pressure can this. In fact, the Ball book of Home Preserving has a recipe for Two-In-One bbq sauce on pg 262 that has many of the same ingredients listed as yours. It's tomato based, has no oil and is water bath canned in pints for 20 minutes. If you can determine the acidity of mangoes as compared to tomatoes, you can probably water bath it sans oil. Just start your onions going with a bit of water.