Boiling Jars Instead of using PC

Nan's Nook : Archives : Pressure Cooker : Pressure Cooker 101 : Steamer : Boiling Jars Instead of using PC
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Steaming Jars  -    

By Rick (Npno) on Thursday, November 22, 2001 - 03:13 am:

hey guys, I have a few questions about boiling the jars. If they are only covered with foil how can the substrat not get completely saturated with water inside? Seconded question, how long should the jars be boiled for to become contaminant free? Also can anyone tell me if the success rate using this technique is high and worth while to attempt it. thanks

By Nan (Nanook) on Thursday, November 22, 2001 - 03:31 am:

Oh boy... Boiling Jars... I swear I have never boiled a jar in my life.

But if I was going to, I will tell you what I would do. Then... Listen to those who actually have done it because I honestly have no experience.

I would get a good sized stock pot with a tight fitting lid. I think a tight fitting lid may be important.

You don't want to set the jars directly on the bottom of the pot. You need a standoff plate, something to raise the jars off the bottom of the pot. It is said that a couple of layers of dish towels is the bare minimum.

You need Foil Covers on the jar. You should Stack Jars and fill the pot with water until the water line is 1/2 way up the sides of the bottom jars.

Turn the heat on high and place the cover on tightly. You can pile some weight on the lid, some even place a foil sheet over the top of the pot as a gasket then pile weight.

Heat on high until steam is venting from the lid, then reduce heat until steam is barely escaping and begin timing.

People say if you steam PF Jars this way for one hour the majority of jars sterilized are indeed sterile.

Now listen to sombody who has actually tried it...

By UnkyHerb (Notapplicable) on Thursday, November 22, 2001 - 04:37 am:

Works for me and all I do is get a nice sized pot, put a towel on the bottom, stack my jars as many as I can fit, fill half way with water, then boil with the lid on ;)

By Rick (Npno) on Thursday, November 22, 2001 - 05:40 am:

thanks for the help

By Rick (Npno) on Thursday, November 22, 2001 - 05:54 am:

Sorry to bug everyone again but one of my questions was not answered the most important one

how long should the jars be boiled

By An guy (Boomer) on Thursday, November 22, 2001 - 07:45 am:

I went 20 minutes, and then I got to thinking, that can't be enough, so I went 45 on the next batch.

They all came out fine- thing is, steam gets created on the inside of the jars and live steam kills on contact. The problem with lots of sterilzations is getting steam in every nook and cranny- we're lucky, we have steam in the very thing we're sterilizing. Add to that the fact that if you're using PF tek, you ain't using whole grains, which can be hard to permeate with killing steam- but broken up grains, you've already breached the bran barrier, so the grain particles sterilize relatively easily.

I would say long enough to get a good head of steam in the jars- half hour, maybe. 45 minutes- as long as it takes to cook a pot of rice- if the rice is soft, it's absorbed the water, which, at the steri temps is in the form of steam, so it's sterilized through. So, you're more or less cooking a pot of rice, only it's actually cooked in a shorter time than a pot of rice would be cooked because the grain is broken up. 45 minutes should be ample.

You can run your own tests- do a couple blanks, jars that you dont' innoculate. Let 'em sit for a time, check for contams. A week or two. I'm betting they'll be clean, if all other things are sterile.

I'm gonna do some tests just to see how low can I go...

By Martaxus (Martaxus) on Thursday, November 22, 2001 - 08:35 am:

I use a pressure cooker without the weight(lost), and steam-boil for 45 minutes without problems.

By SYDYSTYK (Addict) on Thursday, November 22, 2001 - 09:33 am:

what kind of pc?

By Lichen (Lichen) on Thursday, November 22, 2001 - 04:39 pm:

Rick, Nanook laid it out pretty well for someone who doesn't know how to steam a jar.
Steam for an hour.
A standoff plate or some other device to keep the jars off the bottom of the pot is critical; if you don't do that, the jars _will_ break. Use a 2 piece vegetable steamer with foil stretched over the top, and put the lid on over the foil. The reason for this is your water will boil away before the hour's up. Also, once the steam begins to vent in earnest, lower heat to low because your water will boil away.
I also wrap foil around the top of the pot, just to try to keep the steam in....looking for a tight seal.

