Canning in The Oven
In Italian Two Easy, Rose Gray has a recipe for simple tomato sauce. As a footnote, she recommends sealing the jars and putting them in a water bath in the oven at 400 F for 20 minutes. I was very intrigued by this technique and tried it today. So far, only one of the seals is set. I'm wondering if anyone is familiar with this way of canning. I also read on-line someone burning their face and neck because of an exploding jar during a canning session and got freaked out. Did I put myself at risk by trying this method?
Did I put myself at risk by trying this method?
In a word, YES! Unless all the sauce you made has not been refrigerated it should be discarded.
If the sauce only has tomatoes and has added acid, a boiling water bath should be fine. If it has other added ingredients (onions and peppers, for instance) the sauce MUST be processed in a pressure canner.
If it was refrigerated you can rescue it by putting it all in a kettle and boiling it for 10 minutes, putting it in freshly sterilized jars, sealed with NEW lids, and processing the jars in a boiling water bath...Pints 35 minutes, Quarts 40 minutes.
The only two USDA approved methods of canning tomatoes are boiling water bath or pressure canning. The purpose of processing is to thoroughly heat the contents of all the jars completely through to kill any nasty microbes, especially botulism. In the oven the water isn't kept boiling, so the temperature is not maintained. This puts the food at risk of underprocessing...a risk I am not willing to take.
As for the exploding jars you read about, this can happen if you don't use jars designed for home canning. Even tho some pasta sauce jars look like canning jars, they are not the same as home canning jars and shouldn't be used.
Home canning can be very rewarding, but it must be done correctly or you or your loved ones could wake up dead.
I have mentioned this in other canning threads, but it bears repeating. I am not a go-by-the-book person, but when it comes to canning I have religiously gone by the book for over 25 years. I suggest you do to.
I haven't tried it, and won't. It does seem slightly higher risk if a jar breaks - when a jar goes in the water bath canner, I can't even tell till I take the lid off. And I doubt the temperature is as even if you're not totally submerging the jars.
More importantly, I've water bathed enough custards and such that I KNOW water in the oven is dangerous - pull out a rack with boiling hot water on it and see. No, wait, DON'T.
Why on earth not just invest in a cheap pot and a jar lifter and do it the right way? You can do tomatoes in a water bath canner. And you won't have to worry about making people sick.