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moonfall86
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My grandmother swears that if a menstruating woman tries to can tomatoes, they will spoil. I've also heard of examples of this story other sources, but it sounds like an old wives' tale.
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Cervus
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It is.

I cannot fathom how, physically, a woman's menstrual cycle would have anything to do with canning food, specifically tomatoes, of all things.

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Chimera
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quote:
Originally posted by Cervus:
It is.

I cannot fathom how, physically, a woman's menstrual cycle would have anything to do with canning food, specifically tomatoes, of all things.

Well I could think of a few ways but they're all rather NFBSK. Seriously though many people see women as unclean at that time. Perhaps in days of less sanitation there could've been some slight truth in it as the body does admitedly release more waste products (blood and such) during that time. I find the belief is still largely held in religious communities. I know that our local Orthodox church will not allow a woman to prepare the bread when it is her time of month.

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Double Latte
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I am no expert on canning, but I have tried my hand at it a few times. I have heard this UL before, and agree it is bunk.

As for explanation, I can only add this: Tomatoes are one of the more difficult items to can, due to the acid content. Therefore, the failure rate is higher than with other fruits and vegetables.

So, given that this probably happened frequently with tomatoes in the past, it is not surprising people would look for the cause. And, unfortunately, when people who are pretty unscientific look for explanations for misfortune, "unclean" woman often becomes the scapegoat.

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resELution
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quote:
Originally posted by Chimera:
quote:
Originally posted by Cervus:
It is.

I cannot fathom how, physically, a woman's menstrual cycle would have anything to do with canning food, specifically tomatoes, of all things.

Well I could think of a few ways but they're all rather NFBSK.
Me too.

resE"Those aren't canned tomatoes."Lution

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deerslayer
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Its just some womans excuse to get out of a little work
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just Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by deerslayer: Its just some womans excuse to get out of a little work
I had a friend who argued that the whole "women are unclean" myth was actually encouraged by women.

After all, that mean that once a month they got to go to a private house for a few days, and sit around while the others did the cooking, cleaning, etc.

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have yourself a Merry Little Galaxy
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quote:
Originally posted by Double Latte:
(snip) So, given that this probably happened frequently with tomatoes in the past, it is not surprising people would look for the cause. And, unfortunately, when people who are pretty unscientific look for explanations for misfortune, "unclean" woman often becomes the scapegoat.

I've never heard the tomato story, but I have heard of old superstitions that menstruating women would make milk curdle and turn meat black. So those probably also fall into the bleeding-woman-as-scapegoat category.

Little Galaxy

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resELution
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In the words of Mr. Garrison, "Never trust somthing that bleeds for seven days and doesn't die."

Might be that attitude.

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BringTheNoise
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That pretty much sums it up, really.

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Double Latte
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quote:
Originally posted by deerslayer:
Its just some womans excuse to get out of a little work

You betcha! Lots of UL's about women, including the menstruation UL's, are perpetuated by women -- you don't hear men sitting around and talking about this stuff, do you? And, yeah, there is often a plus side and we are not above exploiting it! [Big Grin]

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Malruhn
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A woman can spoil a batch of canned tomatoes just because she is mentruating??

Okay...

And I think I caught the gay cuz I once played a piano that Liberace played.

Gimme a break!

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tagurit
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quote:
Originally posted by Double Latte:
I am no expert on canning, but I have tried my hand at it a few times. I have heard this UL before, and agree it is bunk.

As for explanation, I can only add this: Tomatoes are one of the more difficult items to can, due to the acid content. Therefore, the failure rate is higher than with other fruits and vegetables.

So, given that this probably happened frequently with tomatoes in the past, it is not surprising people would look for the cause. And, unfortunately, when people who are pretty unscientific look for explanations for misfortune, "unclean" woman often becomes the scapegoat.

Ok, can this. Tomatoes are acidic, which makes them one of the easiest items to can, which makes the failure rate demonstrably low. It's exactly the opposite of what you're saying.