By jared (Jared112) on Thursday, November 22, 2001 - 08:03 pm:

I had 100% of my jars be contam free the first time I boiled them in a pot. I did it for 1.5 hours, I think that unless your using some kind of substrate other than PF TEK (BRF and Verm) you should be fine. Lids can be tight, it don't matter, I tried it both with lids tight and loose, some of the loose ones got water inside of them so I had to toss them and start new ones. Just keep your lids tight with foil on top and then boil for an hour and a half you will be A-OK

By Martaxus (Martaxus) on Friday, November 23, 2001 - 08:01 pm:

Sydystyk, it's a 'Presto' brand cooker; I can put 4 jars in at a time on top of the metal insert. Works ok...

By erik9030 (Kire39) on Friday, November 23, 2001 - 09:02 pm:

I always add 5 to 10 ML of extra water to the substrate formula and then steam the jars for 1:45 at as low a boil as possible. The long steaming helps ensure sterilization. I add the extra water to make up for the additional dehydration that will occur when lengthening sterilization time. Also, I wasn't sure if RICK(NPLO) realizes that the jars should have their lids kept on loosely through the steaming process. The foil goes on over the loosened lid only to ward off water that may drip down or slosh up into the jars. I usually loosen the lids until they are on the last thread of the jar. In other words, you could pick the jar up by the lid, but the lid should be able to move loosely. I dont wrap the foil around the lid very tightly at all. The foils main function is to keep water out, not steam.

By Lichen (Lichen) on Friday, November 23, 2001 - 09:17 pm:

actually it works fine even if you tighten the jar lids. Remember the steam will bring the interior of the jar up to sterilization temps simply by contact with the outside of the jars. Steam doesn't need to 'penetrate' the jars at all, because the water in the jars becomes steam. That's why if you leave the lids loose and steam too long, too much of your substrate water will escape, resulting in dry jars and failure

By SYDYSTYK (Addict) on Friday, November 23, 2001 - 10:02 pm:

you can get a replacement weight

By Brad (Raze) on Friday, November 09, 2001 - 10:11 pm:

When boiling jars, does the lid have to be tight? Because to hold them off teh bottom the only thing I can find is a basket from a deep fryer about the same size. This will leave the lid open a bit though

By Nan (Nanook) on Friday, November 09, 2001 - 10:40 pm:

The lid to the steamer pot must be tight, some people even weigh them down to get a better seal. Try a dishrag on the bottom, it works OK.

By Brad (Raze) on Friday, November 09, 2001 - 11:18 pm:

Fold it up, or just single layer?

By Nan (Nanook) on Saturday, November 10, 2001 - 07:25 am:

I would guess you want 2-3 layers, and make sure you have enough water in there. Heat on med-high until the pot simmers and steam vents. If you can weight the lid do so. Reduce heat until steam is just venting. Start timing.

By Brad (Raze) on Saturday, November 10, 2001 - 11:34 pm:

So what do I do if the water runs low? Shut her down? Then what?
I know pouring cold water in there would only spell disaster (CRAASH!)

By Lichen (Lichen) on Saturday, November 10, 2001 - 11:56 pm:

run the tap water hot, and add some, or better yet, keep another pot of boiling water that you can dip out of

By Lichen (Lichen) on Sunday, November 11, 2001 - 12:01 am:

Brad, also, I use foil to seal up the pot as best as possible. Just put it under the lid, so effectively you have foil for a seal, and the lid holds it down. My pot has a bent lid, so it doesn't keep the steam in very well, so I use the foil, and it works.

By Brad (Raze) on Sunday, November 11, 2001 - 10:09 pm:

Hmmm... foil... What an excellent idea.