Re-Canning Cheddar Cheese Sauce

My wife and I frequently pick up the gallon size cans of cheddar cheese sauce from SAMs club for use on Nacho Chips or in Macaroni and cheese meals for my grandson. We see the idea of purchasing the sauce this way is both economical and cost-effective however it is usually more than what we can use within a reasonable amount of time. Often the product will be opened for use in a couple of meals and then go bad while sitting idly by in the refrigeration.

After considerable thought we feel that we have a solution to this problem. We decided that canning the remainder of the cheese for some future time would resolve this issue completely. I must make mention at this time that the procedure I am about to present is not recommended by the USDA nor is it mentioned in the Ball Blue Book of Canning. According to the USDA, it is considered potentially unsafe to can products of this nature. In fact they often discourage the canning of homemade dairy products completely. It will be up to you to make your own decision as to what risks you are willing to take in order to can cheese products.

The procedure I will describe is for the regular cheese sauce and not the nacho flavored sauce commonly sold. We have as yet not tried canning the Nacho Cheese. I will need to see the complete ingredient list in order to determine the safe pH levels involved with the product. You can use either pint jars or the 12 ounce Ball Jars frequently sold at most popular department stores such as Wal-Mart. The 12 ounce jars are taller however I believe that they conduct heat a bit better than their pint size cousins.

To begin the process take the gallon can of Cheddar cheese and then pour it into a large pot. Place the pot in the oven on the lowest setting until it is fluid like in consistency. Add it to the sterilized jars and adjust the lids accordingly leaving one half-inch head space in each container. Process the pints in a boiling water bath canner for at least 60 minutes.

These can readily be used for macaroni and cheese, placed on baked potatoes or even used to make scalloped potatoes. Isn’t it time you prepared for those upcoming emergencies that we all see coming in our not to far future?

Joseph Parish

Rebecca R. Ammons

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