tlfox

Newly diagnosed vinegar allergy...now what?

tlfox
July 17, 2010

Hello - new to the harvest forum, but was told on good authority that many are here that might be able to help me. I have been canning for several years - and still learning, but a curve ball has been thrown into my canning season.

Well - a recently diagnosed vinegar allergy (includes any alcohols - as they are the beginning product of vinegar) is in the family. This has caused me to rewrite all kinds of recipes to replace all commercial condiments and dressings. After trial and error, it is old hat - but summer is here and it's time to start canning.

I would like to know if any of you have any suggestions for replacing vinegar in canning recipes. I know that long shelf life sauces for the refrigerator require bottled lemon juice - as it has a stable acid level. But...I don't want to play around with canning things only to discover that they are ruined when winter gets here.

Thank you for any help you can offer!

Tiffany

Comments (8)

  • digdirt2

    Hi Tiffany - can you tell us what sort of things you are interested in canning specifically?

    For examples, tomatoes and all the tomato based recipes require no vinegar except ketchup and bar-b-q sauce. Neither do most of the fruit recipes. All the garden vegetables are canned without vinegar.

    It is mostly the pickling recipes that you have to skip and with them there isn't any sub for vinegar.

    Dave

  • tlfox

    Well - I am looking at plum sauces, BBQ sauces, different kinds of ketchup (that is a big one - it is the stepping off point for alot of sauces on the fly) - mainly marinades and condiment type things.

    So many pickle recipes are out - I have resorted to refrigerator pickles with pretty good results - they are usually gone before I have to worry about spoilage.

    I use many of my jellies and jams in the beginnings of sauces (imagine here - reading every condiment jar in the grocery store and coming home with two different bottles that do not have vinegar). With the need to make everything from scratch - the opportunity to make my own for long term storage during the canning season is something I would like to conquer. I love shopping from my storage closet - rows and rows of canned jellies, jams, butters, fruits, veggies, juices, tomato sauce... I would like to add soups, sauces and condiments to that closet this year.

    I found an old post - "your greatest hit recipes" - the recipes look devine - but many of them have vinegar.

    http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/harvest/msg0718273429658.html

    So, I guess my question is this - is there any recipe in canning that I can substitute bottled lemon juice or citric acid for and get similar results?

    I have read that you can substitute bottled lemon juice for vinegar - it is more acidic - but you can't substitute vinegar for lemon juice. And you can boost the acid levels of low acid salsas with 2T lemon juice or 1/2 t of citric acid per quart of sauce if you BWB instead of pressure canning. But reading that doesn't make it so - so here I am.

    It's alot of questions - knowing how many gallons (yes, gallons - tennagers and all of their friends for dinner often) of condiments of all kinds I have made over the past 6 months... I need to see if there is a way for me to mass produce sauces, salsas, etc - instead of a quart or two at a time to keep in the refrigerator.

    Thank you for any information you can help me with - I am anxious to get started, tomatoes are everywhere and I am up to my eyeballs in sauce already.

    Tiffany

  • readinglady

    Yes, you can safely (definitely) use bottled lemon juice in lieu of vinegar in any recipe that calls for it. Of course in some cases you may not want to, but at least you know it's a safe alternative.

    There are members who use lemon juice or lime juice (bottled) or a combination instead of vinegar in salsas. Some prefer it. However, I'm not familiar with the formula you mention. I would stick with a recipe of proven safety and try bottled lemon juice instead of the vinegar and see how you like it.

    Remember also, you can make salsas with fresh juices and freeze them. If you have some freezer space to spare, you may find some recipes adapt better to that method than canning. Then you avoid safety concerns entirely.

    Carol

  • tlfox

    Thanks Carol. Once I replace the ingredients and create the sauces - I just process as usual? I am ready to get out of bed and go make a batch just to can it and wake up to a batch ready to go into the storage closet! :D This makes for one happy girl....thank you again!

    Well - I am an avid couponer. It's a necessary evil with so many kids in the house - thus my three freezers are well used and usually filled as soon as they are emptied with meat, cheeses, butter, etc. Perhaps I will have to look into a bigger one. :D

    Thanks again!
    Tiffany

  • digdirt2

    Apologies for missing your reference to "sauces" in your first post. While most other things are easily canned without vinegar, clearly the sauces and condiments puts you square into the pickling and vinegar quagmire and for that, as Carol said, there is only the bottled lemon or lime juice alternative. NCHFP goes so far as to specify the brand name to use - RealLemon and RealLime.

    How tasty some of them would be made with either of those two choices is questionable. Salsas are no problem and we are firmly entrenched in the lime juice camp in our house. But beyond that it is going to be "to your taste".

    My primary concern, given your situation, is that both bottled lemon and lime juice contain much higher levels of sulfites (the source of the allergic reaction) than even vinegar. The juices are rated at greater than 100 ppm of sulfites while most vinegars, relishes, and pickles are rated at between 10 ppm and 49. Malt vinegar is the lowest rating at less than 10 ppm. Just something to consider.

    Good luck.

    Dave

  • tlfox

    Thanks for the info Dave.

    I have had great luck with modifying many recipes to include lemon/lime juice and still have great flavor - actually better when it comes to mayo and mayo based sauces. Mayo was a strange experience in sauce making - but now I am a pro. :D

    The sulfites aren't the direct cause of the allergy. Any product that ferments to create alcohol and the end resulting vinegar - even rubbing alcohol and all the chemical cleaners that entails - are a huge problem. It took over a year to diagnose the problem - the allergist just couldn't believe that it was something so simple - but major. You can't swing a cat by the tail in the middle of the grocery store without hitting something with vinegar or alcohol in it. After we eliminated those items - everything was better. After hours of reading - we found out that vinegar allergies are more common than we knew, just not known to people who don't have the problem. Strange but true.

    I am already cooking up some ketchup today, and I think I'll start some plum sauce in a little while.

    Thank you all for your help!
    Tiffany

  • readinglady

    Yes, you do process as usual. Bottled lemon and lime juice are more acidic than 5% vinegar, so if anything you've upped the safety with any recipe where you substitute. As Dave said, in some instances you may even prefer the flavor.

    Good luck, and if you have specific questions about particular recipes, just ask away.

    Carol

  • HU-727011806

    I myself was just recently diagnosed with a vinegar allergy. This question would not be about canning but condiments in general it seems like everything has vinegar in it..... can someone help me, offer me some suggestions? I had a very severe reaction it was very scary I have my EpiPen on me all the time.

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