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CONFIRMED BOTULISM CASE


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This! I showed this to DH who found an opened, gone bad jar of tomatoes in the pantry this weekend and thought I was nuts because I had him bag the whole jar in a plastic bag and throw it in the garbage then wash his just washed hands. He wanted to know why I didn't just keep the jar and wash it in hot water. I told him my MO on these things is probably overkill but, that I would rather lose a one dollar canning jar than kill someone. So, call me Ms. Paranoid but, better safe than sorry and this story proves it.

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This! I showed this to DH who found an opened, gone bad jar of tomatoes in the pantry this weekend and thought I was nuts because I had him bag the whole jar in a plastic bag and throw it in the garbage then wash his just washed hands. He wanted to know why I didn't just keep the jar and wash it in hot water. I told him my MO on these things is probably overkill but, that I would rather lose a one dollar canning jar than kill someone. So, call me Ms. Paranoid but, better safe than sorry and this story proves it.

 

AMEN! I periodically check my stores, and just recently found a small jar of dehydrated zucchini that had lost it's vacume seal. TRASH...!

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I am glad you trashed the jar and all ! That is the right thing to do. Should not handle with bare hands, should use rubber gloves.

 

It is surprising how many people still try to can pints in a cooker, not a canner ! There was a Presto cooker a few years back that said you could can in it. I know recently they changed that on the box. We still find some foreign brands that say you are able to can in them. We try to do as much educating people as possible for these reasons. Since all of you are now familiar with safe food preserving, you also will do your share to spread the word. I think this story should be sent to all those wacky groups that do so many unsafe things. At least it may save someone down the road from dealing with the same sort of scenario as the lawyer. He was fortunate to not have any more permanent damage than he does and it was not fatal. Had he waited much longer at all and he would have died. If any of you can spread the word to any of those groups, please do so. Even if they scoff at you. One person you help is worth it !

 

Dried foods are fine if unsealed ... they have no moisture in which the bacteria can grow. That is how drying works. Otherwise we would also get sick from dried foods. Well, other than jerky, we stress keeping it in the fridge after 2 weeks for up to 6 months, then freeze it for longer storage. Here it won't last even 2 weeks as it gets eaten .

 

The only exception is in case it mold in foods, then of course, you would toss them. That is usually with fruits.

Water activity is where moisture allows bacterias, yeasts, molds to grow in foods. Since you remove the moisture, no food for them to grow. Veggies should be really crisp and most will shatter when you hit with a hammer. Zucchini would be like leather. Carrots are really chewy like and sort of leathery, too.

Corn and peas are really hard.

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I am always saddened when I hear of a case of Botulism poisoning since it is so easy to avoid if one just respects the process. And I just shake my head at all of those that don't want to respect it.

 

I of course lost a friend about 10 years ago because of food poisoning from his improperly canned foods. I tried to open his eyes to reality but he didn't want to listen and his luck ran out.

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Always a sad but good reminder. Sorry about your friend CN!

 

I'm still confused about what he was thinking: (ital. and bold mine)

 

"The pressure cooker was too small. O’Connell had already browned the meat in a cast iron pan. So he decided to shortcut the process. Once the jars sealed airtight he would take them out of the pressure cooker and start a new batch. The next day, he heard a pop in the pantry. He explains, “Which I remember as a child was the signal for you’ve lost the seal.”

 

O’Connell found the jar with the popped seal, put it in the fridge and ate it the next day. He says it was delicious. The following week he heard another lid pop. Just as he had before, O’Connell found the jar and stuck it in the fridge. And a few days later he ate it for supper. "

 

This poor guy was doomed all the way around. First he processed it wrong and then he ate food that was sitting on a shelf that he knew wasn't sealed. Actually, he is lucky he is still alive.

 

Edited to ask:

Do canning jars pop when the seal is lost? I've never heard of that. At first I thought he was remembering the "ping" and got confused into thinking it was a bad thing.

Edited by Jeepers
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Thank you, Violet, for all you do here. On MrsS, we are better educated than most people and you certainly are part of the reason. Other veteran canners here too, have made sure that folks who live here....or stop in to visit us, are going to be safe. :thumbs:

 

Unfortunately, this sort of "PRETEND- canning" is why so many think it's altogether not safe. Some folks just realllllly need to back away from :canning: and buy theirs at the store. <_<

 

 

MtRider

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Thank you, Violet, for all you do here. On MrsS, we are better educated than most people and you certainly are part of the reason. Other veteran canners here too, have made sure that folks who live here....or stop in to visit us, are going to be safe. :thumbs:

 

Unfortunately, this sort of "PRETEND- canning" is why so many think it's altogether not safe. Some folks just realllllly need to back away from :canning: and buy theirs at the store. <_<

 

 

MtRider

Exactly this!!! Echoing Mt. Rider in expressing my thanks for Violet and her wisdom.

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Edited to ask:

Do canning jars pop when the seal is lost? I've never heard of that. At first I thought he was remembering the "ping" and got confused into thinking it was a bad thing.

 

Depends on the lids used. Ball does a 'ping' and a 'pong'. Look for 'dome', not 'flat'. Yes, there are still 'flat' out there.

 

An old school practice, and one that should NOT be done, is to take the rings off once you get 'ping' seal, so you do get a good audible 'pop/pong' at failure.

 

It is true that rings can keep a 'pop/pong' from being audible, but keep the rings on.

 

Sarah

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The rings should stay on (usually loosely) until cooled and then they are removed, jars cleaned and stored away.

 

My friend kept the rings on (tight) and that gave me an audible noise when the contents expanded. But of course he did everything apparently by open kettle method and jars sealed only from cooling.the contents. Everything looked fine until the contents started spoiling.

 

Unfortunately my experience with my friend has made me gun shy on accepting/eating anyone else's canning projects unless I've actually seen them in action and I even limit my stuff going out to others.

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I first learned to can from my MIL. What a nightmare. It's a wonder we all survived. This was back in the late 1970's.

 

She didn't can meat (that I know of) but she did water bath green beans for 3 hours and when they were finished she'd have my FIL come in and twist the rings on as tight as he could. Also, as soon as she cooked jelly she would pour it into old drinking glasses, she'd find at flea markets, and then pour a layer of Gulf wax over top. I think green beans, potatoes and tomatoes were the only things she canned not counting jelly. That was enough though.

 

I don't really like to give away my home canned stuff either, except to my son. Lawsuit waiting to happen these days. Some of the stuff I see on Youtube looks so good and so easy. When someone says something about it not being safe in the comments, nothing happens. You'd think unsafe practices would be removed but they aren't. They really tempt people though.

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I've only had one thing go bad on me in all the years I've canned. It was my soup (great northern) beans. This was around 1985 and I haven't tried them since. I did them according to directions but I think maybe they were too thick? Nothing blew but the lids shifted off and the beans bubbled out. And they were stank! Shudder.

 

I do want to try again though.

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I read about this guy a couple days ago and just shuddered all the way through the article. It just floors me how many people there are that still think you just have to cook it long enough to get the JAR to seal. Or that if you boil it long enough it'll be fine, like the green beans for 3+ hours. A friend of mine did that a few years ago and to the best of my knowledge, didn't toss any of them either despite my horror and pleading with her to get rid of the whole batch. Her mother in law had always done it like that and so by golly it was a perfectly safe thing to do. Sigh.

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Your friend has been 'lucky' up to now that her jars did not contain the C. Botulinum spore but, like a person who doesn't wear a seat belt there is an accident just around the corner just waiting to happen. The sad part is there are lots of people out there that just don't like to wear seat belts.

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