RETORT CANNING

INFORMATION ON THE PROCESS OF CANNING WITH RETORT POUCHES   


Because this information pertains to home canning, warnings must be given.

You must insure that you understand the proper procedures and sanitation requirements for home canning. If you are unfamiliar with home canning, contact the local (e.g. county) cooperative extension of your nearest university for more information.  The information provided here is only to be used as an introduction to canning with retort pouches. It is your responsibility to learn the proper techniques and procedures for pressure canning foods.

Retort canning is safe and is widely used in commercial canning of foods for retail sale. Home use of pouches specifically designed for retort canning is easy and fun. However, you must use safe food handling practices and keep all food products cold until placed in canner for processing.

Charts are provided below with guidelines for canning foods in retort pouches. 


WARNINGS AND REQUIREMENTS:

  • Never hot pack in retort pouches and DO NOT vacuum seal warm foods!  Doing so can cause the pouch to burst causing burns to someone handling it or someone nearby.  Doing so may cause the pouch seams to be compromised causing food spoilage. All products must be cooled completely before vacuum sealing.  If food must be stored before sealing or after sealing, the food or pouches must remain under refrigeration until placed directly into the pressure canner for processing.
  • Strong flavored fish and game may be soaked in salt water before canning if desired.  Raw products should have salt added for preserving. Some like salt added directly in the pouch and this is fine.  Others like to soak for 1 to 2 hours in salted water (1/2 cup salt to 1 gallon water) before sealing and canning. 
  • Use lean meat for canning; remove as much fat as possible. Cut off gristle and remove large bones. Cut into pieces convenient for canning, not more than 2‐1/2 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 may be broiled, fried, roasted or smoked. 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 broth with hot packed meats. Make the broth from bones and scraps not used for canning. Meat may be pare‐cooked in the broth.  Be sure to consider the broth weight when canning in retort pouches and do not exceed the capacity specified for the pouch (4 oz = 1/4lb = 1/2 Pint | 8 oz = 1/2 lb = 1 Pint)
  • Fish should be canned only when fresh. Since all fish are not canned the same way, it is advisable to obtain and read the United States Department of Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service- 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.

General Guide for pressure canning with Retort Pouches:

  • Unless otherwise specified, use 2 quarts water in pressure canner for all processing. Some special canners may use less. Read and understand the manual for the pressure canner you are using!  Vinegar may be added to prevent scaling. 
  • Time and pressure given in the charts (below) apply only to altitudes 2,000 feet or less.
  • If your altitude is over 2,000 feet, add 1 pound pressure for each additional 2,000 feet.
  • Do not increase processing time.
  • NEVER let the canner boil dry. Be sure to use sufficient water as specified in the manual for your canner. 
  • NEVER set retort pouches directly on the bottom of the canner, they will melt ‐‐Use basket
  • NEVER crowd in more retort pouches than the canner can easily hold. Pack tightly while leaving space between bags to allow for steam to move freely.
  • 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 pouch.
  • NEVER open petcock during the processing period while canning.
  • NEVER open petcock before the pressure falls to zero‐‐ at that point, petcock must be opened slowly.
  • NEVER lay wet cloths on cover or place canner in water to attempt to speed cooling. Forced cooling reduces canner pressure 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 too long or has become warm at room temperature! Use the shortest period from vacuum sealing to canner as possible. If immediate canning is not possible, place all vacuum sealed products in refrigerator and keep cold until placing directly into canner for processing.  Do not freeze pouches or pack frozen food into pouches. 
  • NEVER begin to count processing time until required pressure is reached.
  • NEVER reuse retort pouches.
  • NEVER pack food too tightly in retort pouches do not over fill (4 oz = 1/4lb = 1/2 Pint | 8 oz = 1/2 lb = 1 Pint | 16 oz = 1 lb = 1 Quart)
  • NEVER eat food from a retort that has become inflated with air or that is bulging.
  • Check all seams and seals on each bag before and after processing. Any open bags (after processing) should be refrigerated and used within 24 hours.
  • After storage, check all seals and seams do not use open bags or bags that are bulging with air / pressure.

 

VIDEO DEMONSTRATION HERE>>

 

Basic Guide to Retort Pressure Canning and Cooking.

Processing Times for Pare Cooked Meats

(MEAT) Pare Cooked

Canner
Pressure in
Pounds

1/2 Pint
Food 2 - 4oz
Retort

1 Pint food
8oz Retort

1 Quart food
16oz Retort

Product:

Beef Loaf

10 lbs.

65 minutes

75 minutes

90 minutes

Beef Roll

10 lbs.

65 minutes

75 minutes

90 minutes

Chili Con Carne

15 lbs.

70 minutes

70 minutes

90 minutes

Corned Beef

10 lbs.

65 minutes

75 minutes

90 minutes

Beef, Pork, lamb or veal

10 lbs.

65 minutes

75 minutes

90 minutes

Bologna

10 lbs.

65 minutes

75 minutes

90 minutes

Chopped Meat

10 lbs.

65 minutes

75 minutes

90 minutes

Goulash

10 lbs.

65 minutes

75 minutes

90 minutes

Heart

10 lbs.

65 minutes

75 minutes

90 minutes

Liver (All types-Plain or Fried)

10 lbs.

65 minutes

75 minutes

90 minutes

Meat Balls

10 lbs.

65 minutes

75 minutes

90 minutes

Meat Loaf

10 lbs.

65 minutes

75 minutes

90 minutes

Roast Meat (All Types)

10 lbs.

65 minutes

75 minutes

90 minutes

Stew (All Meats)

10 lbs.

65 minutes

75 minutes

90 minutes

Hot Tamales

10 lbs.

