Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Modern Guide to Home Canning Info for Retort Canning

New Information: USDA Publications
USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning, 2009 revision


There is no Scientific Data on canning Retorts in a home Canner from the USDA or FDA. The suggested times for canning retorts is from our experience not from any official scientific research.  Can at your own risk! We take no responsibility for failures. Be safe with all home canning in cans, jars or retorts.  Reheat before You Eat!

We extend the time of the canner by 30% to insure the entire canner is up to the proper temp and time. 


We have had several requests for a chart to Modern Canning times and temperatures used for pressure canning all types of products.  This content was taken from the National Pressure Cooker Company. The booklet was called:
Modern Guide to Pressure Canning and Cooking.
A complete manual on the science of canning and cooking under steam pressure. 

The following headers are:

Meat Pare Cooked                                             Time Tables:
Product: // Pressure Pounds  1/2 pt< = (2 or 4oz Retort) // Pint =(8oz Retort) Quart=(16oz Retort)

Beef Loaf             10lbs        65 min                 75 min        90 min  We Retort Can 20-30% longer time!

Beef Roll              10lbs        65 min                 75 min        90 min

Chili Con Carne   15lbs        70 min                  70 min       90 min

Corned Beef        10lbs        65 min                  75 min       90 min

Beef, Pork,

Lamb or Veal      10lbs        65min                75min        90 min

Bologna Sausage 10lbs        65min                75min        90 min

Chopped Meat    10lbs        65 min               75 min       90 min

Goulash               10lbs        65 min               75 min       90 min

Heart                   10lbs        65 min               75 min      90 min

(Beef, Calf, Lamb,
Pork, Plain or Fried) 10lbs        65 min            75 min           90 min

Meat Balls              10lbs          65 min            75 min           90 min

Meat Loaf              10lbs          65 min            75 min           90 min

Roast Meat
(Beef, Lamb, Pork,
Veal, or Mutton)     10lbs          65 min           75 min           90 min

Steaks or Chops     10lbs          65 min           75 min           90 min

(Beef, Veal, Mutton,
Lamb or Venison)    10lbs       65 min            75 min           90 min

Hot Tamales            10lbs       65 min            75 min           90 min

Boiled Tongue          10lbs      65 min            75 min           90 min

Spiced Tongue         10lbs      65 min            75 min           90 min

Jellied Pigs Feet        10lbs     65 min            75 min           90 min

Pork Sausage           10lbs     65 min            75 min          90 min

Spareribs                 10lbs      65 min            75 min           90 min

Pork Tenderloin       10lbs      65 min            75 min           90 min

With Bones               10lbs     55 min            65 min          75min
Without Bones          10 lbs    65 min            75 min          90 min

Wild Duck,Quail
and Other Game Birds   10lbs     65min         75 min          90 min

Venison                        10lbs      65 min        75 min          90 min

The following foods are raw pack meats: Recommend only small packages:

Head Cheese                15lbs         75 min         75 min                 ------

Clams and Oysters         10lbs        70 min         70 min                 ------

Crab Meat                    10lbs         80 min         80 min                 ------

Fish _ General               10lbs         80 min         80 min                 ------

Lobster                         10lbs         90 min        90 min                 ------

Salmon                         10lbs         100 min       100 min                ------

   Wet Pack                  10lbs         45 min          45 min                 ------
    Dry Pack                  10 lbs        90 min          90 min                 ------

Tuna Fish                      10 lbs       100 min        100 min               ------

Use 2 quarts water in Cooker for all processing.
Time and pressure given in this chart apply only to altitudes 2,000 feet or less. If altitude is over 2,000 feet,
add 1 pound pressure for each additional 2,000 feet. Do not increase processing time.
Raw products should have salt added for preserving. Some like salt added directly in the packet others like a soak of 1 to 2 hours in salted water 1/2 cup salt to 1 gallon water.


Many families are able to cann considerable quantities of meat at butchering time or when sales provide the best prices. Those who are near enough to the source of supply are able to buy meat and poultry at reasonable pries during seasons of plenty, and are able to cann for seasons when supply is scarce or prices are high. Culling time is a good time to cann poultry. Only meat from healthy animals and birds should be used.

All meats and poultry should be handled carefully to avoid contamination from the time of slaughtering until the products are canned.  Animals should be correctly slaughtered, canned promptly or kept under refrigeration until processed, but not frozen for best quality. It is possible to cann frozen meats, but they do not usually make as high quality products as when they are canned fresh. Then, too it is well to remember that all body heat should be out of the animal carcass before meat is canned or vacuum sealed. Do not vacuum seal warm meats!
Most meats need only be wiped with a damp cloth.  However, certain strong flavored fish and game may be soaked in salt water before canning if desired.  Use lean meat for canning; remove most of the fat.  Cut off gristle and remove large bones. 

