Friday, July 17, 2009

pressure canning

A few weeks ago I found a DEAL on chicken, unexpectedly and soon I found myself cooking and prepping for it for canning. I have avoided pressure canners for years. My mother in law once sent me one and it sat until I passed it along to another brave soul. Last year I thoguht I found a deal on a pressure canner, only to find out that it was an unsafe model so I sent part of it away so it would never be used as a canner.

The spring came along this year and the request that I pressure can was repeated by my husband of 25 yrs. He desired for me to givecanning a try. I determined to brave it out and give it a go. This desire to please the mister was assisted by the discovery of a tried and true canner sitting on a thrift shop shelf waiting for me and my deal sniffing nose. I snatched it up, figuring that a used on had proved itself and would be safe for me to use. I outfitted it with missing parts and looked for an opportunity to put it inuse.

I began the chicken canning morning early and soon found the jars ready for the pot. Soon I had two canners moving towards boiling. The more I read about the process the easier I found it to be- put 1.5 or 2 qts of water into bottom of canner, put in jars and cover, lock and seal. Bring to boil, once steam escapes let it steam for 10 min. Then put on weight to specified poundage. Cook for specified time as receipe indicates. When time is up, turn off heat and let cool. Once cool enough open top- pressure will have released. Let jars cool on counter and when cool wash, remove rings and store. It is a step by step process that is fairly simple to manage. There is not LOTS of water to pour and manage as it boils over like a water bath cannning method. I am hooked now, I follow the steps and wait for the steam, then the timer to go off, then the jiggler goes on and before I know it the canning is done!

It has been a few weeks now... I have canned 13pts chicken, 3 pts chicken stock, 6 qts peaches, 5 pints of salsa and a pint of soup. today I took a #10 can of pizza sauce and divided it into 6 pint jars and canned it- cheaper than buying the small jars at the store and more convenient than the freezer, and if the door is left open , no biggie. The last batch of frozen pizza sauce became quasi italian taco soup as I emptied all the thawing freezer contents into the stock pot.

So... if any of you in reader land are fearful of the pressure canner, take the plunge and give it a go... it really is not hard. Hmmm, what shall I can tomorrow?? maybe more salsa as the tomatoes are ripening up nicely!