Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Canning’


“What’s the point?  Isn’t that a waste of time?  I mean isn’t it just easier to get it in a box at the store?”

Yes, it probably is easier.  A waste of time?  Not in my reality!

People waste a lot. You would be surprised at all the uses you can find for stuff that most folks just throw away. Bones are one of those things.

There is something soothing about seeing your own food in your own jars; where you know how it was processed and what’s in it. I’ve had people tell me it’s a waste to can, and easier to freeze.

There is really only one thing that I freeze instead of can, and that is pumpkin.  According to the USDA guidelines, canning pumpkin or winter squash purees are not recommended. (more info here: http://www.fcs.uga.edu/pubs/current/FDNS-E-P.html and here: http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/tips/fall/pumpkins.html)  This has to do with the consistency of puree.

They do say you can cube and can, but that is too labor intensive for me.  😆  So, I prepare and then freeze my pumpkin puree.

And still I have nightmares.  😆  I would be devastated to come home some time and discover that while I was away, the motor on the freezer died.  Or power had gone out for an extended amount of time which resulted in the need to pitch everything. It seems to me that freezing is higher risk than canning, and a risk I can avoid if I can my food instead.

One of the things I can is stock.  Save the bones, and when you get enough, you can make a good amount of chicken, turkey, or beef stock, etc. We use stock for soup bases, gravies, and anything else we can think of. I don’t add salt to my stock, and I usually don’t need to add any bullion, either. The flavor *cannot* be beaten, in my opinion.

Making your own stock is incredibly easy- and I mean that.  Before I made stock for the first time, I was intimated by the unknown.  Once I made it, though, I determined I would never go back! 

It’s basically boil for a few hours or pressure cook the bones in water.  You can add stuff like carrots, onion, etc, but since I use my stock as a base, it seems like a waste to me to use those things and then throw them away.  You could save those items, but if you can your stock, you are double processing (which is not a “problem,” but things will be extremely soft after that point.)  I tend to do what is easiest and least involved.

Once you boil, separate out the bones/meat/fat from the liquid.  Depending on how pure you want your liquid, you can strain through a cheesecloth, strainer, or do what I do- use a slotted spoon of some sort to collect the chunks.  😆  Then process appropriately.

Another benefit to stock is how fast you can make things.  Tonight we did chicken pot pie. I made my roux and then added nearly a quart of stock (I say nearly because it was the bottom of the pot and then wasn’t canned because I couldn’t fit it in the pressure cooker) to complete the gravy.  I used leftover chicken (the stuff that was still on the bones plus some more) and mixed vegetables for the filling, and then added it to the round casserole dish that acts as a ramekin of sorts.

When I make my pot pies, I always use a double crust. This could be made in a square baking dish and I may go that route the next time, because we like leftovers.  You’d have to tweak your crust recipe and maybe do a double crust plus a single, unless you like a really thin crust.

All told, this dinner took me about 10 minutes to put everything together (including making the crust) and get it the oven. I admit, this one was not made with the focus on “pretty.”  This was made in the interest of being late and needing something fast.  I figure, you can close your eyes when you eat if you are offended by the way it looks.  😆 

The most challenging part of this dish was waiting for it to finish baking in the oven.  😀

Read Full Post »


Thursday was a mad dash to get ready for chicks, with the expected arrivals coming Thursday evening instead of Friday morning.  They are great fun!

The plan had been: get chicks at 7 am with K; come back here and do apples.  The week brought a variety of adaptations to that plan.  The apples were left over from the Friday prior, when we ended up looking at the garden and chicken tractor instead of canning. Because the apples had been waiting for a week and were getting eaten, I knew I had to get them done Friday, or there wouldn’t be enough left to justify the effort.

I started working on mine, and was finally able to head over to Ks, chicks in tow, to help her get her apples done. As I’ve been researching and looking for recipes, I’m trying to find some where she can omit the sugar.  See my comments below on what I did, vs the recipe.  🙂

 

Apple Pie Filling in a Jar

4 1/2  c sugar
1  c cornstarch
2  tsp cinnamon               
1/4  tsp nutmeg
1  tsp salt
3  tbsp lemon juice
10  c water
6 lbs tart apples, washed, peeled and thinly sliced

Note: Slice apples into a solution of 3 tablespoons of lemon juice to 1 quart of water to avoid discoloration. Drain the fruit well before packing in jars.

In a large pot, blend together sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Stir in the water and lemon juice with a wire whisk. Cook and stir until bubbly and thick; remove from heat.

Drain the fruit well before packing in jars. Pack apples into clean, hot canning jars leaving an inch from the top of the jar. Fill with the hot syrup, leaving 1/2 inch head space. Remove air bubbles, wipe rim, and apply lids and rings.

Process in a boiling water bath for 20 -30 minutes.

No Sugar:

Omit sugar and adjust:

1 c cornstarch

9 c water

All other ingredients same.

