Saturday, April 2, 2011

When Turnabout is Not Fair Play!

Those of you who are reading this blog for advice on low-salt cooking may not know what we mean by "turnabout"!


A "turnabout" show is a show, typically a fund raiser, hosted by a club or organization, and features the staff or members , who are not typically performers, onstage dressed in the opposite gender. So now you know!




But today, the Low Salt Queen discovered a situation in which "turnabout" is not appropriate!


This is all getting really confusing, so let's backtrack a bit!


In her quest for low sodium options for her favorite foods,  the Low Sodium Queen has discovered a few of alarming voids in the commercial offerings!


First of all, one of her favorite grocery products on Earth, Ro-tel Tomatoes, does not come in a No Salt Added variety. Sacre bleu!  How will we add that spicy acidic goodness to our low-salt recipes?



Additionally, after extensive research, there does not seem to be a commercially available low salt pickle, at least not in Houston, Texas! If anyone knows of a source, please leave a comment and let me know!!






















Finally, even though Whole Paycheck offers a selection of law salt or no salt tortilla chips, there does not seem to be a source for NSA salsa, for The Queens beloved chips and salsa.  So, here are 3 common items that are a Godsend to people on low fat diets, as they are all essentially fat free foods. Still, the commercial varieties are LOADED with sodium and are therefore off limits to coronary patients who are struggling to lower their blood pressure! Quelle dommage!












This led The Queen into an extensive research and shopping frenzy, to determine if it was even feasible to create these products for herself.  


As it turns out, the tomato products are simple to create at home.  Tomatoes, fruits, and other highly acidic foods may be safely and successfully canned in a boiling water bath, which heats the food to 212 degrees and kills any "critters" the acid won't keep in check.  There are many recipes for salsa and tomatoes that may be canned in a water bath, which only requires a pot large enough to submerge the jars below 2" or simmering water.  A large pot will do,  and specialty "water bath canners" are available with a fancy jar rack for less than 50 bucks!


Most vegetables, meats, and mixed products don't contain enough acid to quell bacteria at the boiling point of 212 degrees,  so they must be heated to 240 degrees in order to provide a sanitary seal. Funny thing about water... no matter how high you turn up the stove, it boils at 212 degrees and never gets any hotter! The only way to get water hotter than 212 degrees is to vaporize and pressurize it, and that's where a pressure canner comes in!  With a pressure regulator set a 10 psi, a pressure canner's interior reaches 240 degrees, at which point all bacteria and other microuglies are rendered null and void.


So, back to the whole "turnabout" angle.  As it turns out,  there is no such "turnabout" when it comes to pressure cooking equipment.


The LSQ already owns a pressure cooker, but, as it turns out, a pressure cooker cannot be used for canning.  Because pressure cookers have no gauge to reveal the internal temperature,  there is no way to ensure that canned foods are held at a high enough temp for a long enough time to render them sanitary.


However, a pressure canner can be safely used as a pressure cooker,  since the accuracy of temperature, time, and pressure are not as critical to fresh cooked foods that are to be served immediately.


So, once the canner arrives, the LSQ will put it through rigorous testing to determine its quality, usefulness, and productivity.  The quality and taste of the home made pickles will be the determining factor of whether a pressure canner is a worthwhile investment!








2 comments:

  1. So ambitious. Maybe when I retire we will consider canning.

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