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August 04, 2009

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Baron Chandler

I'm no expert - and you should take internet advice with a grain of salt - but as I understand it, botulinum grows in low-acid, anaerobic environments. The problem happens when you seal low-acid food in a jar and create a vacuum, but fail to raise the temperature in the air high enough during processing to destroy the botulinum spores. When the vacuum is created and the lid seals, air is driven out and the unkilled botulinum goes to town in your food. Not good eats. Not at all.

What you're describing with the chard and water changing and salt and stuff is a fermentation process, which would happen before canning (if you choose to can it) ... Fermentation is an age-old method of preserving food (think kimchi or pickles or saurkraut). You're fermenting the chard for a month to preserve it. If you decide to can it, you do that after the month is up and should follow the USDA/FDA instructions if you want to guarantee safety. Always follow the directions carefully, because their recipes/instructions have been lab tested to be safe and reproducible when followed correctly in your home.

If you're worried about it, you can always call your County Extension service and ask them. I hope you enjoy your chard.

trevor

In Barcelona we feed the stalks to the pig, unfermented, but there's no accounting for taste. The leaves we cook a bit like tough spinach - boil for 5 minutes to get rid of the taste, and then again in fresh water for ten minutes with salt and a tbsp of olive oil, and then chop coarsely and sauté with chopped onion for five minutes. Add minced garlic, pepper, salt and paprika and you´re done. The posh version involves lightly mixing the result of all this with thinly sliced potatoes and onions that have been fried in plentiful oil over a medium flame until just tender, putting the result in a shallow dish, pouring several lightly beaten eggs over the top, and broiling until the eggs form a crust. I didn't really like greens until I caught on to this, so it's probably saved me from something horrible.

K.

Thanks, trevor. I can only add to that two thoughts. Steam the leaves for a better product ( why so much boiling? ) and try balsamic vinegar. Use the leaves in any recipe calling for spinach. I've made a mean palak paneer with chard. But I'm gonna try T's potato and egg recipe next time I cut some out of the garden.

EC

Hi,

Preserving Food is a great book, I love all of the passed down knowledge. You may also want to take a look at Preserving the Harvest by Carol Costenbader, it has some great information too.

Our first year of putting up food was filled with failed experiments and fear of illness, but we made it without sickness or death, thought if it had bubbles or smelled weird, it went to the compost.

Have you considered water canning? It really is a great way to store food for later. Plus those glass jars can be hidden under the bed or displayed on a shelf.

Chlorine in water is easily solved by letting tap water sit in an open vessel for 24 hours before you want to use it. Chlorine dissipates out of the water over time.

Good luck and have fun. There is nothing better than eating these summer vegetables in the winter.

EC

Listener Ralphine

There's a reason why life expectancies were lower before refrigeration than they are today. Stick with the Kelvinator.

Dale

If you want to try canning, save some pickle jars or spaghetti sauce jars or whatever has a sealed lid with that pop up center. You can reuse those things if the rubber on the inside of the lid is intact. It is possible to do the canning process in an oven (my sister does it) but I've always done a water bath. I don't worry about water covering the lids because if you can do it in a pressure cooker, why not just steam the jars? If it fails to seal, which happens, I just eat whatever I was putting up now instead of in the winter.

When I go to my green market buyers always want the seller to cut off the beet greens and throw them out. WHY? We always take home as much as they will give us. You'd think they'd catch on and just sell beet greens...

jen the production manager

Hey there! I MISS YOU! :o(

dei xhrist

Isn't this the kind of thing that Pueblo, Colorado was incorporated for? From the commercials I remember from before "pay TV", the town is packed with people who have devoted their lives to writing advice pamphlets for us consumers to peruse for the asking.

For all the benefits of la vida old skool, our ancestors had different pollutants to contend with - coal dust vs. chlorine, human waste vs. motor oil - I think it all comes down to your intestinal and social fortitude. Just pity the poor souls who didn't survive the first fermented fruits.

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