boiling water canner on a stovetop

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Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. This means that, at zero cost to you, I will earn an affiliate commission if you click through the link and finalize a purchase.

When it comes to preserving food, food falls into three categories:

  • Acidic or Acidified Food
  • Low Acid Food
  • Food that Should not be preserved

Side note, this is really a meat and potatoes post. Unlike my other posts, this is all about the information and not pictures. I hope you take the time to read and ask questions.

boiling water canner on a stovetop

Acidic or Acidified Food

Examples of acidic or acidified foods are:

  • Jams/Jellies/Butters (not dairy butter!)
  • Salsa
  • Marmalades
  • Pickled(s)
  • Chutneys
  • Relishes
  • Syrup
  • Juice

Most fruit and tomatoes are high acid products. This is a generalization and not 100% accurate as one new guideline is to now acidify apple products. We wont get into this now, but feel free to ask me questions.

Low Acid Food

Low acid foods are items like:

  • Vegetables
  • Broths
  • Soups
  • Meat

Food that Should not be Preserved

There are two stances on the next topic, those that follow safety guidelines and use evidence based recipes and those who rebel can.

An example of rebel canning is water bath (boiling water canning) green beans and keeping them at a rolling boil for over 3 hours. OR another example would be pressure canning dairy.

You will not find rebel canning methods on this blog. I strictly use USDA and Extension office studied recipes to ensure that they are safe for my family and friends.

What are some options for food that should not be canned: freeze, dehydrating, and freeze drying.

I’ll be discussing more about freeze drying, so please keep reading.

3 tips to find reliable and safe food preserving recipes

  1. Ball and Kerr are a trusted canning company. They have rigorously tested recipes for our safety. Search their websites or purchase any of their books. The new 38th edition of the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving was just released (Spring 2024). Although not available on amazon, yet, this is one version I have
  2. The USDA and Extension Offices are You can purchase the USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning here. Additionally, if you search your state/county + extension office, you can call the extension office to have your questions answered.
  3. Search the web! (it takes a bit of doing but you can find that usda guide for free when researching). But more specifically, you can search Extension office + {insert your food you want to preserve} … your search would look like this: Extension Office + Pickled Asparagus
  4. BONUS: You can also find safe recipes on your pectin (of choice) websites. These would be: Ball, Pomona’s, Sure Jell, Certo, MCP

One way to preserve low acid food other than pressure canning

I’m not saying I don’t/won’t pressure can because I want to and will but what’s stopping me is my current set up. I don’t love the closeness of my microwave to stove AND my stove is a glass top.

Yes, you can can on some glass stove tops. My manual isn’t super helpful in finding out if I should.

UNTIL I get a better setup, I do THIS instead:
Freeze Dry!

Freeze drying allows me to preserve low acid foods that I would otherwise need to pressure can.

Low acid foods are items like:

  • Vegetables
  • Broths
  • Soups
  • Meat
  • Chili

Additionally, freeze drying allows me preserve foods that the usda doesn’t recommend canning (both water bath and pressure canned).

Some of the items are:

  • Milk, Dairy, Yogurt, Sour Cream, Cheese
  • Noodles/Pasta (in the form of lasagna or hamburger helper)
  • Bread/Muffin
  • Herbs
  • Ice Cream & Candy
  • Full Meals (like hamburger helper or paella)

Are freeze dryers an investment? YES! Just like anything, especially if youre wanting to preserve your own food.
My family loves this method of preserving. And for us, it’s been incredibly useful and helpful in our preservation efforts.

My family uses a medium harvest right freeze dryer.

The Link to our freeze dryer, tap here

If you’re interested in this method of preservation and want more information, drop a comment and I’ll get you all the information!

Have a freeze drying question, I’d love to answer it for you!

Happy preserving!

Other posts you might enjoy:

Recipes you might like:

Freeze Drying Resource:

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