Open Kettle (BBB)


What is open kettle canning–and why isn’t it safe? That question arises often as new canners are sometimes confused either by vague memories of how their grandmothers canned or by posts or comments on message boards all over the internet where people still talk about using this method. While I love many old-fashioned ways, reviving former methods of canning isn’t a good idea. We know more now about the science of canning than our grandmothers did. And while they lived to tell about it, that doesn’t mean it was safe and doesn’t mean that sometimes people didn’t get sick from it. Our grandmas did the best they could with the information and guidance that was available at the time. So should we.

Open kettle canning is a method of filling boiling hot jars with boiling hot food then adding the lid and cap. Let the jars sit and cool–and the lid seals. (This is sometimes combined with turning the jar upside down.)

A seal does usually form in this method, so what’s wrong with it? In open kettle canning, the food doesn’t reach a high enough temperature to destroy the molds, yeasts, and other bacterial toxins that can cause illness.

Be safe. Take the extra step of placing your jars in the canner and process them either by a boiling water bath or the pressure method, depending on the type of food, for the time recommended by modern, tested guidelines.

And here’s a great resource for more information on safe canning!


Ball Blue BookIt’s a Ball Blue Book Project day! Today’s Ball Blue Book is sponsored by an anonymous donor who wants you to LiveLoveLaugh and CAN!

For a chance to win: Leave a comment on this post and let me know you want it. You can just put (BBB) at the end of your comment or otherwise note that you want to be in the draw. One winner will be drawn by random comment number to receive a Ball Blue Book. Eligible entry cut-off is midnight Eastern (U.S.) time tonight (February 28). This post will be updated with the winner by 9 a.m. Eastern (U.S.) time tomorrow (March 1). Return to this post to claim your book if your name is drawn (or check the BBB Winners List).

Find out more about the Ball Blue Book Project and become a sponsor.

UPDATE 03/01/11: The winning comment number, drawn by, is #146, Stephanie. Email me at CITRgiveaways(at) with your full name and address for shipping!


  1. laurajenkins says:

    Please enter me.

  2. Howard says:

    Botulism is not your friend


  3. Richelle says:

    Yes, BBB please!!

  4. Rachel says:

    BBB please!
    Wow, you really don’t know what you don’t know! I so need to read up on this.

  5. Jean - MN says:

    Learning something new every day — BBB please — thanks

  6. Barbara at AtLast says:

    BBB please

  7. Roz says:

    I keep trying to win a BBB…maybe this time!!

  8. Kathy in FL says:

    BBB, please!

  9. Trudy says:

    I’ve never used this method any canning, nor do I remember my mother nor grandmothers using it either. As a matter of fact, I use my grandmother’s All-American pressure canner now for all my canning. I wouldn’t use any other method due to safety reasons. It’s not as scary as you might think if you never used a pressure canner – just don’t push the release valve up until its on ZERO lbs of pressure!

  10. Trudy says:

    OH, yes…BBB for me….

  11. Carmen at Old House Kitchen says:

    Well I’ve sponsored a giveaway so now maybe I’ll win one?! LOL! Enter me in the BBB please! πŸ˜€

  12. debby68 says:

    WOW! How generous! This would be a great prize to win! Enter me please!!!!!

  13. rephiddy says:

    me too, enter me!

    Ever heard of canning and then placing jars in oven to seal?
    Seems it’s done alot up here in Canada.
    Is it safe?


  14. Renee says:

    I’ve heard other people talk about that type of canning and just hearing about it I always wondered about the bacteria and all.

    I’m not an experienced canner so I’d love to have a BBB!!

  15. justdeborah2002 says:

    would love the chance to win…BBB

  16. rain says:

    :happyflower: please enter :snoopy: me in the :sheepjump: BBB :sheep: book drawing!!!!!! :dancingmonster: thanks!! :heart:

    BBB :chicken: BBB :chicken: BBB :chicken: BBB :chicken: !!!!!!!! :sun:

  17. Lee in KY says:

    BBB please. Thanks!

