Thursday, October 15, 2009


Oh, mea culpa. I received the following message from my youngest daughter. She is a scientist and I can't argue with her good sense, so my apologies for committing to print a lethal recipe:

"What were you thinking? You put some raw food in a jar, leave it for several days, it swells the jar lid, and your response is...taste it?
Don't you know you can't taste botulinum toxin? And you can die from it?
The brandy is probably why it didn't kill you. Brandy is about pH 4.4, and a pH below 4.6 is safe for botulism. But sheesh, lady. Have a care.
Your horrified daughter"

In my own defense, I have to site age, much as I hate to do so. I grew up without refrigeration. We kept mayonnaise and catsup on the shelf. If a can of tomatoes swelled, we ate it. Even if the label got blackened, we didn't discard food. We cooked it. My grandmother used to boil pork and sink it in the cooled, boiled juice in a wooden barrel and cover it with a layer of pig fat. The barrel was liberally splashed with fat as well. Nobody perished or got sick.
Like my mother, I canned my own meats, and vegetables. By her creed, I was careful with non-acid things like meat and green beans for botulism. Fruits all had sugar and acid, with the addition of some lemon juice, if not enough natural acid. If the lid failed, we refrigerated it and ate it within a couple weeks.
I've always thought the warnings were a bit rigid from my own experience, and, in retrospect, I can see good sense in those dire warnings. Even with them, I have friends who still stuff their turkey the night before and have been doing it for 35 years.
Maybe we were just lucky, but I've made fresh apple juice before and kept it in the refrigerator for weeks with just a tad of brandy to stave off mold. I've had plum juice turn into vinegar and its great on salads. (I was only worried about mold, not botulism.)
Living poor was a different lifestyle. My parents wasted NOTHING.
But, my daughter makes a good point. It doesn't make sense to risk your life for a bit of apple jack. It could have turned out differently, so, don't make your own HOOCH.

1 comment:

squawmama said...

Alrighty then... Notely taken and will not give that what I thought yummy recipe a try... Thanks for the wakeup call... Have fun!

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