Whether it was men, or women, or men and women, it's been held by many cultures for ages that women are unclean, or that women are especially unclean during their menstrual cycle. I never heard the one about menstruating women and canning tomatoes, but I did hear that menstruating women should not go into the tomato patch. In fact, my mother said my grandfather would've killed (figuratively, I hope) any of his 9 daughters if he'd heard of any of them going into the tomatoes while they were on their period.

So, there's some connection between unclean menstruating women and tomatoes. It's an old wive's tale for sure, but just how it began, I couldn't tell you.

BTW, my grandfather had lots of daughters because a menstruating woman cannot churn butter, either.

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Rhiandmoi
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Canning Tomatoes

Tomatoes are somewhat more difficult to can than jams or jellies because more seals fail (YMMv), but they are still a very popular home-canned item. The only real trick is to make sure they are acid enough, which means testing with pH strips, and using a pressure cooker.

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tagurit
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quote:
Originally posted by rhiandmoi, up a tree again:
Canning Tomatoes

Tomatoes are somewhat more difficult to can than jams or jellies because more seals fail (YMMv), but they are still a very popular home-canned item. The only real trick is to make sure they are acid enough, which means testing with pH strips, and using a pressure cooker.

Or, just can tomatoes for 45 or so years. I don't think jellies and jams are that difficult, but tomatoes are much easier, IMO. I suppose a bit of it comes from doing it for so long and knowing what to look for in cannable fruit. However, it is just that tomatoes are acidic which makes them easy to can. If you don't have acidic tomatoes, then you may have problems. You can add lemon juice to increase the acidity.

If your lids fail to seal, regardless of what you're canning, it's usually because either 1) you didn't have a clean jar rim, 2) your lids (the rubber seal) were not hot enough when placed on the jars, or 3) not enough heat was used during processing/your product was not hot enough when filling the jars.

Now, after all that, the easiest thing to can is tomatoes. Period.

tag

Edit: I think what you two may be doing is trying to apply an old timey belief to new timey methods. Back before hybidizing, tomatoes were more acid. There are still plenty of tomato varieties out there that make good canning fruit. Back before ph strips and pressure cookers, tomatoes were still canned. Do you think the gals in the myth we're discussing were canning tomato hybrids, had ph strips and pressure cookers?

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Noemi
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quote:
Originally posted by tagurit:
If your lids fail to seal, regardless of what you're canning, it's usually because either 1) you didn't have a clean jar rim, 2) your lids (the rubber seal) were not hot enough when placed on the jars, or 3) not enough heat was used during processing/your product was not hot enough when filling the jars.

Hear, hear. The only times I've had quats of pickles fail to seal is for one of those three reasons and it's usually #1. (A little bit of salt or alum on the rim usually.) In the 7 years I've been doing pickles I've only had maybe 10 jars total fail to seal, and that's doing 30-40 quarts a summer. (And I only learned the heat the lids in hot water trick a couple years ago.)

Noemi "almost canning season"

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christmas tree kitapper
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I have a cookbook printed in the 1960's (it's actually a set of 2 books) and author Jacques Herter (who ran a restaurant in Minnesota) claimed that women who are menstruating should not make mayonaisse as it will curdle.

The books were evidently printed in by a vanity press as he has all sorts weird "facts" in there (the Navajos came from Ancient Egypt!).

kitap

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Double Latte
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Rhiandmoi: Thank you for the link.

Tagurit: I don't know if you intended it or not, but I think your response was rude. I am happy for you that you have been successfully canning for so long, and obviously it comes easily to you by now. But that does not negate what I said, which is that tomatoes have a higher failure rate than other commonly canned foods. Rhiandmoi's cite seems to back me up on this.

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God grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked
The good fortune to run into the ones that I do
And the eyesight to tell the difference.

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Traveller
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quote:
Originally posted by resEminLution:
In the words of Mr. Garrison, "Never trust somthing that bleeds for seven days and doesn't die."

Might be that attitude.