  18. Tx Aggiemom says:

    :woof: I also remember my Grandmother telling me about people who died from food poisoning and gotsick from keeping acidic foods in tin. Better safe than sorry. :snoopy:

    Please pick me me me for the BBB BBB BBB !!! :heart:

    I know picks the winners so they don’t care about the dancing emoticons, but they are cute. :moo:

  19. Kari says:

    I freaked there for a second Suzanne! I use kettles! That are open! For canning! But I always water bath. I use kettles because the burners on my stove are too small to heat the honking big canner that I have that was my Grandmother’s. I just need to get a smaller canner I think. πŸ™‚

    I’ve always wondered about the non-water bath method and have always been very gun shy of it. The last thing I want to do is give my family food poisoning with my jam! πŸ™‚

    I’ve heard of using the oven to can, but it seems to be not as safe as water bath method.

    I’d love a BBB very much!

  20. Melissa (N4M) says:

    please, please, please, enter me

  21. langela says:

    Please enter me for the BBB.

  22. Gem says:

    I am hopeful that it’s ME to win the BBB!

  23. Debbie says:

    Would love to have a BBB!

  24. Amanda says:

    I’d like the BBB.

  25. Ladychef says:

    BBB Thanks for another chance!

  26. Sally says:

    The first canning I ever did was this way! An excellent peach butter recipe cooked in crockpot. I just this year have seen online that this is a no no. Thanks!

  27. kindigo27 says:

    little hope of actually winning, but BBB please!

  28. Pam says:

    I would love the BBB!

  29. Leah's Mom says:

    Me too! Sign me up!

  30. Debra says:

    BBB me please!

    Come on Random Draw ~ pick me!!

  31. prayingpup says:

    Ooohh – I was going to ask about the oven method. I guess I got my answer – thanks for great information here! BBB please!

  32. Patricialynn says:

    I’ve heard of that method of canning before, but don’t think I could ever do it myself. It didn’t sound safe even before I was interested in canning.

    BBB please!

  33. Teri says:

    would love a bbb please!

  34. Sherry Thompson says:

    I want it! I want it! I want it! Yes! BBB!

  35. Kat J. - Arizona says:

    :shimmy: BBB Please.

  36. Joy (from Illinois) says:

    One thing you didn’t mention when you were being Mammy Jane was the incredible amount of work that went into preserving as well as growing and cooking food. Imagine it’s tomato season and you’ve got a big batch of luscious ripe tomatoes–too many to eat day to day. And a mess of beans. And the cucumbers are coming along great. Its a cool day of only 90 degrees outside so you start that kettle boiling–filling the house with steam, haul out your canning jars and start to work over the wood stove. Send the boys out to chop more wood and have the girls start chopping vegetables. You’re there in your long skirt cooking, filling, canning. Lord Almighty those were tough women! Why is it that the vegetables always seem to ripen during the hottest times?

    Since I’m not my grandma (who miraculously had numerous children and lived to be 94), I’d like a copy of the BBB.

  37. Cindy says:

    Please enter me too! Thanks!

  38. Peggy says:

    I remember as a child we would open can jellies. It was the recipe that was either in a cook book or in the pectin box. I always give our small half pint jars of jelly at least 10 minutes in a water bath. BBB

  39. Denise says:

    bbb me please πŸ™‚

  40. Glenie says:

    BBB. I love having jars of home canned food on my shelves – I know everything in each jar because I put it there. I love the simplicity and no strange ingredients in home canning.

  41. Nathan B says:

    I hadn’t even thought of that as a possible method. I can see where, prior to the better understanding, this would seem to be a suitable solution. Thankfully we have made strong progress in that area. Thanks again for all the wonderful info your site brings!(BBB)

  42. Emandeli says:

    I would love this. Enter me please! BBB.

  43. KentuckyFarmGirl says:

    BBB….please! Loving all the Mammy Jane posts!

  44. Deb Klenke says:

    Good to know. Please pick me for BBB. :heart: :snoopy:

  45. judithann says:

    I’ve never done any canning, Although my Mom did, but reading all of these posts has inspired me to try it. I would love to have a copy of the BBB to get started – thanks!

