They no longer recommend following grandma’s canning techniques — nor her recipes.
Due to new modern day super bugs and changing acidity of plants via genetic modifications, new knowledge about safe food preservation, and so on — the recommendations have changed considerably in only the last decade (ten years) or so — and can be expected to continue to change.
When I first started blogging, I had intended to get into canning techniques and recipes. However, it occurred to me that there are too many changes being made to canning recommendations due to all of the new super bugs and the new GMO vegetables (in particular tomatoes).
Since GMO vegetables are constantly changing (texture, acidity, flavor), then it stands to reason that recommendations for preservation will also change to keep up. Even the nutritional make up and texture of beef and other raised food source animals have changed considerably.
Acidity levels in tomatoes for example used to be a known constant but now they poise balanced on a fence with no two being exactly in the same close range so some actually slip to one side of the fence or the other. That changes the recipe (and thus potentially flavor) all in the name of ensuring it is safe to eat.
So, if you wish to learn canning and recipes, I recommend that you contact your local cooperative and universities to stay on top of current recommendations.
Trust no recipe or technique without checking first.
Also, unlike days of old, it is now a well known fact that altitude very much effects the quantity of time required for canning so adjustments must be made in regards to the altitude at which you live. It doesn’t many a baker to learn this the first time they set out to bake a cake or loaf of bread. Yet recipes for canning almost always state a specific amount of time — but for what altitude? And what time period was that recipe from? Is it from the pre-super bug era?
Another great resource for staying on top of current recommendations:
Currently, my recipes are brought up to date — but for how long?
If I post canning recipes, then I would need to keep updating them as recommendations change. I’m not sure that I want to deal with that having already had to previously update a couple of earlier postings about tomatoes.
Therefore, I am only posting a recipe today for refrigerator dill pickles.
Refrigerator Dill Pickles
1 lb cucumbers, ends removed, spears or chips
3-1/2 cups water
1-1/4 cups 5% distilled vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon salt
1 or 2 cloves garlic, whole
1/3 to 1/2 cup fresh dill
Stir water, vinegar, sugar, and salt together in a saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil; remove from heat and cool completely.
Combine cucumber spears, garlic cloves, and fresh dill in a large glass or plastic container. Pour cooled vinegar mixture over cucumber mixture. Seal container with lid and refrigerate for 3 to 5 days before serving.
Even for refrigerator pickles, a few basic food preservation safety rules must be followed. It is important to keep the correct water, vinegar, and salt quantities for the pickling brine. You keep these proportions correctly balanced and your refrigerator pickles will be safe to eat and last for about 2 months.
Garlic and dill are the “basic” flavoring agents. These may be changed at will up or down and many, many other flavoring ingredients may be used as desired.
The sugar is only there to cut down a bit on the over powering taste of the vinegar and it may also be adjusted up or down to suit personal preferences.
This pickling brine is specifically for pickling cucumbers in the refrigerator. It may (or may not) be safe to use for other vegetable. You should check recommendations for any and all items that you intend to pickle. It is not intended for safely canning or other long term food preservation.