Confession: I am a fan of oven-processing.
Oven-processing is an alternative to canning, in which jars are placed in a hot oven instead of in a water bath.
The internet is full of loud voices in opposition to this practice. It is fraught with danger and the USDA has not approved it since 1943. And truly, there are too many variables to make it a strictly trustworthy process: varying oven temperatures, uneven heat distribution, danger of exploding jars due to dry heat, potential for bacteria due to inadequate internal temperature, etc. etc.
But I must admit–I’m still a fan. The USDA undoubtedly no longer approves wooden spoons, either.
With my quite-new stove, I trust the oven temperatures and heat distribution. And I can process 20 quarts or up to 28 pints at a time. Whereas on my stove’s flat-top surface, a canner requires an unbelievably long time to come to a boil (up to 40 minutes each time, even when the water starts hot), and processes only 9 quarts or 11 pints at a time. Plus, with the boiling point of water being 212 degrees, and my oven being set to 250 degrees for roughly twice as long, I feel quite safe.
The jars stay crystal clean, the kitchen stays cool, the cook stays happy.
Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Fill jars, and cap with new canning flats and metal canning rings, twisting tightly into place. Put jars in oven, allowing slight spacing between jars to facilitate heat flow.
I processed my quarts of applesauce for 1 hour and 10 minutes, as per my friend Cynthia Hochstetler’s instructions. She’s the one who introduced me to the method, as she processes 100-150 quarts of applesauce per year. In all my 40 quarts, only one jar did not seal.
I tried it with pizza sauce pints as well, bringing the sauce back to a boil before filling the jars. Forty minutes of oven processing was recommended to be adequate, but I wasn’t quite happy with the heat of the jars, and left them in for another 15 minutes. After that time, they were very hot and sealed perfectly.
Again, each woman must decide what is safe for her family. If you have an older oven, are canning with meat, or feel uncomfortable with the idea, then definitely “do not try this at home.” Do your research. It worked for me, and saved me huge amounts of time and mess!