Can a port wine be substituted for a dry red or white wine in a recipe for a sauce that will be canned (processed in a boiling water bath) for shelf stability? Also, are there any good reference materials out there, from reliable and authoritative sources, on what kinds of substitutions can be made?



Jon P. October 5, 2010
In situations like these, tasting is key. Just taste the port and think about how it will affect the dish in contrast to whatever wine the recipe called for. Obviously, port is going to be sweeter. How does that affect your approach to cooking this particular thing? It depends on whatever else is in the dish and what kinds of processes are used to bring it all together.

To me, this is one of the more fun things in cooking. So you don't have EXACTLY what an idea of this recipe calls for. This is the birth of creativity and spontaneity! Just taste and trust your instincts. In my opinion, this is how good culinary instinct is developed.
pierino October 5, 2010
Two suggestions on "substitutions": THE FLAVOR BIBLE by Page and Dornenberg (an award winning and esteemed team). The other would be THE FOOD SUBSTITUTIONS BIBLE [what's with the 'bible' thing?] by David Joachim. I must add the disclaimer that I've had business connections with both publishers but not in an editorial capacity.
Christina W. October 5, 2010
Pick your own is a very good resource web site for Correct canning procedures.

Antonia, i think you can safely sub port for red wine. You'll want to taste as you go... I'm not so sure it would add that much sweetness. (I'm thinking of a Salisbury Steak sauce that is primarily made from Port vs. other sauces.)

When in doubt about canning, you can call your state university extension office; they would have an expert on staff to answer questions. But, in my experience they aren't as familiar with "fancier" recipes. You may want to contact them to ask if they know of any certified Master Canners in your neighborhood. Master Canners have to take a class to be certified. And most are, like me, home canners who love the history and challenge of food preservation. I'm sure many would be thrilled to answer questions or give you tips.
aargersi October 5, 2010
Port wine is sweet so I would reduce the sugar called for if I used it ... I use this site a lot, didn't search your specific question but they have lots if info, like bursting my bubble on canning pumpkin butter -
Recommended by Food52