Cut into pieces convenient for canning, not more than 21/2 to 3 inches in diameter.  Steaks can be cut about 1 inch think. Other meat may be cut into cubes.

Precook meat until red color changes to brown, it can be either broiled, fried, or roasted.  Meat should not be browned with flour nor should flour be used in the gravy of meat used for canning.  It is desirable to use a little gravy or broth with hot packed meats.  Make the broth from bones and scrapes not used for canning.  Meat may be pare-cooked in the broth.  Use 1 teaspoon salt to each quart of meat.  More may be used to suit individual taste or may be added at serving time.

Fish should be canned only when fresh. Since all fish are not canned the same way, it is advisable to write the United States Department of Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service for their Conservation Bulletin No. 28 "Home Canning of Fishery Products," for detailed information on processing fish.

When fish is canned, use only very fresh fish that has been thoroughly cleaned.  Wash in fresh water.  Remove back bone from larger fish; leave it in smaller ones to help hold piece together.  Precook slightly by frying, baking or boiling.  When frying, use a minimum amount of fat. Chill product completely before vacuum packing.

Never hot pack in retort pouches.  All product must be cooled completely before vacuum sealing.  Then remain in a cold environment until placed directly into the pressure canner for processing. 

The next processing time table is Fruits: Raw

Apples              5lbs               10 min

Apples Sauce    5lbs               8 min

Crab apples      5lbs               10 min

Apricots            5lbs               10 min

(Except Strawberries)  5lbs      10 min

Cherries             5lbs               10 min

Cranberries        5lbs               10 min

Figs                    5lbs               10 min

Grapes               5lbs                8 min

Peaches             5lbs                10 min

Pears                 5lbs                10 min

Persimmons       5lbs                10 min

Plums                5lbs                 10 min

Prunes               5lbs                 10 min

Quinces             5lbs                 15 min

Red Raspberries  5lbs               8 min

Rhubarb             5lbs                 5lbs

Strawberries       5lbs                 5lbs

Use 2 Quarts minimum water in Cooker for all processing

Time and pressure given in this chart apply only to altitudes 2,000 feet or less. If altitude is over 2,000 feet, add 1 pound pressure for each additional 2,000 feet. Do not increase processing time.

Processing Time Table for Vegetables

Asparagus         10lbs        20 min             25 min            55 min

Beans, Baked    10lbs        75 min              85 min            90 min

Beans, Lima      10lbs         40 min             45 min             60 min

Beans, Snap or Wax  10lbs     25 min             30 min            35 min

Beets, Baby
(whole or sliced)  10lbs         30 min             35 min            55 min

Carrots, Young    10lbs         20 min             25 min            30 min

Corn, Whole Kernel 10lbs    60 min             65 min             85 min

Corn on Cob            10lbs     60 min             65 min             75 min

Eggplant                   10lbs    35 min             40 min             45 min

Greens, All Kinds     10lbs    60 min             60 min             70 min

Kohlrabi                   10lbs     30 min             35 min             40 min

Mushrooms              10lbs      25 min            35 min              40 min

Okra                        10lbs      25 min             30 min              45 min

Okra Tomatoes        10lbs      25 min             30 min              40 min

Okra, Tomatoes, Corn  10lbs   60 min             65min                85 min

Parsnips             10lbs        30 min             30 min               35 min

Peas, Green             10lbs        30 min            30 min               -------

Peas, Black-eyed     10lbs       30 min             30 min              -------

Peppers, Pimento     10lbs       10 min             10 min               -------

Pumpkin, Mashed     10lbs       75min              75 min              90 min


Sliced or Diced         10lbs       30 min             35 min          35min

Squash, Summer,

Crookneck, and Zucchini   10lbs   20min       35min       40min

Squash, Winter Hubbard,

Banana, Cubed          10lbs       50min            55min            90min

Succotash                 10lbs        60min           75 min           90 min

Sweet Potatoes         10lbs       75 min          90 min            90min

Tomatoes                 5lbs          10min           10min             10min

Turnips                    10lbs        30 min          35min             35min

The guidelines you see here on this post are just that "guidelines".  If you are an inexperienced canner please contact your local extension office for full canning instructions.  This chart is a guideline for canning foods and used to translate into canning with retort pouches.

Pitfalls to Avoid:

Do your canning as directed.... via a reliable source such as put out by the National Pressure Cooker Company or other leading pressure canning sources and you need not worry about the "don'ts" list here. But to help you acquire a greater knowledge of correct canning practices-- and know just what to avoid... these are the "never-never" rules of canning.

