Interesting article on microwave canning

Discussion in 'Egg, Chicken, & Other Favorite Recipes' started by annmarie, Apr 23, 2009.

  1. annmarie

    annmarie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 20, 2007
    Alright, I know that microwave canning is considered unsafe here in the US, but I ran into this Australian article about this woman and her microwave canning method/book and thought it was worth posting. I can't help but wonder why it's safe for Australians but not Americans! Please note that I'm not trying to start a controversy. I know alternative canning methods have caused some heated debates in the past, but hey, this is a fascinating idea! Of course, without the book, I wouldn't dare try it!

    Perfectly preserved Isabel Wells risked burning her house down to test her revolutionary microwave bottling recipes. You too can enjoy the results of her expertise, without the hassle of burnt saucepans or scorched kitchens
    Townsville Eye (Australia)
    Section: Eye
    790 words

    DO you put metal in your microwave? No? Me either, because of ancient tales of gold edged dinner plates causing arcing and sparking. So the idea of bottling fruit in your microwave using recycled bottles with metal lids would probably not have occurred to you, unless you had already come across one of Isabel Webbs revolutionary books on microwave preserving.If you havent, she has just combined her previous publications into one updated volume, 5 Minute Microwave Bottling, and its a revelation.

    Isabel, now a sprightly 73, started her culinary career as a pastry chef before working as a home economist for electricity companies; testing new appliances, teaching and demonstrating.

    "I can remember testing the very first ever microwave that came into Australia from the US. Two men had to lift it! There were us two girls, I was only a young lass then, we kind of fiddled with it and sent it back, not very impressed" she laughed.

    Isabel had done a little bit of traditional preserving, but the standing and stirring method held little appeal, and the curse of burnt saucepans was yet another reason to seek an alternative method of preserving fruit.

    "Back in 1984 I bought too many apricots, the darn things were ripening as I was looking at them. I thought, I cant waste them, but its too hot to put them in the oven so I looked at the microwave, and thought Why not?"

    Isabel made a cap out of cardboard to fit over the metal lid of a jar so that it wouldnt come in contact with the microwaves.

    "One day the phone rang and I just popped this bottle in the microwave, pressed the button and went away and forgot it. When I came back I said, Ooh, I forgot to put the cardboard cap on. From that day on I never used them - and you dont have to," she said.

    Isabel did some research with the Comalco foil people and found that as long as there isnt more than 30 percent of metal to 70 percent of other substances in the microwave, there is no problem with preserving fruit in jars with metal lids. You can do up to four bottles at one time, although vegetables are a big no no, as they dont contain the acids that are present in fruit which prevent botulism.

    Theres been 20 years of microwave bottling experience now, but Isabel remembers when she was charting unknown territories, testing the limits of what someone using her recipe book might accidentally do.

    "I put jars of fruit in the microwave and set it for one hour. I went outside, and when I came back the house was full of smoke and there was a dark mass in the bottom of the jar, but the house didnt burn down, the bottle didnt break, it was fine," she laughed.

    "Ive tried to cover everything in the book to tell you how it works and why it works."

    The book Isabel is referring to is her latest, 5 Minute Microwave Bottling. It contains updated and revised versions of all her best just fruit, jam, chutney and sauce recipes. Its a brilliant concept, mess free, and a time and cost efficient way to preserve fruit that is full of flavour without any preservative nasties.

    "When its in season, wash it, prepare it and put it in a jar - it literally only takes minutes.

    The microwaves dont break up the fibres of the fruit like boiling does, and it holds its shape, colour and flavour. And the jams oh! Its beautiful," she said.

    With single servings a common sight in supermarkets, I wondered if you could buy a few pears, say, and put one in each jar to ensure fresh pears for dessert - long after they have disappeared from the greengrocers shelves.

    Isabel said there was no limit to what you can do. "If you have a little bit of fruit salad left over and a recycled jar - theres no expense and its so simple," she said.

    She also had a brilliant tip to prevent a stockpile of half empty jars in the fridge that may or may not have mould in them .

    "You know how youve got a jar of say, tomato paste. You use half and then its in the fridge, and when it goes mouldy you can legally throw it out?" she joked.

    I do, having only just thrown away two half empty bottles of mouldy tomato puree the previous evening.

    "After youve used what you need out of the jar, pop it in the microwave for about 30 seconds to a minute with the lid on and it will reseal it," she said. That means no more mould, folks.

    "Its amazing. Try it, and it will work. Believe me, Ive put a lot of hours in to make it work."

    5 Minute Microwave Bottling by Isabel Webb, rrp $22.99, published by The Five Mile Press.

    Copyright, 2009, Nationwide News Pty Limited

    edited to add: I just noticed this is my 300th post! (And it only took me a few years to get there!)
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2009
  2. Ol'FashionHen

    Ol'FashionHen Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 24, 2008
    The South
    Thanks annmarie, it is very can you imagine how many folks are gonna be blowin' up their microwaves tryin' this [​IMG]
    that includes me..[​IMG]
  3. 2DogsFarm

    2DogsFarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 10, 2009
    NW Indiana
    My "antique" (over 15yo) micorwave came with an instruction book that said it was okay to put some metal in the oven.

    Things like the metal tins pot pies used to come in, or a pie plate.
    I recall baking a pre-made piecrust in the foil pan it came in and nothing blew up.

    This would be a great way to preserve fruit.
    I have 3 apple trees, 2 pear trees and a peach tree and just me living here. [​IMG]
    Right now I freeze the surplus because there is no WIH I am going to boil jars!
    But if I could bottle & microwave the fruit...Ecstasy!

    Who's gonna go first and post here on why or not it works?
  4. ChknLvnFam

    ChknLvnFam Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 4, 2008
    Central Kentucky
    We do have a spare microwave floating around right now...this might be a fun experiment. On a side note: did you know you can make plasma in your microwave using nothing more than a grape? It's something fun to try with the kids!
  5. msgenie516

    msgenie516 The Happy Hen

    May 16, 2008
    Nesconset, LI, NY

    I do remember when I got my first microwave (a huge, expensive thing--brand name Litton) that the instruction book did tell you that a small amount of metal was allowed if there was enough food to offset it--that was back in the days when I read instructions! I never tried it, though, and I'm not sure I will. I can't risk damaging my built-in microwave as it will be a big problem to replace. If I get a garage sale bargain, then I might try it, perhaps outdoors! Thanks for the info! [​IMG] Genie
  6. traildad

    traildad Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 11, 2011
    Here is something I found about this idea.

    "Microwave Processing Microwave oven cannot be used for home canning. Microwaved food reaches 212 F but heating is not uniform. There is also a danger of explosion of the jars within the microwave oven or as food is being removed from the oven. "
  7. CDennis

    CDennis Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 1, 2009
    My microwave actually came with this fancy metal rack so I could do two things at once. I took it out...I am going to have to try this.
  8. elizabethbinary

    elizabethbinary Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 22, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    One reason why it might work in Australia and not America: Our wattage/voltage is different from yours.
  9. justbugged

    justbugged Head of the Night Crew for WA State

    Jan 27, 2009
    Quote:That is a critical piece of information. Thank you for mentioning it.

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