My comments:  I used Jona Gold apples; K used Red Delicious.  I have found the Red Ds to not be as firm, but I don’t think this is a big deal. I have canned all different kinds of apples, and they are all good. I also didn’t measure the lemon juice into the water since we had several bowls going.

I ended up this time with 19 quarts and 1 1/2 pint (jelly jar) of pie filling along with one 1/2 pint of juice, which I didn’t process this time.

You could, I suppose, use Fruit Fresh on the apples instead of the lemon juice in the water.  I don’t, though, because lemon juice is cheaper and I usually have a lot on hand.  Plus, lemon juice is a natural product.  So, that’s my .o2.  😀

When I make pie filling,** I’m usually using a box, which is about 40 lbs of apples.  I have found that an apple peeler is a “must-have” for me.  This makes my time peeling and cutting much easier, since, as you can see from the picture, it spirals the apple.  Once the apple is off the peeler, I cut it in half and plop in the jars.

Another thing that is helpful is to fill the jars with a few ladle scoops of filling, then apples, then top off with filling.  It just seems to go by a little bit faster.

When using an apple peeler, be aware that you get a lot of peels. I have mine saved in the freezer waiting for a resolution to my food processor issue.  I may decide to go ahead and do the apple (peel) butter in the crockpot and then can. On the other hand, I really need to get a working food processor.  😆 

** A regular slicer/corer is good for canned apples.  I don’t remove the peels in this case, but you certainly could if you wanted to. I have also made apple pie filling using the larger apples that come from the slicer, but it’s my feeling that you can pack more smaller pieces of apples (like what you get you from peeler) into your jars than you can get with the larger, sliced apples. We like more apples to juice, but if you want more juice to apples, the slicer is a good way to go.

You could also just do the liquid and add your apples when you are ready for pie, or you could do a variety of apple piece sizes.  If you find your filling consistency is too thin, you could heat it up and add more corn starch; and/or you can add more apples to your filling.  One of the things I looooooveeeeeee about canning is the variations you can come up with.

My plan for today is to use my apple pie filling to make a cobbler.  It’s been a really crazy, busy week (with middle-of-the-night checks on the chicks), and my body is paying for it.  My big stuff today is laundry, chick tv, and hopefully finishing up knitting the one remaining sock while I hang out in bed.  Once I get that done, I’ll go looking for another sock pattern and get that started.  I have yet to use my new set of circular needles, but since I also have a few 5 needle sets, I am going to have to figure out which pattern to do next! 

That’s the plan.  We’ll see if I can stay awake to get it all done.  😆

Read Full Post »


Is the canning!  Oh canning, how I have missed you!

Seriously, during the school year, who has time (ok, I’ll admit to canning on the weekends, but during the week?!)?  I have come to the realization that I am entirely too busy most of the time. I love not having to worry about being on time for this or that, even though it doesn’t change what time I get up in the morning.  I am solidly looking forward to summer.

One difference this time around is my canning buddies.  There are three of us at this point; two are completely new to canning this week.  Now another friend of all of ours is interested as well, and that’s great!  All of our kids can hang out together (and with the fourth, that will be 9 kids) while we can.  Another perk is that they are inclined to books and yarn like I am, too.  The conversation is never-ending, and I’m not even the one doing all the talking!!  😆

Wednesday afternoon, we went over to K’s house.  S came to observe, and pitched right in.  The first 44 lbs of pears netted K 36 pints and 2 quarts less whatever was eaten before the picture. 

Thursday afternoon, everyone came here.  We got S’s carrots going first, since they needed to pressure cook.  S ended up with 18 pints of carrots, since that’s what I can fit in my canner/pressure cooker at one time.

K brought her canner, which is the same one I have, and we started in on my pears.  I confess, we took a yarn detour before the canning, so we started later than we probably intended to.  😀  I ended up with 15 quarts and 15 pints,  and about 4 pears left over.  Of course, the kids were in and out eating them as they had on Wednesday. 

What’s on deck next?  Chickens. 

Yep.  For real.  😆  We’re going to be planting the garden this weekend, but first, hunny and I are going to look at chickens, and perhaps give one a try.  We’re also going to firm our plans for building into the garage and greatly expanding the pantry.  Either way we decide to go, I will end up with a huge, honkin’ pantry, which will completely solve my “don’t have enough room for my jars” issue – at least until I fill it.  😉

Food-wise, I think the next items on my list to can are going to be beans of all varieties (pinto, navy, northern, etc) and then stock.  I’m completely out of all stock, but I have bones in the freezer, so once the other girls get their stashes up, we’ll have to make a day of it.  Or maybe they can bring their yarn and I’ll can.  Either way, it’s great fun and great company!

Canning.  Give it a try!  You may be surprised at how addictive it is!  There’s nothing better than seeing all your jars lined up with *your* food in them, knowing how the food was processed and what the ingredients are.  It’s right up there with books and yarn!  😆

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: