Guests at a recent Washington Post online food chat included food blogger and cookbook writer Cathy Barrow, aka Mrs. Wheelbarrow, and columnist Tamar Haspel. Here are edited excerpts from the chat.
Q: I’m puzzled about new recommendations from canning jar makers that lids should not be heated before being put onto jars for processing. I notice that your recipes have instructions to heat water and immerse the lids.
I am torn; I’m using lids bought last year, so I’m following traditional directions but am not sure about how to deal with newly manufactured lids going forward.
A: I know what you mean! The new rules emerged just last week, and everyone is scrambling. I will admit I was still warming the lids over the weekend. Old habits die hard.
Basically, the new BPA-free lids have had a higher incidence of seal failure. Ball has released new recommendations stating that the BPA-free lids do not need to be heated before use. So heat last year’s lids and don’t heat the new ones. — Cathy Barrow
Is there a best way to cook oatmeal? I’ve seen a few overnight recipes that seem convenient.
I used to use only steel-cut oats, and I’d bring them to a boil and let them soak overnight. But I have succumbed to the temptation of ordinary rolled oats.
A 1/2 cup of oats, 1 cup of water (with cinnamon and a pinch of salt, and a cut-up banana if you have one) in the microwave for 3 minutes. Perfect every time. — Tamar Haspel
I’m an entry-level canner interested in canning applesauce this fall. My typical recipe for freezing has always been to just slice the apples and throw them into the slow-cooker for a few hours with some vanilla and cinnamon, then mash them gently.
Do you have a similar, low/no-added sugar recipe that can be shelf-stable after hot-water processing?
Applesauce is a great food to can and you don’t need to add any sugar. I chop about 10 pounds of apples, add about 1/4 cup of water and cook until tender, about 15 minutes at a strong simmer.
For chunky sauce, mash with a potato masher. I like a smooth sauce, so I include the cores, seeds and peel when cooking, to keep the sauce a pretty pink, then put it through a food mill. Place in pint jars (1/2-inch head space) and process for 15 minutes. — Cathy Barrow