  • NEVER let the cooker boil dry. Be sure to use sufficient water
  • NEVER set retort pouches on the bottom of the Cooker --Use basket
  • NEVER crowd in more retort pouches than the canner can easily hold. Do not pack tightly leave space between bags to allow for steam to move freely as it would with a jar.
  • NEVER  try to raise pressure until cover is securely locked in place according to your pressure canner directions.
  • NEVER try to raise the pressure until all the air has been driven out of the cooker by the steam escaping through the petcock.
  • NEVER let pressure fluctuate during processing of food any more than can possibly be avoided.  Abrupt changes in pressure may burst the seams in the retort bag.
  • NEVER open petcock during the processing period while canning.
  • NEVER open petcock before the pressure falls to zero-- at that point, petcock must be open slowly. 
  • NEVER lay wet cloths on cover or place Cooker in water to attempt to speed cooling of cooker.  This reduces pressure in cooker more rapidly than pressure in retorts bags and will cause them to burst.
  • NEVER force cover off cooker.  Be sure petcock is completely open and there is no pressure in cooker.
  • NEVER NEVER NEVER!! Process food that has been standing to long, or has become warm at room temperature or more!  The shortest period from vacuum sealing to canner possible. To extend the time place all vacuum sealed products in refrigerator and keep very cold until placing directly into canner for processing.
  • NEVER begin to count processing time until required pressure is reached.
  • NEVER forget to read and follow directions closely as how to use your canner.
  • NEVER reuse retort pouches.
  • NEVER pack food to tightly in retort pouches do not over fill capacity.
  • NEVER eat food from a retort that has inflated with air.
  • Check all seams and seals on each bag.  Any open bags should be refrigerated and used with in 24 hours.  After storage check all seals and seams do not use open bags.
Retort canning is very safe and is widely used in commercial canning of foods for retail use.  Home use of these bags is easy and fun.  Use safe food practices, keep all product very cold until placed in canner for processing.  Retort pouches do not contain any BPA and are food grade safe. 

This guide is for your information only. PMG is not responsible for any miss use or abuse, any damage one may cause themselves via reading this information. PMG is void of all liability.  This is information only, a guideline only, it is your responsibility to further educate yourself on the pros and cons of home canning.


Retort Canning of has NO Scientific data from the FDA or USDA for home canners.  The concerns come from non acid foods such as meats!  We are expressing our experiences, but by no way are these experiences authorized data. Can at your own risk!  
As they say, "Re-Heat before you Eat" on any home canned product in glass, cans or retort for best safety practices.  
All home canning is AT YOUR OWN RISK! 

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Retort Canning and My Vacuum Sealer


This summer has been a different canning experience.  We have been using retort pouches to can our summer fish, meats and other food products. Retort pouches are flexible cans and contain no BPA.  The loaded retort bag first must be vacuum packed with an industrial vacuum sealer equipped with a heat bar upgrade to seal the bags. Most industrial vacuum sealers do not have the proper heat bar to give the correct seal to the retort bag. Ask here(1-800-227-3769)
 Then the product is placed in a pressure cooker.  We usually run meats at 10 lbs of pressure for 75 to 90 minutes depending on the amount of product in each bag.  Ready cooked meals, such as soups, stews, pastas, are canned at 10 lbs pressure for 60-90 minutes depending on the ingredients, such as vegetables only or meats included.  Meat products run longer and higher pressure than just fruits or vegetables only. We have followed our canning instructions found in the Ball Canning books or our pressure canning instructions manual, they are very specific for each type food and quantity for time and pressure.

The finished product is a flexible can, shelf stable, easy to open and non breakable.  They are lite weight, wonderful for back packing and hiking.  We put them in our RV and some in the boat, in the cabin and in the trunk of the car for emergency times. These wonderful  homemade meals can stay in these locations with out worry of spoilage.  Protect them from rodents in a bucket or container if needed.  Although rodents can not smell the product they can chew threw the flexible can.

We have found that we can fit 24 of the 4oz packs in our small #7 caner. They stand on their sides with plenty of air space between bags.   They fit into a small box after canning and take up 1/4 the space the glass jars take up in our storage room.  We may still use some glass jars just because we have them, but the retort pouches are very easy and fast becoming the item to grab for a quick lunch or travel companion.

We found video information about how to do this at

Here are some home pictures of our canning experience. 

The above picture is a 4 oz retort and 1/4 pint jar they equal the same product.