  46. Christina Bredenkamp says:

    I want that BBB and I’ll keep trying until I win one! Thanks for offering them!

  47. lilac wolf says:

    Great one! BBB please. πŸ˜€

  48. annabel52 says:

    I just did my first canning in over 20 years, boiling water bath, and it turned out great. Yum, orange marmalade. I need a BBB to remind me if I did it right!!

  49. Heidi says:

    Oh, I’d love to get this book! Can’t wait until I’m moved onto our farm and can start preserving for the winter πŸ™‚ BBB!

  50. Jayme says:

    I love canning! BBB

  51. Kathy Chaney says:

    Enjoy your site. So much good and entertaining information. Thank you for your efforts. Would love the BBB!

  52. Lynette says:

    Would love to win a BBB πŸ˜€ Thanks for the opportunity!

  53. Nancy Stickler says:

    Exploding jars of peaches!! That I remember. Just like in the movie “Christmas In Connecticut”! lol BBB

  54. cricketjett says:


  55. Carrie Johnston says:

    I can the proper way and I would like the BBB please!

  56. windspiritwhimsies says:

    Would love to give this a go! Please enter me for BBB-Thanks! :clover:

  57. Lacey says:

    BBB please! πŸ˜€

  58. CrystalGB says:

    I would love to have the BBB.

  59. Andrea Pierce says:

    Yay! BBB! count me in!

  60. Debbie R says:

    If I had my own canning book I could stop slopping all over the library’s copy. BBB please!

  61. Tammy F says:

    Love entering contests, BBB, pls!

  62. hollygee says:

    Thanks. I can in very small amounts and always process them in the water bath only because somewhere, deep in my memory of when I learned to can as a young thing, I thought that was what I needed to do. Thank you for the clarification.

  63. BethAnn says:

    BBB me please!!!

  64. JeannieB says:

    There is a difference in open kettle and boiling water bath. Open kettle is not safe—period!! Boiling water bath is certainly used for very high acid foods, as tomatoes, pickles and jellies. We have all learned a lot from Suzanne and this blog, Dede is my hero when it comes to canning, there are a lot more very smart canners here and they have helped me.

  65. jlc16 says:

    BBB please! just made crock pot yogurt and love it! thanks.

  66. Kathi J says:

    Oh, I would love the BBB!!! :snoopy:

  67. Mark Garner says:

    I would really like to own the BBB!

  68. Angela Law says:

    Ooh. I want to start canning this year!


  69. Tina says:

    Pleeeeeez BBB me! πŸ˜€

  70. Bambi Tomaszewski says:

    thanks to this site, I am learning to be self sufficient in many ways. Thank you all for all of the informative adivise. I would love to win this book.

  71. Melanie says:

    BBB, please and thanks.

  72. Diane says:

    I would like to win this book, BBB.

  73. CindyP says:

    I’m still trying to talk my brother out of this method. Mom taught him, that’s the way she always did it, so therefore that’s the way he does it! He needs a new BBB (he’s still using the 1983).

  74. Jamie Dome says:

    Not sure I will ever get this book but it is worth a try! BBB please.

  75. Mim says:

    really need this book….hubby is getting tired of finding pages printed off of computer :pawprint:

  76. Gini says:

    I had a canning party this weekend! BBB

  77. Lynda Blackmon says:

    I would love to try my hand at canning and would love this book

  78. Susan W says:

    BBB please. I’ve love to start making my own jams.

  79. Karen says:

    I’ve got an old BBB, but would love to have an updated one. Thanks for the opportunity πŸ™‚

  80. Jeanne says:

    Today’s my lucky day – c’mon BBB!

  81. Clarissa says:

    I have still so much to learn. A big help would be a BBB!

  82. Terri Draeger says:

    Never stop learning about canning! BBB please!

  83. Tracy says:

    I would love a copy of the BBB for my daughter who is in her own first home. Thank you!

  84. marymac says:

    Sign me up for the BBB.

