Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Now Why Would You Want To Can Cream Cheese?

I've been reading that you can, indeed can cheeses, but why would you want to? Well, I'm glad you asked!


I've been reading a lot in the news that there may be food shortages soon due to droughts in Russia, the earthquake in Japan, all the snow storms and cold weather across the Midwest of the USA and on, and on, and on... and with all that, and the rising cost of gasoline, which will trickle down to the trucking industry and they will have to increase their shipping costs, which will make it more expensive to ship my cheese to my local grocery store... so it will cost more to buy...


And with the economy going the way it's going... well you get the picture... my cheese is probably going to cost more soon and there COULD be a shortage of it... so...


... if I get a hankering for some cheesecake or a bagel and schmear, whatever shall I do if I can't find cream cheese at Kroger? or if I CAN find it and it costs $5 or even $10 for an 8-oz. package, I'm going to REALLY have to want a cheesecake to pay that price!


Right now, as a matter of fact this past week, cream cheese was on sale at my local grocery store for $1.39 for an eight ounce package, I bought four and decided I'd give cream cheese canning a try... if THIS experiment works out, I'll buy more!


**OK, now for the disclaimer... I searched and found directions on how to can cream cheese, HOWEVER, I did NOT find and "approved" method (the FDA, Ag Extension services, etc. do not have an approved method for canning cheese)... Sooooooo, use at your own risk. This is just for information and to let you know what I did. Remember, this is not an FDA approved method.**

I have read extensively about folks claiming to have used cream cheese as long as 5 years after canning and have not become sick from any of them, even when eating the cheese right out of the jar. But, again, the FDA says that this is not an approved way to preserve cheese, so . . . use at your own risk. 


Some folks melt the cheese in a double boiler, then spoon it into the sterilized jars. Sometimes the cheese sticks to the bottom of the pan, and the whole thing is a big, gloppy mess. 

Here’s what I did... I think it's a better way that’s cleaner, faster and easier. 

First, I sterilized half-pint jars by boiling them for 20 minutes, turned upside down in a saucepan. I sterilized new canning lids according to package instructions. I let them simmer in water about 5 minutes, then keep them in hot water until I need them. 


Next, I mushed ("mushed" is not a technical canning term, just so you know) about 6 ounces of slightly softened cream cheese into each half pint jar.




Then I placed the jars (without lids) on a rack in my boiling water bath canner, to which I had already added some water. Do not put the lid on the canner while the cheese is melting. You want the water to come about halfway up the jars. Any higher and it bubbles into the jars if it gets to boiling. Then, as the cheese melts, I added more cheese if I needed to until the cheese filled the jars to within about ½ inch of the top. 





When it all melted, I removed the jars from the canner, wiped the rims with a damp cloth (a little vinegar on cloth helps remove any greasy residue), put the lids on the jars tightening them down pretty tightly.




Then I proceeded with the boiling water bath for 40 minutes. (This is the Extension Service method of doing a boiling water bath.)






After the 40 minutes in the boiling water bath, I removed the jars from the water with a jar lifter and set them on a folded dish towel on the counter.




Leave the jars undisturbed until completely cooled. Check to make sure all the lids have sealed before labeling and storing. I love the sound of the "ping" of a jar sealing... such a satisfying sound!


Now, no matter who messes with the prices or availability of my cream cheese in the future, I can take advantage of sales NOW and have a bagel and schmear any time I want to... if I have bagels... Hmmm I don't suppose you can CAN bagels?


Cream Cheese in a jar, how pretty! I think I need a cheesecake... NOW!

Canning Granny©2011 All Rights Reserved

33 comments:

  1. Since this original post was back in April, have you tried any of the canned cream cheese? I am interested in knowing how it turned out!

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  2. Yes I would like to know too
    Have you tried any of the cream cheese yet. Please let us know. Thanks

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  3. OK folks, I finally opened up a jar of cream cheese and tried it this evening!!! PERFECTION!!! I had some on a cracker with some hot pepper jelly. It spread great, had remained quite creamy... it had dried out ever so slightly and I could see a bit of liquid in the bottom of the jar. It was still very creamy and spreadable... I think if I used it in a recipe, the liquid would whip right back in easily (it couldn't have been more than a teaspoon or so) Exciting!! ~~Granny

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  4. It has been about a year, have you tried any of the cream cheese since the last time you tried some in October. I would like to try canning some. Even the Walmart brand went up in price. We use to get it for less than $1, now it's $1.50. yikes. I get many when they are on sale, but they only last a little while before going bad. Thanks

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    1. It has lasted a year without any problems. ~~Granny

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  5. I'm wondering the same thing as the above. How long does it stay good in the jars?