The above picture is our MiniPack MVS31 from http://www.vacuumpackers.com/
It has the upgraded heat bar to seal retort packages.  We can fit 2 of the 4oz packs or 1 of the 8oz packs per vacuum process.  Remember while packing the food in the retort bags, put the already vacuum packed product in the refrigerator or on ice. Do not let the vacuum packed product become warm or even room temperature as this is dangerous and can cause serious bacteria call botulism to grow. Retort canning is very safe when proper food handling procedures are followed.

The above picture is 24 of the 4oz retort packages filled with food kept very cold and ready to be pressure canned. The packages are very cold, the water in the caner is cold.  The process starts off "completely cold". With every batch the caner reaches steam evacuates the air, we closed the valve and allow the pressure to come to 10 lbs. We then set the timer for 60 to 90 minutes depending on the product.  The product must run at the correct pressure for the entire time.  Do not start you timer before the proper pressure has been obtained. Try to not allow the pressure to rise very high and back down as fluctuation expands the bags and can burst the seams. 

Same 4oz packages after 90 minutes at 10 lbs of canning pressure.
This picture was taken when the packages were still very hot even after the pressure valve had gone back down to zero.  When they cooled they shrank down and deflate to a compressed vacuum packaged look. It is easy to see which bags are still vacuum packed and which bags opened up during processing. When all is cooled check the packs closely to see which packs worked and which did not, just like with canning in a jar some seal some do not.  We place the open retorts in the fridge and eat with in 24 hours about >1% break open. The successful canned retorts will be stored in a box or on a shelf for later use.
To avoid open retorts after canning:
1) Be sure to measure the exact amount of food for the bag. This equals 4oz bag 4oz of product!
2) Keep the seal line clean when vacuum packing, no food product in the seal line.  Same as your regular vacuum packed products.
3) Use a commercial vacuum sealer with the proper heat bar. We like the MVS31 but others are capable ask the experts at PMG 1-800-227-3769
4) Keep the pressure constant, do not fluctuate extreme highs to lows while canning.
Great News! Retort Pouches do not contain any BPA very safe and toxic free canning!

This is the look of our final product.  We labeled each one with the ingredients and date, placed them in a box ready for the shelf.  This has been not only a fun project but space saving. We also no longer have to store glass jars either before or after use. These retort vacuum packed and canned meals are easy to use, taste great ("that is if we use great ingredients") they are safer than glass and have a 3-5 year shelf life maybe more depending on the ingredients used. 

To order retort canning pouches or the proper commercial vacuum sealer contact
PMG at http://www.vacuumpacker.com/  1-800-227-3769 

Written by HD

Retort Canning of has NO Scientific data from the FDA or USDA for home canners.  The concerns come from non acid foods such as meats!  We are expressing our very successful experiences, but by no way are these experiences authorized data. Can at your own risk!  
As they say, "Re-Heat before you Eat" on any home canned product in glass, cans or retort for best safety practices.  
All home canning is AT YOUR OWN RISK! 

Friday, August 6, 2010

Spoiled Food and Saving Money

Have you ever tried to store your food in what you thought will make your food last longer such as putting it in the fridge, then finding out later on that it did not work? Or have you ever tried saving up the ingredients because you plan to cook a special dinner, then once you took it out it is already spoiled? These are the common problems of the people who want their food and ingredients to last longer. You might think that you can just buy those stuff once you are going to need it so as not to deal with spoiling, but you must remember that there are some ingredients that are seasonal and it does not only involve the ingredients, but also the snacks that you make for your child in school. Everyone wants to make their food fresh, and you and I are no exception to that.

This is the main reason why vacuum packing was created. Vacuum packing is a method of storing food in an airless container so that food spoiling will be prevented. It is created from the principle that most (not all) bacteria can not grow and multiply without air. This method is usually seen in the market so that the products being sold will have a longer shelf life, as well as keep the food sterile since it is for sale. Vacuum packing is usually done to the delicate food items to prevent its spoiling. It is normally seen in processed foods or vegetables since these types of foods are more prone to spoiling.

Vacuum packing is not only limited for industrial use, in fact, it can also be used at home. There are now portable vacuum packers for sale that are created especially for home use. It is efficient, easy to use, and extremely helpful if you are fond of making home made processed foods for you and your family, or if you are selling small scale processed foods to earn extra cash. It can also save more space in your fridge since your foods can be neatly stored in vacuumed packages. It can even be used to keep your child’s snacks for school fresh. A lot of things can be done if you have your own vacuum packer so it is a wise investment to have one at your home. It can even help in your savings since there will be lesser spoiled foods to throw away. If you want to know more and purchase your very own vacuum packer, you can visit www.vacuumpacker.com to check out the different types of vacuum packer that will be most efficient and useful for you.

Written By
andybev on Monday, June 21 2010