CANNING FOODS-Is it Spoiled Yet?

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    ReadyMom
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    @alaska Rose wrote:

    Yes, if the jar shows any sign of failed seals, leaking, etc. please be sure to dispose of the contents safely. Botulism can kill animals and birds as well as humans. Usually the only way to have to worry about botulism is unclean canning practices and handling the jars so badly that you have broken the seals after canning. Always make sur eyou have followed directions for the amount of time required and the amount of pressure required for the foods being canned. If you have mixed the contents of the jar or canner, time and pressure for the item requiring the longest time and highest preassure.

    I was taking an inventory of my preps. I just found a home-canned corn jar that has a popped up seal and the corn is changing color. I have NOT opened the jar. Now I need to dispose of the contents ‘safely’.

    I found this:


    http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles/case66.html” onclick=”window.open(this.href);return false

    Disposing of spoiled food

    Every home canner will occasionally have jars that spoil on the shelf. The need for safety here can’t be overemphasized. The organisms that spoil canned food are uniformly poisonous to humans, especially in the quantity present in a bad jar of canned food.

    The most potent spoilage organism in low-acid foods is botulism, which produces a powerful neurotoxin that will shut down your nervous system. Low-acid foods that have spoiled should be disposed of with the utmost caution because he botulism toxin can be absorbed through the skin. I’m going to detail the most cautious handling methods I know.

    First, when you find a spoiled jar, put it down immediately and wash your hands. Prepare a sanitizing solution of ¾ tsp. bleach to 1 cup of water, preferably in a spray bottle. Sanitize your hands with this solution and then put on rubber gloves. Now you can dispose of the spoiled food one of these three ways:

    Disposal method 1: Put the jar in a heavy plastic bag, twist the bag shut, turn the bag inside-out to cover the jar with a second layer of plastic, and securely seal it shut. Then send the whole shebang off to the local dump. Use the sanitizing solution and a paper towel to clean up any dribbles or splatters, including on the shelf where the jar was stored and on the sides of the surrounding jars. Then wash and sanitize your rubber gloves while still wearing them.

    Using this method, you’ll lose your canning jar, but this is often the best way to handle the situation.

    Disposal method 2: Put the jar in a plastic bag, and take it to the bathroom. Carefully open the jar over the toilet and pour its contents into the bowl, flushing several times. Put the jar back into the bag, and carefully clean both your rubber gloves with your sanitizing solution. Use the same solution to clean the toilet, which may have gotten splattered with canning liquid. Then take the bag with its jar and soak it in more sanitizing solution (a ratio of 1/8 cup of bleach to each gallon of water). After 15 minutes or so, drain and dispose of the bag, and wash the jar.

    Disposal method 3: Put the jar in a plastic bag and take it outside. Dig a deep hole (2 feet or more) and bury the contents. Clean the jar and your gloves as described above.

    This last method has at least two major drawbacks. First, conditions may exist such that you may not be able to get outside and dig the hole right away (such as with frozen ground). Second, a determined animal may still be able to dig up your buried jar. If the animal gets any of the spoiled food on its fur the botulism toxins can be easily transferred to other surfaces. In the case of a pet, this is a real danger to humans who pet it. For this reason, spoiled canned food should never be composted or put into a worm box, either.

    This would be a good moment to discuss a common attitude about food preservation: “My grandmother (or whoever) always did it this way, and she never had any spoilage. Why should I do it any differently?”

    Whenever I’m asked this question, I reply that, aside from the new, low-acid foods, I know of three possible reasons why you shouldn’t do it the way Grandma did:

    The first is that Grandma probably didn’t live in a house that was well insulated and centrally heated. The warmest spot in her house was near the wood stove, and the farther away from the stove you got, the colder it was. Her storage space (a pantry, basement, or root cellar) was probably in a cold area that stayed just above freezing during the winter. Grandma’s canned goods were, in effect, refrigerated, and that contributed mightily to their keeping value.

    A second possible reason is that, prior to World War II, people were less likely to amass canned food reserves in excess of a year’s needs. The more primitive, labor-intensive gardening methods, as well as the lack of well-paid, year-round employment, meant that most people did not have their home-canned food last them all the way until the next harvest.

    A third, less pleasant reason is that because botulism is odorless, colorless, and tasteless, many people probably succumbed to it without anyone knowing what had made them sick. Today we often take for granted the technology that can pinpoint the cause of an illness. Even a generation ago, food poisoning often went undiagnosed, or was mistaken for something else.

    Canning is a fine home craft. Keeping a balanced assortment of home-preserved foods in your pantry gives you a wonderful sense of security and accomplishment. Best wishes to everyone who gives it a try.

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