Botulism and canning – the whys and wherefores

I’ve been thinking about writing this article for a while, since I’ve explained all of this numerous times over the years, both here and elsewhere; but, when a recent comment on this forum mentioned canning Kale and the response was asking if it could be water bath canned, I knew that folks did not understand some very basic things about canning and botulism. This article will attempt to explain the why of water bath vs. pressure canning; all based on the life cycle of the bacterium Clostridium Botulinum (Cl .Botulinum).

Let’s start with something that everyone probably understands: the common yeast. Yeast is a living organism and like all organisms, it requires food that it digests after which it then excretes waste. In the case of the yeast, the food is sugar and the excrement is alcohol. It’s a simple process that we use to make beer, wine, and distilled spirits.

How to make your own apple cider vineger

We all know the health benefits of real apple cider vinegar-and just how expensive it is. I decided to make some and used information from a couple of older books. It is easy to do and you don’t need a cider press, just patience as the fermenting and souring process take time.

CAUTION!! Remember that any vinegar you use in canning must be 5% acidic to be safe. Do not use city water because the chlorine will kill your bacteria and yeast. Do not use metal containers – only glass, plastic or ceramic crocks.

  • 1 gallon glass jar
  • 1/2 gallon water – well or purified
  • 1/2 cup each of honey and organic sugar
  • apple cores and peels – any variety will work, but I like to mix tart and sweet
  • 1/2 cup raw apple cider vinegar (ACV)
  • 1 teaspoon dry bread yeast – if needed


One of the most immediate problems during a prolonged power outage is keeping the food in your fridge and freezer from spoiling. In the coming hard times we expect the power to be out for a long time—estimates vary from a few weeks to over a year depending on your location. How will you keep food from spoiling during that time? And what will you do with the valuable food in your fridge and freezer as it warms up?

You can buy yourself more time by keeping spare space in the top of your freezer full of ice (frozen water bottles or ice packs that can be moved in and out as space permits). The ice will act as a temporary emergency backup and keep the food below it frozen longer. A full freezer also runs more efficiently. You can put a few ice containers in the fridge to keep it cooler too. In the 40s and 50s many houses had an “icebox” instead of a refrigerator. These were small insulated containers that were literally cooled by a block of ice in a container on top. The ice was harvested in the winter from lakes in massive blocks by teams of men and horses. It was stored in barns or big cellars covered with deep piles of hay as insulation.

How I Do Long Term Food Storage

Today’s Featured YouTube Video : Homesteading Skill Sets and Tips

Hunter Gatherer Skills That Every Survivalist Should Have

As a survivalist, you will be hunting and maybe raising your own food. With that comes the responsibility of knowing how to do these things and how to store them effectively. You will need to know how to hunt, raise, preserve, and how to prepare it.

Food Freezing Tips: How Long Can You Store Meals in Your Freezer? [Infographic]

Click on infographic for larger view…

Frozen Food - Recommended Storage Times

Fermentation as a Means of Food Preservation: Part IV

Today we present another article in our non-fiction writing contest – by Bam Bam I would be remiss if I wrote a series on fermentation and neglected to mention yogurt. So, last night I made my first batch of yogurt. I can tell you it is incredibly easy (and delicious). The total cost was just over $2 […]

Fermentation as a Means of Food Preservation: Part III

I want to learn everything I can about ancient methods of food preservation. I would like to learn how people in Mediterranean prepared sun-dried tomatoes and brined olives. I would like to know how pre-Columbian cultures in Peru and Bolivia freeze-dried potatoes and how ancient Japanese and Koreans freeze-dried fish and other meats. I would also like to know how native peoples of the Americas preserved meat with pemmican.

Knowing how to preserve food is an important skill and in a post collapse, grid down society, it will be essential. Modern methods of food preservation—canning, mechanical refrigeration and freezing, and irradiation have only been around for a hundred or so years—and may not be available in the future.

Fermentation as a Means of Food Preservation: Part II

You don’t need a whole lot of stuff to start fermenting and I suspect that folks here have just about everything necessary already on hand. If you’ve got a well-stocked kitchen, you are set. You’ll need a vegetable peeler and some sharp knives, a couple of large bowls and the stuff you use for canning—mason jars, canning funnel, etc. I prefer to use the white plastic lids for many of my ferments.