Tuesday, July 24, 2018

My Thoughts - Food Safety

I have a lot of thoughts on food safety.  I definitely want my family to be healthy and safe - but I also think there is so much info out there that is just over the top. 
Those of us that can are constantly being bombarded with the quote "that method isn't USDA approved".

You know what?  Not everyone lives in the U.S. and doesn't follow the same guidelines.  I can't help but wonder why my family is at risk for me not using a pressure canner and someone's family in Europe or Australia's isn't!!!
Pressure canners and jars that we use here, are quite expensive in other countries - if they can get them.

I have always been one who follows the thinking of "your kitchen - your rules".  My Mom canned everything and NEVER owned a pressure canner.  She water bathed everything and raised 5 children and fed us and dozens of grandkids and never once did anyone get sick!
Until a few years ago I had never heard of anyone using a water bath on jelly.  I made jelly and either used the inversion method or added paraffin to the top.  I do water bath now - but never had a problem before.

Everyone says follow the Blue Book recipes.  Well, even those change over the years.  I have books that give BOTH pressure canning and water bath instructions for just about everything (including meat).

If you click on picture to enlarge - you will see water bath instruction for beans, corn, etc.

Considering that EVERY week commercially processed food is being recalled (sometimes every day), I feel pretty content about the way I process mine.
It is amazing how many recalls have been happening.  It is not just meat or fresh foods - it also crackers and canned goods - you name it. 
How does that happen???
Shouldn't there be tons of regulation that these factories have to follow, so that this doesn't happen?

I take a lot of precautions in my kitchen, as far as boiling food before canning, heating my jars, and storing things in a cool dry place.  I also heat food other than pickled items back to a boiling point before eating.  I feel confident.
I don't think I necessarily need  government intrusion in my kitchen.  They intrude enough in other aspects of my life (not trying to be political).

I just have such a problem understanding why something  is safe in other countries yet isn't OK here.
Makes no sense to me.
So until the commercially generated food products are COMPLETELY safe - I don't need anyone telling me what I can do in my kitchen.

What do you think?

32 comments:

  1. I agree, Cheryl. They even say oven canning is no longer safe, but I know people who have done it for years and lived to tell the story. I was shocked to read about the crackers this week. It's nuts!

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    1. I know people who still oven can as well. We wouldn't all be here - if all the "old" ways were so dangerous!

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  2. I completely agree, it carries over into the government policing medications. So many medications not sold in U.S. but fine in other countries.

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    1. Absolutely Jane. I know there are things that would help so many - yet we can't get them.
      I am just tired of 'the powers that be' feel the need to tell us how to live. It has been going on for ages.

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  3. I agree with you! I would love to find an old style book like that with water bath instructions and time.

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    1. I just may post clear pictures of the pages in the near future. The book I have was my Mom's Ball Blue Book.
      You might keep your eyes open if you go to yard sales as well!

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  4. I wonder how we all survived childhood? My mom always made jelly with the paraffin on top, and it was the best jelly! I made jelly the same way until a few years ago.
    My husband thinks it is funny that other countries don't refrigerate eggs. Even with all of our regulations in the U.S., our food isn't safe. I think it is corporate greed and shortcuts.

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    1. EXACTLY - we survived!! Rode bikes without helmets, ate canned food from WB's only, no seat belts in cars, drank from hoses, etc. Amazing isn't it?

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  5. I read recipes for jam/jelly and it says "process for 10 minutes". Never have, doubt I ever will. I used to do the paraffin thing, now just inversion. Still alive to tell the story.

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    1. I just love that I am not alone. It sounds like many of us think the same way. We may be old fashioned - but in this world - I think that is good!

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  6. So true. My MIL does everything the old fashioned way. She grew up on a farm in Italy with no electricity. She says everyone worries too much. Most things you can tell are bad by looking at them, smelling them or tasting them.

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    1. I think she is right - everyone worries about everything. I am kind of over that!
      If people don't like something - fine. Just don't expect me to follow blindly.
      We are all adults and can make our own decisions!

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  7. I'm all for food safety and go just by the book Cheryl. No one canned in my family -Mother worked and grandma passed away when I was young. I decided I wanted to learn how to can and not kill anyone. I took a canning course put on by my local extension service. It was well worth the cost and I'm glad I took it. I never worry about making any one sick. They say to buy a blue book every year, I don't but I do buy one frequently. I keep the old ones because some recipes don't make it in the new book for some reason. I like to use caution I guess and if I teach anyone I teach them just the way I learned over 30 years ago now!

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    1. How cool you got to take a class. Never having anyone who canned in your family, that would be the best way to learn for sure.
      You pass on what you learned and that is great. Many of us just learned differently.
      I don't do anything without caution, I just think that many old ways are fine. Other countries do things differently and they aren't being scolded by the govt.

      Thanks for mentioning the extension service, maybe others will want to check it out.

