Food Items That Should Not be Canned for Long-Term Storage
Canning is a time-honored and incredibly practical way to store numerous types of food. It is also an integral component of any long-term SHTF preparation strategy. However, there are certain foods that should be kept out of canning recipes in order to avoid rancidity, spoilage and the potential for contracting food borne illnesses. Let’s take a look at some basic guidelines that will help to ensure that you are maintaining a safe food supply.
Foods that are low in pH do not make good storage items. Bacteria and other microorganisms thrive in low-acid environments, and this is one reason that products containing ingredients that are low in acid either need to be refrigerated or have a short shelf life. Unfortunately, a wide-range of foods are considered to fall in the low acidic range, and many are mixed with highly acidic foods in the form of tasty recipes. It is important to avoid packing and storing or mixing these items with other recipes to ensure that your long-term food supply doesn’t become tainted.
Dairy and Eggs
Dairy items as well as eggs are some of the worst possible ingredients to store over the long-term. This is why so many products on store shelves have a lot of preservatives in them, require refrigeration or have a very short shelf life. While there is an exception when it comes to canning pickled eggs, most dairy products, including yogurt and cheese are off limits. Never process recipes that include these items, and remember that the only way to safely store many dairy products and eggs is via dehydration. Two common examples include powdered milk and eggs.
Believe it or not, it is not a good idea to process recipes that contain oats, wheat or flour, including pastas, for a couple of reasons. First, their chemical structure blocks heat transfer during processing and bacterial growth can still occur once the jars are sealed. Second, processing degrades the quality, texture and taste of these items as well. You never want to mix these items with any other foods and store them. However, it is completely acceptable to keep them in dry storage and mix them with canned goods when you are preparing them for meals.
Most meats are not able to be canned due to their moisture, protein and fat content. Some fish can be preserved, but only a certain type of meaty and low-fat species such as salmon, trout and mackerel. Meats will quickly grow rancid and spoil as bacterial growth occurs even while the processing is underway. Avoid canning recipes that include meats, poultry or seafood, even if they are fully cooked, and avoid using meat gravy and juices as well.
Certain vegetables, especially ones that are low in acid content should not be canned. These include tomato sauces, broccoli, cauliflower, most squashes, mashed potatoes, avocados and other meaty, flowery or starchy vegetables. One of the problems with canning these types of vegetables is that they will be cooked into oblivion long before the processing is complete, and this will reduce their nutritional qualities as well as their taste. However, it is possible to process whole or chunks of potatoes and some squash if they are not cooked.
These are some basic examples of items to avoid, and it may seem like a lot. However, there are still limitless possibilities when it comes to what foods can safely be preserved. Make sure that you double check recipes to ensure that you are not including these and other similar ingredients to avoid unintentional contamination. It is incredibly important that you take great care to ensure that your food storage supplies are safe and processed to retain their freshness for as long as possible.