HealthyCanning.com aims to direct people towards information on canning that is safe and healthy in all aspects, both short-term and long-term.
We are not scientific researchers or credentialled canning experts; we are communicators about the work of those who are, working to reinforce the dissemination of the science and principles behind safe, quality home food preservation more broadly in the public realm and to combat misinformation.
Healthy Canning is operated as a sub-site of the food encyclopaedia, CooksInfo. The body of knowledge for home canning is so specialized that it was deemed best to hive it off into its own web site.
See also: FAQ
- 1 Healthy Canning’s Goals
- 2 Healthycanning.com’s principles
- 3 What’s unique about the HealthCanning.com site?
- 4 Who sponsors this site?
Healthy Canning’s Goals
The site has a few specific goals.
GOAL ONE: Provide no original answers or advice
We do not give any original advice; we are constantly surveying the literature from reputable experts in the field to assemble their advice for you to make it easy for you to find and follow.
When the experts disagree on minor things (should lids be pre-warmed or not), we’ll present the viewpoints of both.
If you have additional deeper questions, all advice is always fully sourced so that you can contact the source of the advice for further elaboration.
If someone has done something that deviates from the canning recommendations and is seeking advice as to whether their canning can be safely salvaged, we will direct them to resources such as Master Food Preserver groups who are trained to give such advice.
It’s the job of the reputable experts to do the scientific research, develop the recommendations and recipes, and do the knowledge transfer on that. Our aim is just to further promote that knowledge transfer to help it compete more successfully against misinformation out there on the Internet.
GOAL TWO: Provide transparency and clarity
We aim to provide transparency and clarity for the canning recommendations that come from reputable sources.
We’ll do this by exploring the evolving history of recommendations, who made them, who changed them, why, what the current recommendations are from various reputable sources, and if the reputable sources disagree on some matters, how they disagree and what different advice they offer.
We’ll also dig into background context and rationale.
The hope is that this will help curious and open-minded home preservers of all ages from anywhere in the world be more willing to accept modern canning recommendations.
GOAL THREE: Tested recipes
We will only work with tested recipes from reputable sources.
In addition to that, we will provide background discussion information around those recipes, when appropriate.
While most reputable authorities have a policy to say a flat NO to any discussion of any variation, in truth, amongst themselves they often do vary. For instance, for applesauce Ball / Bernardin Complete requires bottled lemon juice to be added, Ball Blue Book says it is optional and you could use fresh if desired, and the USDA does not mention it at all.
We’ll point out when they contradict each other: though that won’t win us any popularity contests, we think informed canners want to know.
We’ll also point out safe options (e.g. bottled lime juice instead of vinegar? leave sugar out of water when canning grapes?) if and as provided by the experts.
We’ll also point out how the recipes evolved, when that knowledge is available.
GOAL FOUR: Healthy recipes
Many home canning recipes date from the first half of the 1900s, when the nutritional focus of diets in North America was on people having a diet that provided adequate calories. This was particularly true during the depression, when food was not always affordable, and during WWI and WW2, when governments wanted to make sure home-front workers had enough energy to keep the factories going! In this regard, sugar was a miracle ingredient: calorie-laden, increasingly cheap, and people naturally loved it.
Since then, both the U.S. and Canada are gone from calorie-deficit mode to obesity-crisis mode, with excess hidden sugar in foods almost certainly being one of the culprits. Home canning recipes for the most part have not kept up with the changing nutritional needs of the times, because government departments have largely stopped regarding home canning recipe development as any kind of priority for programme funding. So, we have ended up with a corpus of home canning recipes for which the majority of preserve-type recipes (jams, jellies, relishes, pickles, etc.) are still addressing the nutritional needs for an era gone by with an exuberant use of sugar.
To help address this, Healthy Canning will focus on tested recipes that can be made with reduced sugar, or no sugar. There actually are many. Those looking for full-sugar recipes will have no difficulty finding them, as they compose the majority of recipes on other canning sites.
GOAL FIVE: Science over gut-feeling or tradition
We will always let current science based on current research, as provided by reputable experts in the home canning field, rule over opinion and habit.
We will not treat all opinions as “equal”. We make no apologies for believing that opinions coming from certified, credentialled people who are have dedicated their careers to working in a field are worth far more than those from people who are not.
That being said, we will not set aside critical thinking about the recommendations, either. The research consensus is always evolving, the current understanding of the science is not infallible, and sometimes opinions are conflated with actual findings in ways that just don’t pass a logic test. When this happens, the logic and consistency is fair game for challenge.
We also believe that there are some areas in which things are not black and white.
- Safe canning following science-based guidelines published by the United States Department of Agriculture, National Center for Home Food Preservation, and Newell companies such as Ball and Bernardin;
- Present and promote science-based information;
- Understanding the whys of the above guidelines so that home canning can be done with confidence;
- Source all information so that readers can trace it back to the canning authorities where it originated;
- Be intellectually honest — if bad advice has a history, present that history and address why it’s considered bad now;
- Bring the informational tools needed for safe home canning to other countries beyond North America;
- Look for opportunities for safe canning with less added salt and sugar.
What’s unique about the HealthCanning.com site?
The HealthyCanning.com site has several unique aspects.
- The “curious canner” part. Today’s modern home canners want to know the why behind the various recommendations. So in sections of the site such as Home Canning Concepts, we explore what the experts say about the why;
- The site only works with current lab-tested home canning recipes from reputable sources;
- The site gives weight equivalents, something that today’s generation of home canners has long been asking for, as well as measurements in metric, US and UK, so that everyone everywhere from Australia to Germany to Ohio can work with the recipes in ways they are comfortable with;
- The site addresses home canners from all over the world;
- Working with tested recipes and guidance from reputable sources, we make suggestions on how to safely reduce or eliminate the extremely high levels of sugar and salt in many of those recipes, while still maintaining both safety, quality and deliciousness.
- The site gives full nutritional information on the home canning recipes so that canners can make informed decisions about whether a particular home canning recipe is actually “healthy” or not.
Who sponsors this site?
HealthCanning.com is a sub-project of CooksInfo, the largest food encyclopaedia on the Internet. CooksInfo specializes in bringing people factual, documented, food information. The topic of home canning is so specialized that it merited a separate site.
There are no trained micro-biologists, scientists or Master Food Preservers on staff. Instead, as “food researchers” rigorously dedicated to research-based information about food, we rely on such people — from the USDA, from the Cooperative Extension Service, and from their reputable private sector partners — to provide such information.
This site has no affiliation with any of the above, remunerated or unremunerated.
Though the site runs advertisements in order to pay for its overhead, it does not run any sponsored posts.
We see it as our duty to make sure we report on their work as faithfully as possible, citing their own words and findings as often as possible, in order to help promote the applied knowledge tools they have created.