Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Weck canning jars - important step that I missed...

Remember all those cherries that I washed, pitted, and canned way back in June?  All 18 lbs?  I was so proud to use my new Weck jars.
On this cool, crisp morning, I decided to treat myself to a few cherries in yogurt.  So I opened up a jar...but it wasn't sealed.  I reached for another, snapped off the clips, and IT wasn't sealed.   Panicking, I went to Weck's website and read this:

"Jar after cooling down
A vacuum now prevails in the jar. The normal pressure of the surrounding air outside the jar presses the lid down on the jar, thus firmly sealing it. The spring clamps required during the canning process are now unnecessary and should definitely be removed after the jars have cooled down."

So, the clips should "definitely be removed after the jars have cooled down".  

That's interesting.  I left the clips on.  I wonder why they need to be removed?  The website goes on to say:

"Why is it absolutely necessary to remove the spring clamps after the processed jars have cooled down?
After processing, the spring action of the clamps is replaced by the natural force exerted on the vacuum inside the jar from the pressure of the air outside the jar. If you were to leave the spring clamps on the jar, you would not, by trying to lift off the lid, be able to test whether the jar was properly processed and sealed or not. This simple, but extremely important seal-test ( the "lid-lifting" test) cannot be performed when using jars with a thread type, a wire-bail type of closure or any other mechanical sealing devices."

I'm pretty sure that I read their website when I first purchased the jars.  I don't remember seeing any of this information.  Maybe it's been recently added?  Or maybe I just missed it.

Later today, I removed all of the clips and checked the jars.  Fortunately, I only lost 4 jars of cherries and none of the more recently canned beans or apple pie filling. 

 Note to self (and other Weck users!): Remove the clips when jars are cool and check the seals.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Cabbage worm myth - debunked!

Such a pretty little butterfly.  Such a destructive little larvae!  Cabbage worms abound on my brassicas this year, so I just purchased a roll of floating row cover.  But it's too late for the ones that are already being munched on.  What to do?  Search the internet, of course!  Hmmm...here's a possible solution: "Simply sprinkle a mixture of flour and baking soda onto the leaves.  Then, when the cabbage worms eat the baking soda, they die."  Sounds easy, right?  Wrong :(

Well, I actually did the sprinkling thing, but I decided to go one step further.  I put 2 large cabbage worms into the leftover baking soda / flour container to see what would happen.  After 2 1/2 days they are still going strong - happily eating all the baking soda / flour they desire.  (I know they are eating, cause I see the poop.)

If anybody has actually had luck with this method, please let me know.  Otherwise, I suggest we save our flour and baking soda for the kitchen!

UPDATE:  I washed off the brassicas today and noticed that the flour/baking soda mixture actually bleached out the leaves in some places.