I haven’t been canning very long. This is the first year I’ve actually set out to can much of anything. This year I planted 2 decent sized gardens full of every veggie I could think to plant and added more fruit bushes and vines to the homestead with the intent of having a very large harvest of all the plants we love to eat.
I spent a lot of money on jars and even more on a pressure canner and other canning supplies intending on canning everything that I picked.
I had good intentions when I started this journey knowing that it would be a lot of work but there were a few things I forgot about.
We live in a small house, the first thing I forgot to account for was how much space canning takes. You need a lot of counter space to prepare everything. Luckily I’m not lacking on counter space so that’s not an issue for me.
The next thing I forgot to prepare for was a heat source. When we moved into this house it originally had propane lines but propane is expensive so we got rid of it. For the last 5 years I’ve been using countertop burners and a convection oven to cook with, and during the holidays I break out the slow cookers and turkey roaster.
Those tiny burners don’t get hot enough to boil a small pot of water on their best day right out of the box let alone a giant pot of water meant for canning and there is no way to regulate the temperature to keep a constant pressure in a pressure scanner.
That left me with 3 options: use a camping stove, go to a friend’s house and use their stove, or give up.
I’m no quitter so I got creative.
Theoretically, as long as you have something deep enough that at least 1-2 inches of water will cover your jars and that with bring the water to a constant rolling boil, you can use it to water bath can anything that can be water bath canned. (Try saying that 5 times fast!)
So I started testing each of my appliances. The slow cooker was deep enough but didn’t boil water consistently like I needed and the countertop burner would boil about 4 inches of water which wasn’t deep enough for any of the jars I have.
Finally, I tried my turkey roaster. It was deep enough to submerge my 1/2 pint jars in with about 1 inch of water over them and it was able to keep the water boiling constantly the entire time. It’s not the large stock pot that I need for my pint and quart jars but I’ll take what I can get.
So I gave it a try on some mulberry jelly and to my surprise the jars actually sealed within minutes of me removing them from the roaster. I only had one jar that didn’t seal, (see picture below. Its the bottom right jar. You can clearly see the bad seal or buldge to the lid.) so I put it back in and reprocessed it, which was a success.
So why didn’t the one jar seal?
I believe that it was because it was to close to the middle of the roaster so it hadn’t gotten hot enough. I noticed that the water around the edges of the roaster was boiling rapidly but the middle water wasn’t.
What I learned.
It is possible to hot water bath can in turkey roasters and other appliances as long as the water in them will cover the jars and boil rapidly.
If using alternative water bath methods, you may need to process your jars for longer periods of time or even reprocess them.
Always put the jars as close to the boiling areas as possible to ensure a proper seal.
What alternative methods do you use to can your harvest? Tell me in the comments and until next time, please remember to like, subscribe, and share😉