Has anyone tried canning over an open fire? How did you set it up and are there any recommendations or thing to avoid?
My grandmother used to can over an open fire in a metal 55 gallon drum that had been cut in half down the center with supporting legs welded underneath. She would build a fire under it and bring the water to a boil, I can still remember the rumbling of those Mason jars as the water churned around them.
Today, I use an old metal wash tub (not galvanized) that I found at a dump. I raise it off the ground with concrete blocks and build a fire under it to boil the water.
I built a rack out of heavy gauge wire that fits inside the tub this keep jars from being directly on the bottom surface of the tub and a few inches away from the heat source.
You can safely can high-acid products, such as fruit, tomatoes or pickles, this way, but low-acid foods, such as beans requires a pressure canner. The temperature for killing bacteria in low-acid foods must reach about 240 degrees, far above the temperature of boiling water.
If you are new to canning, I suggest you get a copy of Ball’s Blue Book Guide to Canning it has detailed but easy to follow information.
– M.D. Creekmore
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