Botulism Part One

My life on the ranch growing up was fun with lots of open space. My grandmother tried to teach my cousin and me how to cook and do some of the chores to help around the house, but of course we wanted to play and didn’t pay much attention. Believe me though we did the chores, but not much cooking. We watched what she did, but at age 5-6 what can you remember. She had a lot of knowledge about curing animals and (people) by using roots and certain leaves.

I have tried talking to what is left of my family and there is only one person that really remembers anything about family run ranches and healing methods. So of course my husband has been after me to go talk to him. Now I will make it a priority.  He is in his late 80.

Grandma didn’t have all the fancy items to can with, like they do now. So she used a large pot with a good fitting lid to can and seal the jars. I don’t remember her having a pressure cooker, but she might have had a little one.   Here are a few details that may help you.


We know that food is bad when we open a container and smell the foul odor, or see green or black mold. But do we all remember how to avoid it if possible from happening. Since most botulism outbreaks are mostly always a result of improperly stored or home canned foodstuffs. Botulism is a food intoxication. The bacteria, Clostridium botulinum, are found everywhere in the soil and in the water. The bacteria and its spores are harmless. They exist in the soil for years and we eat them on raw fruits and vegetables everyday without any ill effects it is only when the botulism bacteria begin to grow and produce the poison toxin that illness and possibly death can occur. The bacteria only begins to grow and form toxins in the absence of air.

See also  Treating Corn to Prevent Pellagra

Frozen or dried foods and those foods with high concentrations of acid, salt or sugar do not support the growth of botulism organisms. The danger foods are 1 those that do not contain any acid such as meat, poultry, fish, lye cured olives, mushrooms, eggs and seafood; 2 low acid foods which include all vegetables, examples being spinach, sprouts, corn peas, beans, squash, potatoes, beets, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, etc. 3 medium acid foods such as overripe tomatoes, pears, onions, chili peppers, cactus, figs and cucumbers.

There is so much more on botulism that you need to know if you are canning. Read as much as you can before doing any canning and storing. I will be doing a series of article that will hopefully help you.

Preparedness Mom



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