Seems likely to me Mr. Garrison's quip sums it up well. I'd guess back in the mysterious days of pre-scientific discovery, copious bleeding not ending in death was seen as magical and likely fearsome. So why take a chance with the existence of your already at risk crops, animals, and lives? Build a kiva or whatever and send 'em there for the duration. Meanwhile, all the meat spoiling, milk-curdling, food preserving myths are born and passed on through folklore and religion.
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tagurit
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quote:
Originally posted by Double Latte:
Rhiandmoi: Thank you for the link.

Tagurit: I don't know if you intended it or not, but I think your response was rude. I am happy for you that you have been successfully canning for so long, and obviously it comes easily to you by now. But that does not negate what I said, which is that tomatoes have a higher failure rate than other commonly canned foods. Rhiandmoi's cite seems to back me up on this.

Yes, I agree it probably comes across as rude and I apologize for that, but I keep telling you two that tomatoes are the EASIEST thing there is to can, and I'm getting linked to sites that talk about pressure cookers, and told about ph strips and the like. I'm trying to explain to you and Rhiandmoi that these tales came about before the possibility existed for tomatoes to not have enough acid. All the old-time varieties of tomatoes were acidic. Tomatoes were canned using the hot pack method, period. It's the way I do them today. I don't use ph strips, I don't use pressure cookers, there is no processing time.

So, you can link to all the sites with recommendations of how the "experts" think you ought to can tomatoes in 2004, and I'm still going to tell you that you're applying new-timey methods to old-timey beliefs.

No, tomato seals do not fail. I am here to tell you that my tomato seals do not fail. Out of the 30-some pints I canned late last summer, not one failed. But, now, if you tossed those same jars of tomatoes in a pressure cooker, all bets are off.

Do you understand what I'm saying? I'm not trying to be rude. I'm just trying to explain something I don't think is getting across. You said:
quote:
As for explanation, I can only add this: Tomatoes are one of the more difficult items to can, due to the acid content. Therefore, the failure rate is higher than with other fruits and vegetables.
And what I'm trying to convey to you is that it is precisely because of the high acid content in tomatoes that they are the easiest thing to can. The failure rate for tomatoes, using older methods, is less than any other vegetable because the hot pack method is used. All other vegetables require processing because they are not acidic enough.

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Spam & Cookies-mmm
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quote:
Originally posted by tagurit:
BTW, my grandfather had lots of daughters because a menstruating woman cannot churn butter, either.

What? Was he hoping that they'd all schedule their periods on different weeks so he could have someone churning butter at any time? I bet he was mad when he found out about the synchronization thing, hmm?

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tagurit
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quote:
Originally posted by Noemi, alarm set to 'feed the cats':
quote:
Originally posted by tagurit:
If your lids fail to seal, regardless of what you're canning, it's usually because either 1) you didn't have a clean jar rim, 2) your lids (the rubber seal) were not hot enough when placed on the jars, or 3) not enough heat was used during processing/your product was not hot enough when filling the jars.

Hear, hear. The only times I've had quats of pickles fail to seal is for one of those three reasons and it's usually #1. (A little bit of salt or alum on the rim usually.) In the 7 years I've been doing pickles I've only had maybe 10 jars total fail to seal, and that's doing 30-40 quarts a summer. (And I only learned the heat the lids in hot water trick a couple years ago.)

Noemi "almost canning season"

I think a lot of tips and tricks are lost in the art of canning because of loss of continuity. But, it's a modern world and not everyone wants to can anymore. Still, it seems a shame. I learned from my mom, who learned from her mom. They canned because of necessity. I do it, probably like you, because I enjoy it. I don't have a daughter, so it'll probably end with me (my son has never demonstrated any interest [Smile] ).
quote:
Originally posted by Spam & Cookies-mmm:
quote:
Originally posted by tagurit:
BTW, my grandfather had lots of daughters because a menstruating woman cannot churn butter, either.

What? Was he hoping that they'd all schedule their periods on different weeks so he could have someone churning butter at any time? I bet he was mad when he found out about the synchronization thing, hmm?
I was kidding, of course, but you're right. I just figured the more women in the house, the better the odds there'd be someone available to do those things that women weren't allowed to do certain times of the month.

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Explore, enjoy and protect the planet
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