  85. Esther L. says:

    I would love an updated copy of the Blue Ball Book (BBB)!

  86. geena22 says:

    Hats off to pioneer women!! BBB Please :shimmy:

  87. Joy says:

    Thanks for all of your tips. BBB

  88. Beverly says:

    Did my 1st canning last summer…still have TONS to learn!
    Thanks for the opportunity!


  89. brookdale says:

    I entered already but do not see my post here now…anyway, would love to have the BBB! Thanks, Suzanne and “anonymous donor”.

  90. Pamela Adkins says:

    My husband would think aliens had taken over my body if I didn’t can. I can’t imagine not canning something! I think a refresher course in proper canning methods would be good for me. I started canning 34 years ago!

    BBB please!

  91. melody says:

    I would love to win a bbb..

  92. Sheepie~Girl says:

    PLEASE pick for for the BBB!!!

  93. Heather says:

    This is the greatest site I have ever found. I’m a newbie to the site, but not to canning. I usually just do the basics……beans, peaches, corn, and cabbage sometimes. Please enter me.



  94. lavenderblue says:

    Seems like I remember jams and jellies done in an open kettle and sealed with paraffin. It is amazing any of us children of the ’50’s or earlier lived to tell about it.

  95. Marj O'Halleran says:

    Cant wait for gardens and canning. Please pick me BBB.

  96. Amy says:

    I’d love to win the BBB!

  97. marjohalleran says:

    Cant wait for gardening and canning! Pick me BBB

  98. rivergirl says:

    Love all the info on canning as I am a newbie…
    BBB please :wave:

  99. PastryCupcake says:

    yes! BBB please! :sheep:

  100. Bonnie Schmidt says:

    BBB, please!

  101. Brandy Piercefield says:

    BBB Drawing

    Oooooo….I am new to canning and have been told by many that I really need this BBB as it’s the canning bible! So please enter me in the BBB drawing.

  102. Piper says:

    I can remember open canning with my mom and being worried even then because I’d read we should be using pressure!


  103. Linda Goble says:

    I would love to win a BBB please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :snoopy:

  104. Janice Jewett says:

    Please enter me for a BBB.
    Thanks Janice

  105. Martha in KS says:

    This is one thing that I DO know about canning. But I’d like to learn more from the BBB please!

  106. Robyn says:

    BBB please!!! I’d love this book. I’m a VERY beginning canner and this would be beyond helpful!

  107. farmershae says:

    BBB me please!!!

  108. Candace Gammel says:

    Thank you for this opportunity to win a BBB.

  109. LeAnn says:

    I don’t know of anyone still using this method of canning, but I do know of someone who uses a steam canner. I like that it uses a lot less water, but I don’t believe that this is recommended anymore, either. :no: It’s best to be safe! :yes:
    BBB, please.

  110. Kathleen H in Indiana says:

    BBB please!

  111. Barbara W says:

    My friend told me they seal sometimes like that. Thanks for the info. BBB

  112. Alison Yusufzai says:

    I would love to get this BBB.

  113. k's grandma says:

    BBB please! Never too old to learn a few new tricks. Thanks to you and your mysterious generous one and BBB for this opportunity to win BBB!

  114. Luann says:

    I still open kettle my fruits and my tomatoes…been doing it for 30 years and never have a problem….BBB please.

  115. Shar says:

    THANK YOU, Suzanne and the annymous donor for the BBB drawing. Please include me in it!


  116. Paula Clark says:

    I need a new BBB, mine is used and abused. Last week I canned chickens, beef and navy beans.I love canning!

  117. Sally says:

    I’ve been scouting used book stores and thrift stores waiting for this book to appear with no luck. It would be wonderful to win BBB

  118. Stephanie says:

    Enjoy your site, BBB

  119. Pam C says:

    BBB please! With any luck, this might be the year that I get to plant some vegetables & can them!

  120. Kayli says:

    Thank you for all the good info (BBB)

  121. Patti Jarrett says:

    Wise advice, thanks for bringing up this type of canning and food safety.

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