I am brand new to this board... As well as brand new to the world of canning (at least by myself). My mother used to can anything and everything and I would "help" her! She has passed away or else I'd be asking her because to be honest she was the Queen of Canning! I still have some of the food that she canned and I'm trying to sort through what is still edible and what must be discarded.
I'm hoping that someone will be able to answer a couple of questions: 1) There are Dill Pickles, Pickled Beets, Stewed Tomatoes, and various types of Hot Peppers, Relishes and Jams left - my question is how long are these types of canned foods edible for, assuming they haven't become unsealed? and 2) If stewed tomatoes have become unsealed and gone bad, are you able to re-use the mason jar, for some reason I remember her telling me that if tomatoes had gone bad you shouldn't re-use the jars... is this true?
Thank you in advance!
1) Depends on your tastebuds, never longer than two years on vinegar preserved products, oil preserving (now that we know what we know) shouldn't really be done, sugar preserving usually about a year.
2) Just make sure you sanitize those jars really good. Boiling water isn't actually the best for sanitizing jars, steam or oven are best as you can get them to a temperature high enough to ensure that NOTHING lives on them. Water only goes to 212 at most and honestly it won't always kill all the bugs (most, 99.99999 %). That may seem like a lot but when you are talking a few billion bacteria or more on a jar that still leaves a considerable number alive.
Canning is relatively safe if you follow the necessary guidelines. Enjoy.
1) I only go up to a year, two years at most for some. Pickles, especially dills, and pickled hot peppers become unpleasantly soft after a year.
2) I always wash, sterilize and reuse undamaged jars. Never reuse lids.
The Bernardin "Mason" Jar website has good info :
Certo Liquid Pectin also has excellent recipes in each box if you are using pectin to make jam. Add a little finely diced hot red chili to their Blueberry Jam Recipe (use wild berries, available now), and you too will be hailed Queen...