Canning - oh boy, I don't think these are good

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Canning - oh boy, I don't think these are good

Post by zombieapocalypsegame » Sun Jan 17, 2016 4:13 pm

Hmmm. Not real happy with my canning at the moment.

I had my son cook up some rice 2 days ago from one of our mylar bags. Rice was great, although my son's cooking skill still needs some help from the Mrs.

I thought about adding in some carrots, celery and green pepper for flavoring, and thought it was a good time to try that out since they'd been in jars for over a year at this point.

I cracked open each one - and they all smelled very strong. Not in a rotting / sulphuric way, just very pungent. Especially the peppers. Each one still had its seal intact, all had been kept in a dark closet indoors. There was no moisture in the jars, either. The O2 absorbers were still mostly white, not discolored by absorbed oxygen.

The only thing that may have happened was too much heat during the summer. The house has been air conditioned, but we do try to keep the bill down by only running when it's hot. And remember this IS Texas.

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I couldn't in good conscience prepare them without double checking the situation.

What is the best means to tell if they're still OK to eat?

I tried re-hyrating them in water just as a test, but all I got was discolored water from the orange & green of the vegetables. They didn't change appreciably in size or texture after 10 minutes in warm water. I figured in soup or something like rice where there's a lot of water too would be the best way to reconstitute the dehydrated veggies, but at this rate I see the effort I put into canning is of little value.

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Re: Canning - oh boy, I don't think these are good

Post by Anianna » Mon Jan 18, 2016 11:06 pm

What was your process for canning these?
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Re: Canning - oh boy, I don't think these are good

Post by duodecima » Mon Jan 18, 2016 11:16 pm

I was confused for a sec - when somebody says "canning" I automatically think of water bath or pressure canning.

But I actually think you're probably OK with your dehydrated veggies. I think it's just color changes from some oxidation - which does NOT imply that your drying process was insufficient or unsafe.

I have also stored my dehydrated veggies and such (mostly peppers, also a little brown rice and sweet corn, some apples and strawberries) in mason jars altho I did NOT use oxygen absorbers. I think they're going on 3 years old now? They were experiments that I forgot to label. :oops: My only carrots were bought from the LDS, but I took pics of them as well. The can's been open about 6-9 months? and was sealed with oxy absorbers in 2013 I believe, And some of the carrot flakes have a brownish color to them like your carrots. They taste fine, bake up just fine when put in carrot muffins, nobody's gotten sick. I'm kinda assuming they were pretreated with something, and were cut thinner than yours to speed drying.

All of them have a reasonably intense smell when the jar is opened, including the carrots. Caveat - I have a relatively insensitive nose, so if I think they smell kinda strong other people probably notice it even more.

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I had a jar of red bell pepper slices that I used in a spaghetti sauce last summer (so about 2 years old then) - they were a very dull dark reddish brown when used, but tasted fine in the spaghetti sauce (they mostly disappeard into it and were mushy when rehydrated.) I think your green peppers look similar, except green darkening towards blackish instead of red to dark brown. These were banana peppers (yellow-green) - they're pretty dark yellow/brown now.

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The celery doesn't look bad to me but I haven't ever home dehydrated celery and I'm assuming the commercial stuff I bought was pretreated to hold color.

Oxidation and ripening doesn't just stop - unless something is pre-treated (blanching, dipping in lemon juice/acid/antioxidant) dehydrated food is apparently expected to discolor a bit (according to Canning&Preserving for Dummies, which is what I've been using for years). My apples got eaten a long time ago, but I did dip them in lemon juice and they were only a little bit brownish by 6 months. According to the book, the color change is cosmetic only and doesn't affect nutrition. The heat it was exposed to may be a bigger issue - according to the book temps of 80-90*F (as compared to less than 60*F) can shorten storage life by 65-75%). My stuff's been 60-80* in a basement where it's mostly dark.

As long as there was no mold, no moisture, and the food is still relatively dry/brittle in texture, I think I'd give it a try.

(Here's the corn and the brown rice, just for interest. The rice looks pretty unchanged, the corn is definitely a darker yellow/brown, and smells like the inside of a corn crib.)
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Re: Canning - oh boy, I don't think these are good

Post by zombieapocalypsegame » Wed Jan 20, 2016 10:29 pm

I appreciate the feedback. The jars I had were stinking up the kitchen, and I was getting more flak that it was worth so we tossed them outside. My wife has a bird feeder out there (that has also been feeding squirrels, raccoons and opossums) and within 2 days they were all eaten up. So they were EATEN but they didn't feed ME.

I have another jar of carrots and celery still sealed, so I'll try cooking those up with rice as I originally planned. At least a rice dish if it isn't edible won't be more than a few cents worth of ingredients down the drain.

For the record, I *did* in fact put all the veggies & fruits in a citric acid solution before dehydrating & jarring them. I have plenty of apples (green & red) that are FINE.

That said, I am not liking the looks of the orange, bananas, pineapple or cucumber slices. I'll post photos of those later this week.
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Re: Canning - oh boy, I don't think these are good

Post by duodecima » Wed Jan 20, 2016 11:17 pm

Hmm. Unless y'all have real sensitive noses "stinking up the kitchen" seems unexpected. I mean, I know I'm practically nose blind, but nobody's ever complained of mine being in the kitchen in jars.