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  8. I hope I don't sound rude Cheryl. Just a different opinion than everyone else I guess.

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    1. No problem - not rude at all. Thank you for your opinion and advising. That is why we are all here.

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    2. oh good that makes me feel better thanks!

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    3. I truly hope that NO ONE ever feels they can't express themselves here. We all have our own ways - that is what makes the world go round. We learn from each other!

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  9. Hi Cheryl, It is confusing but what little I do now I try to be careful. Nancy

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    1. I think we all try to be as careful as possible.

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  10. This made me lol! I agree with you... I blanch my corn before freezing, but I'm finding out that a lot of people don't blanch now. It's what we know and what we are comfortable with!!

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    1. Yes mam. We were all taught differently - and that doesn't mean any one way is good or bad.
      I do what I am happy with, as should everyone else.

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  11. I'm another one who agrees. I have used inversion, water bath and the oven as well as a pressure canner. I use caution but don't get all paranoid about it. I remember how my grandmother taught me and just smile.

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    1. Same here Sandy. I am careful, but not paranoid.
      Some of my best days were with Momma in the kitchen!

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  12. Hi Cheryl,

    I'm with Vicki, follow the latest recommendations...especially with an aging population who are more susceptible to food borne illness. Those recommendations are based not just on your own kitchen, but also on statistics that come out of the CDC, also based on home kitchens.

    We had 50 people get sick with salmonella a few weeks ago, at a church picnic. Whole families affected.

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    1. I totally understand people following the guidelines as written and think it's great. Maybe they (CDC) should also be paying attention to the commercial industry a bit more - as there are so many recalls happening. I feel much more comfortable with my kitchen than commercial products.
      I actually get panicky any more thinking about eating at restaurants.

      I think summers are just prime time for people to get sick at picnics - many just don't have any common sense. Leaving mayonnaise products or egg products out in the heat is asking for trouble.
      That can happen with anything - not just home canned food.

      I appreciate that everyone is watching, listening, and being cautious.

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  13. I have never had anyone get sick from my canned foods either. Learned to can in the 70's. All water bath canning back then. I was terrified of pressure canners. My husband did buy me one several years ago and I have used it when needed.

    We've all heard about "not using an onion that's been cut and stored in the refrigerator". I do this all the time. Now the latest one is "do not wash your chicken before cooking it." I'm sure we all know what the inside of a chicken looks like when you buy one from the store - blood, guts, extra fat stuffed in there to make it weigh more! We used to raise chickens for meat and eggs years ago and processed 50 birds in two days for the freezer. They looked a lot better than what you get from the store - but we still washed them after defrosting (to get any extra "juice" out of them.

    I kept thinking about your jam and jelly statement. It's been so long since I made them (80's), but I didn't think I processed them either. That's why they were so easy to make. Now the new directions say to process for XX amount of time, then shut the heat off and let them sit in the hot water for 10 min.

    I found some pickles buried down in the basement from years ago. They are not spoiled, but I will not use them because they probably are mushy by now.

    it's all a matter of "common sense" and what works for YOU and not someone else's idea of what you should do. I'm not against new ideas, but sometimes they carry things a little too far trying to make it sound like a Transylvanian lab experiment.

    Years ago, when you froze fruit, you froze it in a heavy sugar syrup. We don't do that anymore. We freeze it spread on a tray and then transfer to a freeze bag when it is frozen. Works (and tastes) much better. So I think what it amounts to is: Practices change - sometimes for the better, sometimes not.

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    1. This might be a far out thought but could some of these changes have anything to do with the quality of the food grown now? e.g. GMO's, changing the molecular structure of vegetables and fruits and who knows what else.

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    2. Kris I laugh every time I see the thing about the onion. My oh my - we should have been dead years ago. This girl can make an onion last!!!! I always have sliced or diced onions in the frig.

      I always wash chicken and turkey and can't wrap my head around that one at all. Why would you not? YUCK

      I flash freeze so many things now days. It makes it so much easier to handle and like you said it tastes better.

      I think things get carried too far as well, kind of like all the PC stuff!
      I guess I am still hung up and why it is totally safe in other large countries but not here.

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    3. You may be on to something there about how things are grown. Not too much is "natural" any more - it has all been modified in some way.

      I truly believe that is why "little" girls look differently now that when I was a kid. There are so many hormones in meat and milk, and they are being consumed. Girls seem to be developing faster in my opinion.

      It has to change the chemical makeup of the food to keep messing with it. May be just our governments way of controlling the population. You never know.

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  14. My mother canned, but never taught me how to. I still don't know how. I freeze everything, I don't blanch veggies first. We live in AZ and it gets very hot ... today is 116 F. So I freeze whatever is freezable (veggies, bread, meats). I store cereal, eggs, and non-freezable food in the refrigerator. Food safety in hot temperatures.

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    1. WOW that is hot!!!!! I never thought about having to refrigerate or freeze things to make them last.
      I sure hope you have AC!!

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