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    1. I've had mine a year and it's still good. ~~Granny

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  6. Granny, For the batch of canned cream cheese you made last year - how long will you allow your stock of it to age before you are no longer comfortable opening and eating it?

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    1. As long as it stays sealed, I'm comfortable opening and using it. ~~Granny

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  7. Is your cream cheese just sitting on a pantry shelf or in the fridge ??? It doesn't have to be kept cold?

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  8. As a dairy scientist who works with cream cheese, I would not recommend canning this product. Cream cheese pH is usually around pH 4.8-4.6. The pH needs to be consistently below pH 4.6 to resist Clostridium botulinum growth and spore formation. Moreover, it looks like you have some air pockets in your cans of cream cheese. If the heat treatment was sufficient, the cream cheese should have melted and you wouldn’t have the air pockets. Having air pockets puts the product at risk for insufficient heat treatment because the product inside won’t transfer heat from the water bath as well.

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    1. Finally! Someone using science in this stream of silly people!!! Oh well, if you go unheeded, at least that allows people to thin themselves out.

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    2. so will freezing the cream cheese drop or raise its pH value as well?

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  9. Yay! I'm so glad to have found someone who has done this. I canned a bunch of cream cheese, hard cheese and butter this summer based on an Alaska forum but had never read of anyone else doing it. I'm so glad that you had a good result.

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  10. I am so doing this. I have been canning cheese for some time now but never tried cream cheese. I love using my canned chedder cheese in casseroles and atop breads it is great. I will give this a try. Thanks for braving the bad side of the blogging world. We are not everybody just home canners trying things out right?
    Melissa
    www.kidsandcanningjars.blogspot.com

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  11. You can buy Cream Cheese Spread in jars with pineapple in it. I have loved this stuff since I was a kid.

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    1. wow..where can i get this? i live in new york..any idea what store?? thanks, vern

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  12. I have been canning cream cheese (and other cheeses) since 2009. I just used the last half pint a little while ago, without any degradation of flavor or texture. I just stir it up before using. At this moment, I have 15 more half pints in the water bath. And 7 quarts of chicken a la king as well. I add a very lightly thickened chicken stock based sauce to the jars and it stays thin until completely cool, when it attains the consistency of a meduim gravy. Since it was thinner than egg nog while processing, I am confident that it gets hot enough. Also been doing this since 2009. Split pea soup is addressed the same way, with the thickening occurring as a result of processing and then completely cooling a thin soup.

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    Replies
    1. I'd love your chicken a la king recipe...would you mind sharing? Thank you in advance :)

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  13. I am very interested in this but I have a steam caner not a water bath caner could i still use this or would I need the water bath caner? Also would a pressure caner work if my steam caner wouldn't?
    Crystal
    littleguyties@gmail.com

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    1. Your steam canner would work. ~~Granny

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    2. Thanks so much cream cheese is on sale for .99 cents here I may give this a try!

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  14. It's great you've had no problems with this method. To be on the the safe side, I might want to pressure can it though.

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  15. Being LOW acid, I would think pressure canning would be a better choice. I might try this. BUT make sure you are canning REAL cream cheese without added thickeners like cornstarch, or it may separate.

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  16. What amount of cream cheese and amount of 1/2 pt jars. I have done some calulations butter to jars so I know how many jars to wash and sterilize.

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    1. I got about 6 ounces of cheese into each jar. ~~Granny

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    2. why not use a pressure canning method and just make cheese cake in a wide mouth jar?

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    3. Someone recommended this blog because I asked about canning cheesecake. CAN it really be done?! :)

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  17. Mine had lots of air pockets and it was fine after a year.
    We ate it all and decided to can more!!
    Don't be afraid to try something just because a government
    Trained professional says it's not safe. It works!

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  18. For those who suggested pressure canning, do you have an estimated processing time? Cream cheese around here is consistently $0.99/block, but if I ever see it go on sale, I'm stocking up!! Thanks so much!! :)

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    1. I read in a book that 10 mins at 10 lbs for quarts and 5 mins at 10 lbs. for pints and half pints is recommended (lower elevations). Add another 5 lbs of pressure for higher elevations.

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  19. just my opinion, but the "government" has given the ok on harmful drugs, steroids being fed to our livestock, and many more ..it stands to reason that they do not WANT us self sufficient, and therefore limit information to us. I remember my great grandmother canning many items "not approved". Use your head, and your senses. When in doubt, toss it out!

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  20. Is this safe to leave in the pantry? Only not sure b/c of the dairy factor. I wonder if you can can homemade cream cheese as well, or if you should do it only with store bought?

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