65 minutes

75 minutes

90 minutes

Boiled Tongue

10 lbs.

65 minutes

75 minutes

90 minutes

Spiced Tongue

10 lbs.

65 minutes

75 minutes

90 minutes

Jellied Pigs Feet

10 lbs.

65 minutes

75 minutes

90 minutes

Pork Sausage

10 lbs.

65 minutes

75 minutes

90 minutes

Spareribs

10 lbs.

65 minutes

75 minutes

90 minutes

Pork Tenderloin

10 lbs.

65 minutes

75 minutes

90 minutes

Chicken-With Bones

10 lbs.

55 minutes

65 minutes

75 minutes

Chicken-Without Bones

10 lbs.

65 minutes

75 minutes

90 minutes

Wild Duck, Quail and All Game Birds

10 lbs.

65 minutes

75 minutes

90 minutes

Venison

10 lbs.

65 minutes

75 minutes

90 minutes

 

Raw pack meats and Seafood (Recommend only for small packages)

(MEAT) Raw Packed

Canner
Pressure in
Pounds

1/2 Pint
Food 2 - 4oz
Retort

1 Pint food
8oz Retort

N/A

Product:

Head Cheese

15 lbs.

75 minutes

75 minutes

N/A

Clams and Oysters

10 lbs.

70 minutes

70 minutes

N/A

Crab Meat

10 lbs.

80 minutes

80 minutes

N/A

Fish -General

10 lbs.

80 minutes

80 minutes

N/A

Lobster

10 lbs.

90 minutes

90 minutes

N/A

Salmon

10 lbs.

100 minutes

100 minutes

N/A

Shrimp-wet pack

10 lbs.

45 minutes

45 minutes

N/A

Shrimp-Dry Pack

10 lbs.

90 minutes

90 minutes

N/A

Tuna

10 lbs.

100 minutes

100 minutes

N/A

 

Processing Time Table for Vegetables

(VEGETABLES) Raw Packed

Canner
Pressure in
Pounds

1/2 Pint
Food 2 - 4oz
Retort

1 Pint food
8oz Retort

1 Quart food
16oz Retort

Product:

Asparagus

10lbs.

20 minutes

25 minutes

55 minutes

Beans, Baked

10lbs.

75 minutes

85 minutes

90 minutes

Beans, Lima

10lbs.

40 minutes

45 minutes

60 minutes

Beans, Snap or Wax

10lbs.

25 minutes

30 minutes

35 minutes

Beets, Baby (whole or sliced)

10lbs.

30 minutes

35 minutes

55 minutes

Carrots, Young

10lbs.

20 minutes

25 minutes

30 minutes

Corn, Whole Kernel

10lbs.

60 minutes

65 minutes

85 minutes

Corn on Cob

10lbs.

60 minutes

65 minutes

75 minutes

Eggplant

10lbs.

35 minutes

40 minutes

45 minutes

Greens, All Kinds

10lbs.

60 minutes

60 minutes

70 minutes

Kohlrabi

10lbs.

30 minutes

35 minutes

40 minutes

Mushrooms

10lbs.

25 minutes

35 minutes

40 minutes

Okra

10lbs.

25 minutes

30 minutes

45 minutes

Okra Tomatoes

10lbs.

25 minutes

30 minutes

40 minutes

Okra, Tomatoes, Corn

10lbs.

60 minutes

65 minutes

85 minutes

Parsnips

10lbs.

30 minutes

30 minutes

35 minutes

Peas, Green

10lbs.

30 minutes

30 minutes

--------

Peas, Black-eyed

10lbs.

30 minutes

30 minutes

--------

Peppers, Pimento

10lbs.

10 minutes

10 minutes

--------

Pumpkin, Mashed

10lbs.

75 minutes

75 minutes

90 minutes

Rutabagas, Sliced or Diced

10lbs.

30 minutes

35 minutes

35 minutes

Squash, Summer Crookneck, and Zucchini

10lbs.

20 minutes

35 minutes

40 minutes

Squash, Winter Hubbard Banana, Cubed

10lbs.

50 minutes

55 minutes

90 minutes

Succotash

10lbs.

60 minutes

75 minutes

90 minutes

Sweet Potatoes

10lbs.

75 minutes

90 minutes

90 minutes

Tomatoes

10lbs.

10 minutes

10 minutes

10 minutes

Turnips

10lbs.

30 minutes

35 minutes

35 minutes

 

Processing Time for Raw Fruits

RAW FRUITS

Canner
Pressure in
Pounds

Time

 

 

Processing Time Table for Fruits

Apples

5lbs.

10 minutes

--------

--------

Apples Sauce

5lbs.

8 minutes

--------

--------

Crab apples

5lbs.

10 minutes

--------

--------

Apricots

5lbs.

10 minutes

--------

--------

Berries (Except Strawberries)

5lbs.

10 minutes

--------

--------

Cherries

5lbs.

10 minutes

--------

--------

Cranberries

5lbs.

10 minutes

--------

--------

Figs

5lbs.

10 minutes

--------

--------

Grapes

5lbs.

10 minutes

--------

--------

Peaches

5lbs.

10 minutes

‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐

‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐

Pears

5lbs.

10 minutes

‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐

‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐

Persimmons

5lbs.

10 minutes

‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐

‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐

Plums

5lbs.

10 minutes

‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐

‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐

Prunes

5lbs.

10 minutes

‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐

‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐

Quinces

5lbs.

15 minutes

‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐

‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐

Red Raspberries

5lbs.

8 minutes

‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐

‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐

Rhubarb

5lbs.

5 minutes

‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐

‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐

Strawberries

5lbs.

5 minutes

‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐

‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