I've got a lot less experience with dehydrating than with pressure canning, unfortunately, I look forward to your pics!
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Re: Canning - oh boy, I don't think these are good

Post by djinnifer » Mon Apr 18, 2016 4:58 pm

I do a lot of dehydrating. The color looks okay, but I kinda wonder about the smell you mentioned.

I do have one question about your method, did you let your product cool overnight before putting them in jars to seal them up? That's something I've always been told/heard I should do, and the few times I got in a rush and packaged things up without doing so... well nothing looked right and I just didn't trust it. Some of it was furry. The negative results depended on what the dehydrated item was, but every bit of it suffered some (presumably) negative results.
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Re: Canning - oh boy, I don't think these are good

Post by Stercutus » Mon Apr 18, 2016 6:54 pm

In the future I don't recommend feeding dehydrated veggie to birds
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Re: Canning - oh boy, I don't think these are good

Post by voyaginator » Fri Apr 22, 2016 4:42 pm

Yes, I agree the smell is not a good indicator. Most of the time (bad) smell with food points to bacterial growth, and most often associated with anaerobic bacteria. That should not be the case with properly dried food.

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Re: Canning - oh boy, I don't think these are good

Post by Mad Mike » Sun Apr 24, 2016 10:54 am

Stercutus wrote:In the future I don't recommend feeding dehydrated veggie to birds

Why is that? :?:

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Re: Canning - oh boy, I don't think these are good

Post by Dogan » Tue Apr 26, 2016 2:55 am

Mad Mike wrote:
Stercutus wrote:In the future I don't recommend feeding dehydrated veggie to birds

Why is that? :?:
Expansion within the digestive tract, same reason as some places ban throwing rice at weddings. They eat till they feel full, then they get more than full. Used to exploit the same effect myself, eat a few handfuls of banana chips then drink a glass of water. Boom, you're not hungry anymore.
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Re: Canning - oh boy, I don't think these are good

Post by Mad Mike » Tue Apr 26, 2016 4:21 pm

Dogan wrote:
Mad Mike wrote:
Stercutus wrote:In the future I don't recommend feeding dehydrated veggie to birds

Why is that? :?:
Expansion within the digestive tract, same reason as some places ban throwing rice at weddings. They eat till they feel full, then they get more than full. Used to exploit the same effect myself, eat a few handfuls of banana chips then drink a glass of water. Boom, you're not hungry anymore.

OK, thanks. I had never heard that before.

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Re: Canning - oh boy, I don't think these are good

Post by ZombieGranny » Thu Apr 28, 2016 11:32 am

Rumor: Wedding guests should refrain from throwing rice at newly-wedded couples because the rice kills birds who eat it.
http://www.snopes.com/critters/crusader/birdrice.asp (More on the link.)
"Still, nothing satifies curious minds like empirical evidence, so in 2002 University of Kentucky biology professor James Krupa put the matter to test with his students, conducting experiments that he eventually published in the April 2005 edition of the journal American Biology Teacher under the title "A CLASSROOM EXERCISE FOR TESTING URBAN MYTH: Does Wedding Rice Cause Birds to Explode or Were Ann Landers, Martha Stewart & Bart Simpson Wrong?"

One factor Krupa and his students measured just how much rice actually expands when soaked in water. They found that soaked white rice expanded in volume by 33%, which might sound like a lot, but not so much when compared to ordinary bird seed, which they found increased in size by an even greater percentage (40%). If a 33% increase in volume of ingested rice could cause birds to explode, then bird seed should be turning even more of them into avian bombs. "
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Re: Canning - oh boy, I don't think these are good

Post by Mad Mike » Thu Apr 28, 2016 12:04 pm

ZombieGranny wrote:Rumor: Wedding guests should refrain from throwing rice at newly-wedded couples because the rice kills birds who eat it.
http://www.snopes.com/critters/crusader/birdrice.asp (More on the link.)
"Still, nothing satifies curious minds like empirical evidence, so in 2002 University of Kentucky biology professor James Krupa put the matter to test with his students, conducting experiments that he eventually published in the April 2005 edition of the journal American Biology Teacher under the title "A CLASSROOM EXERCISE FOR TESTING URBAN MYTH: Does Wedding Rice Cause Birds to Explode or Were Ann Landers, Martha Stewart & Bart Simpson Wrong?"

One factor Krupa and his students measured just how much rice actually expands when soaked in water. They found that soaked white rice expanded in volume by 33%, which might sound like a lot, but not so much when compared to ordinary bird seed, which they found increased in size by an even greater percentage (40%). If a 33% increase in volume of ingested rice could cause birds to explode, then bird seed should be turning even more of them into avian bombs. "

OH NO!!! Another urban legend busted! :clap:

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Re: Canning - oh boy, I don't think these are good

Post by Stercutus » Fri Apr 29, 2016 1:56 pm

Dried fruits contain molds that can cause an upper respiratory infection. These types of infections are deadly to birds. This is the same reason you are not supposed to feed them old breads.

Guess I should have nipped that one earlier?
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Re: Canning - oh boy, I don't think these are good

Post by doitnstyle1 » Sat Apr 30, 2016 11:19 am

After dehydrating my veggies, I would vacuum sealed them in with an oxygen absorber. There is a stronger odor and the flavor is more intense when rehydrated for soups and such so don't use as much! :lol:

Did you vacuum seal yours or just throw them into the canning jar?
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