Home Cooking 13

new to pressure canning: burnt-ish smell and bland bolognese

lidia | Feb 8, 2010 04:02 PM

Hi Chowhounds, I hope you can help me. I always make a triple or even sextuple batch of Marcella Hazan's ragu bolognese recipe, and to save space in the freezer I got a pressure canner, for that and for broths, eventual soups and so forth.

Everything seemed to go fine, except that halfway during processing I noticed I could smell a vague sort of burning odor (burning food, not plastic or metal). Processing was 75 minutes at 11-15 pounds (I have both the gauge and the weight, minimum was supposed to be 11 but at times it reached 15 as I was not continuously monitoring the gas flame; it never went over 15),

A few of the jars did not seal but that was due to my having re-used a couple of old lids that seemed ok, plus (I think) not tightening the lids enough. Even so, there was no trace of sauce in the water and no apparent 'siphoning' effect.

I have only tasted the sauce from the jars that did not seal. The lids of these jars had small smears of tasteless, burnt-looking residue, as though some of the sauce had splashed up there and gotten carbonized, then dissolved in water. The sauce itself did not really taste burnt, nor seem particularly burnt on the surface, but a little of the burnt odor remained.

The end product was, I'd say, "acceptable", but had lost much of the recipe's tomato flavor and wine background flavor. These acidic flavors were really the last things I expected to have become compromised.

Has anyone else experienced either of these two issues (apparent burning or unexpected blandness) in a tomato/meat-based product like this? If so, have you found ways to modify the recipe to re-adjust the flavor?

I was hoping to go on to try stews, chilis, cassoulets, and so forth, but am not encouraged by these initial results.

Tried Googling around but can't find anyone reporting issues like mine. Thanks in advance for any helpful tips...

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