Canning [Mis]Adventures: Electric Peaches

So, I was in the PrairieSun shop the other day, and my friend Jaime asked me if she could accompany me on a canning adventure this summer, so she could learn the methods and techniques.

Elbow-deep in prepping the lug of peaches I picked up yesterday, I remembered her request, and I rinsed off my hands and gave her a call.

I had already skinned and halved the peaches, dumped them in the acidulated water, and had the sugar-and-spice syrup going when she came, so I explained what I’d done so far, and we started washing jars, simmering peaches, and packing them in jars and topping them with syrup and brandy.

Once the first batch was in the canner, we stepped outside and talked about some techniques with raw pack (she’d attempted a tomato project that didn’t turn out that great) and the importance of headroom and suchlike canning geekery.

We came back in and were chatting in the kitchen when suddenly the canner gave a big BURP.  I was thinking, That’s weird.  Usually if a jar breaks, it does it right away…

And then it happened again, and we not only heard, but saw what was happening.  We saw sparks emitting from the stove, which were obviously traveling through the canner and electrocuting the jars in the water bath. Boom!

Yeah.  That’s not good.  I turned off all the burners on the stove (the BWB canner plus the kettle heating water to top off the canner for the next batch plus the saucepot on low with lids).

We were a little more than halfway through the processing time of 25 minutes for quarts.  I left the jars in the canner for the full time, though obviously they were not boiling for the full time necessary.  Not sure if they’ll even seal.

I wonder if the USDA has a recommended processing time for electrification?  Do you think it kills mold and bacteria?

Just kidding.  We’ll refrigerate the jars even if they do seal.  And even though I’ll be moving up north in less than a month, I’ll probably need to stop by Murph’s and see what they have for used apartment-sized stoves.  I’ve got a heck of a lot of canning to do in the next few weeks.

From the plasticky electrical fire smell emitting from the stove, I’m guessing I might have ridden this one a little too hard over the last seven years–with well over a thousand jars canned in that period (and, of course, thousands of meals prepared), it might have bit the proverbial radish.

At the end of the evening, Jamie was consulting the chapter on “What Went Wrong” in one of my canning books.  Perhaps I should be pleased to have taught her about something that can go wrong that won’t be covered in any canning book!


3 responses to this post.

  1. Oh, dear! Glad no one was hurt during the “episode”.

    I canned apple sauce a couple nights ago. Pulled the jars out of the canner, put them on a towel on the kitchen table to cool. Walked into the dining room, sat down at the lap top. Heard a BANG, walked into the kitchen in time to see the second jar exploding. Shot apple sauce all over. What a mess. Thought I had it all cleaned up, but found some more specks of sauce glued to the wall today.

  2. Posted by Frank James on August 5, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    I love my gas stove top. On burner has something called “power boil”. Grunting is required when you fire that one up.

  3. Posted by flyingtomato on August 6, 2010 at 9:22 am

    Yes, I can see saying in a deep, announcer-type voice as it’s turned on: “And NOW–POWER BOOOOOOYYYYYYLLLL!!!” Preferably with a bit of an echo. And some cheering and foot-stomping for good effect.

    WISH I had a gas stove, but the hook-ups are no longer available.

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