The Solar Flare Parabolic Solar Cooker is one highly efficient solar cooker. It does produce enough heat and pressure to seal the jar. Although the jar seals, we cannot recommend using it as a method to preserve food. We cannot guarantee the pressure created during the cooking process is great enough to kill the Clostridium botulinum spores.
Clostridium botulinum, the name of a group of bacteria, form spores that can lead to produce a fatal toxin when exposed to the right conditions. Clostridium botulinum can be found in soil. The organism grow best in low oxygen, high pH (nonacidic) and moist conditions. The bacteria form spores that allow them to survive in a dormant state until exposed to conditions that can support their growth. While the spores are generally harmless, the danger comes with the spores become active bacteria producing neurotoxins resulting in botulism. Botulism is odorless, tasteless, and sightless. There is no way to detect if a jar of food is contaminated until you get sick.
The foods most commonly contaminated are home-canned vegetables and meats, cured pork and ham, smoked or raw fish, and honey or corn syrup. C. botulinum cannot grow below a pH of 4.6, so acidic foods, such as most fruits, tomatoes, and pickles are generally not a concern.
Signs and symptoms of foodborne botulism typically begin between 12 and 36 hours after the toxin is consumed, but can range from a few hours to several days, depending on the amount of toxin ingested. The earlier the signs the more severe the case. Treatment requires an antitoxin and medical attention. Signs and symptoms of foodborne botulism may include:
- Nausea, vomiting and abdominal cramps
- Difficulty swallowing or speaking
- Dry mouth
- Facial weakness on both sides of the face
- Loss of muscle coordination
- Blurred or double vision
- Trouble breathing
Persons who do home canning should follow strict hygienic procedures to reduce contamination of foods, and carefully follow instructions on safe home canning including the use of pressure canners/cookers as recommended through county extension services or from the US Department of Agriculture. More information is available at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/FACTSheets/Clostridium_botulinum/index.asp
If you choose to use the Solar Flare as a preservation method for food it will be at your own risk.