What food and ingredients are not safe for canning

There are so many recipes out on the internet and in old cook books that list ingredients/food that is no longer considered safe for canning (bottling). The main reason why we know this is from research that has been conducted by the NCHFP in the US. The lack of research on this in Australia has led me to writing up this list for fellow preservers who may want a quick reference guide to some tricky ingredients. I've also included a note on most foods about why they are not considered safe anymore below ....

NOTE: If you have made something using one or more of these ingredients in a jar of preserves for instance, just refrigerate (instead of storing in the pantry) and enjoy!

If there are updates to be made, please let me know and I will update the list :)


WHAT INGREDIENTS ARE NOT SAFE FOR CANNING / PRESERVING:

Fats / Dairy
ie. butter, milk (all kinds), cheese, cream (all kinds), yoghurt, eggs, tofu, soy, etc. Also any recipe that use one or more of these ingredients, such as mayonnaise, caramel, pudding, cream soups, cream vegetables, refried beans, nut butter (all kinds), pesto, chocolate (all kinds) etc.
WHY: These will go rancid if not refrigerated, developing harmful bacteria. Think of what happens if you leave milk on the counter! These ingredients change flavour and texture when heat is applied.
SAFE ALTERNATIVE: Refrigerate or freeze. There is one safe canning recipe that uses an oil and vinegar brine (see Marinated Mushrooms). Cocoa is a safe alternative for chocolate when canning.

Meat
ie. "fatty" cuts, organs (liver/pate), sausages, meats with fillers, meatloaf, etc.
WHY: Organs are more dense so the heat from the processing will not penetrate to centre so will not kill all of the bacteria inside. The fat from canned meat will separate and gathers at the top of the jar after processing and could result in seal failure.
SAFE ALTERNATIVE: Trim your meat before canning, using leaner cuts if possible. If you're hot packing drain as much fat away as you can before processing.


Wheat / Wheat Products / Oats / Flour / Flour Products
ie. wheat, bread, oats, grains, barley, rice. Also includes things like biscuits, crackers, dough, "cake in a jar" and "pie in a jar".
WHY: These will break down and also go rancid, but their cells are more dense so the heat from the processing will not penetrate to the jar centre so will not kill all of the bacteria inside.
SAFE ALTERNATIVE: Add these items when you open the jar instead.

Pasta / Noodles
ie. pasta (all kinds), dried and fresh noodles (all kinds)
WHY: Pasta is made from flour (see Wheat above) and eggs (see Dairy above). So they will turn to mush and will go rancid after processing.
SAFE ALTERNATIVE: Can your soup base then add the noodles when re-heating. They'll taste much better!

Thickeners
ie. cornstarch (cornflour), tapioca, arrowroot, instant ClearJel, soup bases, packet mixes etc.
WHY: These break down during processing. Soup bases and packet mixes often have ingredients that are not safe for canning (ie. flour products).
SAFE ALTERNATIVE: Use regular ClearJel (modified corn starch) for canning. It's sometimes labelled as cook-type Clear Jel.

Vegetables
ie. broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, eggplant, lettuce, olives, squash, artichokes.

WHY: These vegetables are considered low-acid, so you would assume pressure canning processing. However, the processing period and high pressure would result in mushy, bland vegetables ...
SAFE ALTERNATIVE: Blanch and freeze, ready to add when heating jars of soup, or see if they are okay to pickle like these: brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, olives. You can also make sauerkraut with the cabbage!


Mashed vegetables
ie. mashed potatoes, mashed pumpkin, pumpkin butter, mashed sweet potatoes, mashed parsnips, mashed squash, etc.
WHY: Once mashed these are too dense for the heat to penetrate during processing.
SAFE ALTERNATIVE: These vegetables are safe to pressure can in cubes, then drain and mash as needed before serving.

Fruits
ie. bananas, mashed bananas, avocadoes, coconut milk.
WHY: Too thick / dense for the heat to penetrate during processing.
SAFE ALTERNATIVE: Freeze these fruits instead. You can also puree then freeze :)

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