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Safe Substitutions
July 28, 2012
12:40 pm
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Country Girl @ Heart
California
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I have been canning for sometime but I would like to learn more on substituting ingredients.  I know there are ingredients that should not ever be substituted.  Does anyone know of any safety guidelines for this or where I might find them.  

I am looking for a dill pickle (sour) relish recipe with cucumbers and no sugar.  I have several canning books but none with that combination.  I found a recipe that uses zucchini but I am not sure if I can substitute the cucumber for the zucchini (my zucchini is not abundant yet).  Does anyone know of the safety guidelines for this?

July 29, 2012
10:13 pm
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Linda Goble
Mighty Chicken
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I have the zucchini setting right now and i also was wondering about if I can substitute Agave instead of sugar, my hubby doesn’t eat sugar.  Best of luck in your answers.

July 30, 2012
10:07 am
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BuckeyeGirl
N.E. Ohio
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As far as substituting ingredients go, the most important thing is not to reduce the ratio of acid to other ingredients.  Messing with the tomatoes, vinegar, lemon juice amounts is a no-no.  What allows things to be “pickled” and so BWBd, is the acid to non-acid ratio, mess with that and you need to pressure can.

I always try to find other recipes in reliable places that are very similar.  Taking out peppers and replacing with onions is ok as long as quantities are the same.  I’m much more careful about replacing tomatoes because they are at least somewhat acid even though nowadays we add extra lemon juice to UP the acid because tomatoes often aren’t as acid as they used to be.

Is that confusing?  It’s all most important if you are planning on BWB (Boiling Water Bath) canning.  Pressure canning a mixture of anything means you process it for the longest time required for any one of the ingredients. 

A lot of people say things like, “Well it’s canned in the grocery stores.” well, if I had the equipment and testing ability of a large corporation, that would be different.  For me I stick to the basics at home, and really, that’s just best for me anyway.  Basics in home canning can be very fun and fancy…  I just try to take out the risk factor.

Sugar?  That’s a whole ‘nuther topic.  I have no idea about replacing it with agave.  I find we can’t use it so I haven’t experimented with it.  Sugar is pretty necessary in canning jam or jelly, leaving it out changes the shelf life drastically.  Freezer jam is best if you’re going to go really low or no sugar in jam.  My Pop is 93 and has to watch his sugar, but by going just a bit lower with the sugar, we find the amount used on toast etc to be pretty negligible and safe for him to indulge in.

I think in most things like pickles or relishes, it’s more of a ‘taste’ issue than preserving, so it may be ok to replace it, I’d probably test it with the normal ratio used instead of sugar in a small batch.  Thing is, again, in the small amounts of sugar that ultimately wind up in say a tablespoon of relish on a hot dog or sandwich… if the agave doesn’t work out I’d evaluate how much that bothered you. 

I hope that helps and that others will chime in!  There are some good, safe, reliable sources in our Canning Links section here  https://chickensintheroad.com/forum/the-canning-pot/canning-links/

Located in N.E. Ohio

July 30, 2012
2:31 pm
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ladawnwells
United States
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July 30, 2012
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I recently discovered Truvia has a product called “Baking Blend”;  http://truvia.com/baking/baking-conversion-chart/ with a conversion chart. It claims to reduce, not eliminate, sugar content by 75% for your baking needs and even has a few recipes to try.It claims also to not be sensitive to heat. In my area, I found that Walmart carries it is their grocery section but check the online availability in you r area.

As I’ve been reading, most sugar in sour or dill pickling mostly relies on salt and acid content to keep the formation of bacteria after the boiling water bath, leaving sugar mostly a taste thing so that part must stay the same. Some recipes replace sugar will fruit juice, like this one:

SUGAR FREE BREAD AND BUTTER PICKLES
1 gal. cucumbers, sliced thin
8 white onions, sliced thin
2 green peppers, chopped
2 red peppers, chopped
1/4 c. canning salt
2 c. apple juice concentrate
2 c. water
2 c. lemon juice
2 tbsp. celery seed

Lightly toss cucumber, onions and peppers with salt; let stand with the salt on them for 3 hours in a cool place. Now dissolve the apple juice concentrate in the water. Add lemon juice, and celery seed, boil 2 to 3 minutes. Pour in your sliced, salted vegetables and bring just to the boiling point. Pack into hot jars seal and water bath 5 minutes.

I’m discovering was to reduce sugar and salt in in some cased preserving with lacto-fermentation..

bon a petite

July 30, 2012
10:50 pm
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Country Girl @ Heart
California
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Thanks BuckeyeGirl.  I found a chart on acidity levels.  Some of you may find it informative:  http://www.foodscience.caes.uga.edu/extension/documents/FDAapproximatepHoffoodslacf-phs.pdf

August 3, 2012
4:18 pm
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kathy
San Augustine, Texas
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confusedSo it’s not the sugar, salt, and vinegar that make it safe to bwb? It’s usually the acidity levels? Is that how the Mrs. Wages mixes work, with added acidity? Is this something you could add yourself, to say a homemade recipe that would normally be done in the pressure canner? For example, my chili base, though it has no meat (just tomatoes, onions, and spices), could it be acidified to be safe to bwb? Of course, you’d have to use test strips or something to check the levels. Would love input on this question. It would allow me to do smaller batches as my pressure canner is very large. Thanks.

August 3, 2012
11:19 pm
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wvhomecanner
North Central WV
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Kathy, the USDA/NCHFP has a ‘rule’ that you can go by for a safe BWB recipe, yes. No more than 3 cups low acid veggies (onions, etc.) to every 22 lbs. of tomatoes, and also acidify with lemon juice or citric acid and u are good to go. If your chili base can fit in that formula, you can safely water bath instead of pressure canning.

As to your question about the ingredients, the vinegar does count for sure because it contributes acidity. Salt is never needed unless it’s a pickling or fermenting issue. Sugar is often optionalm depending on the recipe and food being preserved.

 

dede

If common sense were truly common, wouldn't there be more evidence of it?

August 4, 2012
9:41 am
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Country Girl @ Heart
California
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Sugar is often optionalm depending on the recipe and food being preserved.

 

dede

 

Dede,

I am just curious if the sugar would be optional in the relish recipes?  I understand it is probably what makes the relish thick but would it be necessary for safe canning?

August 4, 2012
4:38 pm
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wvhomecanner
North Central WV
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are you wanting a sour/dill relish? If you wanted sweet but without sugar, sugar subs could be used. Relish could also be thickened with Clearjel if you wanted the viscosity without the sugar. Of course, this depends on the recipe – need enough acid (vinegar) to be safe to BWB.That help?

 

dede

If common sense were truly common, wouldn't there be more evidence of it?

August 4, 2012
11:56 pm
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Country Girl @ Heart
California
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wvhomecanner said
are you wanting a sour/dill relish? If you wanted sweet but without sugar, sugar subs could be used. Relish could also be thickened with Clearjel if you wanted the viscosity without the sugar. Of course, this depends on the recipe – need enough acid (vinegar) to be safe to BWB.That help?

 

dede

Yes I am looking for a sour/dill relish and I don’t need it to be thick.  Maybe the recipes that have only a small amount of sugar aren’t really sweet tasting with the vinegar.  I found some with as little as 1/3 cup.  If I kept the ingredients exactly the same except for leaving out the small amount of sugar, that should still be enough acid to be canned safely, right?

Shelley

August 5, 2012
10:32 pm
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wvhomecanner
North Central WV
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yes, the sugar in that small of an amount only takes the ‘edge’ off of the vinegar taste. Leaving it out won’t hurt a thing.

If common sense were truly common, wouldn't there be more evidence of it?

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